Analyzing death

cancerI do not know why, for some reason, I am talking about death.

But this one, however, is viewed from a different perspective.

As one strives to be the best in anything he/she does while alive, apparently there are also choices one can have on how best to die.

The only problem is that one’s desire and choice may not actually be the same as what God wills it for him or her. This is an irrefutable fact.

Unless, of course, one opts to be his/her own executioner or go for an assisted suicide, then one can be the master of his/her own fate.

But assuming, for the sake of argument that one gets his/her death wish, what could be the best and worst ways of going when one’s time is up?

According to a blog posted by a Dr. Richard Smith for the British Medical Journal, there are essentially four ways to die: sudden death; the long, slow death of dementia; the up and down death of organ failure, where it’s hard to identify the final going down, tempting doctors to go on treating too long; and death from cancer, where you may bang along for a long time but go down usually in weeks.

Perhaps not wanting to suffer in agonizing pain, most people chose sudden death. But to Smith, however, while sudden death may be acceptable to a person, he finds the same overly burdensome for those left behind to put his/her affairs in order and deal with any strained relationship.

The long, slow death from dementia may be the most awful as you have been long gone from knowing what is happening, but then again when death comes it may be just a light kiss.

Smith sees organ failure—respiratory, cardiac, or kidney—as similarly unpleasant, a fate involving too many doctors and too much time in the hospital. In the name of Hippocrates, doctors have invented the most exquisite form of torture ever known to man: survival.

So death from cancer is the best, Smith says. You can say goodbye, reflect on your life, leave last messages, perhaps visit special places for a last time, listen to favorite pieces of music, read loved poems, and prepare, according to your beliefs, to meet your maker or enjoy eternal oblivion.

While acknowledging that he’s romanticizing it somewhat, Smith just as romantically asserts that it is a death “achievable with love, morphine, and whisky.”

Lastly, Smith prescribed this: “Stay away from overambitious oncologists, and let’s stop wasting billions trying to cure cancer, potentially leaving us to die a much more horrible death.”


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