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Thursday, July 29, 2010 

We die only once (and for such a long time)

Should I ever develop a cancer or other serious fatal illness, I am going to force my family and friends to read this. Actually, they should probably read it now. You probably should too, unless you're planning not to die (even then, you probably should read it, just to be safe).

I teared up a few times reading it, not necessarily because of the content of the article so much as the thought of conversations I might have to have someday. But I'm inexpressibly grateful to Dr. Gawande and others like him that I'm more aware of those conversations, and that I feel unafraid to have them, if that's my lot in life.

On a much more minor note, I can't help but point out that Gawande manages in a mere aside to point out how bitter and grotqesque the whole "death panels" thing was. Just one more thing about the article that broke my heart.

This seems relevant.

Yeah, my grandfather always said: "Death is no big deal, the problem is how long you gotta stay dead."
Certainly moving- and to me, very relevant.

Yeah, I'd imagine so. I hope her death was a good one. How are you doing these days?

Re: Ian
I'm fine. You're an optimist, dude. The only good death takes two seconds to happen and you're too drunk to notice it's going on. Anything else is pretty horrible.

I read this, too, and it also made me cry a little.

My mother has a DNR for her and my dad that includes no feeding tubes, which is kind of macabre, but I feel better about it now after reading this. (She's in pretty superb health for a 78-year-old, so it's all theoretical at this point.)

I really think that suicide should be an option when you get to a certain point. Like they should offer it along with chemo and whatever else. Why make people sneak around?

We agree on that, although I imagine that it's an attitude that's more common up here than in the States.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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