Skip to main content
Please no more, "well, the main thing is to make her comfortable".

This post is very politically incorrect; you have been warned. I really didn't want to hear one more time, "the main thing is to keep her comfortable". Comfort in this world is *not* the main thing; it is not even a goal. Comfort is sometimes a means to a desired goal, but sometimes being uncomfortable is the appropriate means. In fact, sometimes the discomfort itself *is* the only way to get where you want to go. When is that? When you want to grow, become better, stronger, more than you were before. That effort can never be anything but uncomfortable.

Therefore, my conclusion is that the drive for comfort is motivated by an underlying hypothesis that this particular life is no longer worth living. I reject that hypothesis without reservation. No moment of life, not breath, is ever a waste; it is always worth it. Life is not always comfortable; in fact, it rarely is. How dare hospice or anyone else tell me that my mother's life is no longer worth living.

Moreover, how do they know that constant doses of morphine is making anyone comfortable anyway? Because the body is not moving and no groans are heard? That "goal" can be achieved with duct tape and cotton; but few would agree with that treatment of a sick person. You'll tell me we can study brain wave activity, or ask people who have awakened from anesthesia. I assert that line of reasoning is hopelessly flawed. Brain waves? When they can tell me what the person is thinking, feeling, or dreaming by looking at those squiggles, then maybe I'll pay attention. Reports by patients who have awakened from anesthesia? Who knows if the waking process produces a retrograde amnesia (as it seems to).

I am not saying that morphine doesn't make the patient comfortable... I am only saying I don't know and neither does hospice nor anyone else. Lets just stop being so confident that you understand the dying process or what is going on in the dying person's mind. My sister and I were holding Mom's hands when she died. You can't tell either one of us it was a mechanical, physical process. There was a decided change slightly before the body died, and it wasn't physical at all. One thing I do know; I wish I could spend more time with Mom.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…