Question continued for another generation
Forty years ago my grandmother died an extremely painful death due to cancer. At the time my dad asked a question. He didn't ask me. I was too young at the time. But it is a question that has been around our family ever since. The question was "why has our society not advanced enough to allow us to do for people what we would do for our pets?"
In the last few months I have been exposed to death, including the death of my father, and now my father's question is my own. A political question, or a social question? I'm not sure, but whatever it is I think it needs to be asked.
A few months back my mother's beloved little dog, Beanie, suffered a catastrophic liver failure. A couple days of sickness as the toxins built up in her blood and we had her at the vet for the diagnosis. They could use antibiotics and transfusions to reduce the toxins and prolong her illness, but with her liver refusing to function there would be no health in her future. I held my mom, mom held Beanie. She licked the hands and face of the woman who had cared for her throughout her life. And she died peacefully from a large shot of tranquilizer.
My dad has been crippled by arthritis and Parkinson's disease for years. The activities that filled his life were denied him. Ten years ago, or maybe more, I was surprised to find my dad reading a book. He was always a doer, not a reader; but as age took that away he took to reading. Not long after macular degeneration in his eyes took that away as well. Six weeks ago he went to the hospital with pneumonia in both lungs. Powerful antibiotics killed the vast majority of the bacteria and reduced the infection so that his lungs stopped filling with fluid, but at eighty-five his overall condition left him too weak to cough out the fluid already collected, though he struggled for a few weeks while confined to a hospital bed. Eventually the bacteria which had survived produced sufficient numbers to restart the infection, now with immunity to the antibiotics. My mom sat at his side as his breathing got shallower and shallower for a day as his lungs filled to the last bit with fluid, then he died.
Who was treated better? Who left the final impression on their loved ones that you would choose to leave at your own death? I'm sure my answer is obvious.