We live in CA where there is no Physician-assisted suicide (as in Oregon & Vermont). Dad has a DNR. He told the Facility [where he lives] that he does not want CPR or to go to the ER ever again. The Home claims that the Paramedics (NOT Dad!) decide if he must go to the ER. Is this true?
Dad is taking 15 powerful drugs whose side effects include headaches, dry mouth, heartburn, nausea, blurred vision. Dad has all of these side effects & he is miserable. They give him Tylenol for the headaches & Prilosec for the GERD, neither of which would be necessary if he wasn't taking these 15 drugs! He said that he has lived a good life and now wishes to die. He is incontinent, cannot walk and cannot feed himself. I feel helpless watching my poor Dad SLOWLY fading away painfully with no quality of life. Meanwhile, his meager savings are being drained by his pharmacies, drug companies, medical supply companies (aka, the Medical Industry). This is not right...or humane.
I was shocked to hear that none of Dad's medications have been tested on older people! In my opinion, the drug companies are using fragile seniors as their alpha testers. In other words, Dad has become a little white lab mouse for the drug companies. Is this why the Medical Industry wants to keep seniors alive beyond their natural years?
Dad is on Kaiser, which is a great Plan for young people because it focuses on preventive care. But Kaiser admits that gerentology is not one of their strengths. Doctors are trained to CURE people; my Dad cannot be cured. So Kaiser put him in HOSPICE. When he did not die in 6 mns, he was removed from the program. I am ashamed of my country's unwillingness to deal honestly with the issue of dignity and a Good Death for a generation of people who built our powerful middleclass with their strong work ethic. These people fought in two wars for their country and only ask for decent care and attention to their end-of-life wishes. Can we talk about these issues?
I am Dad's trustee, Power-of-Attorney, his trusted advisor, and his loving daughter. But I am 73 years old with medical issues of my own. This is a case of the Old-Caring-for-the-Old, which seems to be the standard side effect of the current research to keep humans alive indefinitely. Seems that no one wants to ask the hard questions: "What is the purpose of keeping people alive beyond their natural life?" "What will happen when 120 year old seniors run out of money?" "Is this tinkering with the natural cycle of Life & Death even ethical?"