Signs of the times

Signs of the times

I’m recovering from a four-day stay in a local hospital a couple of weeks ago. While there I was in three different rooms. That partly explains why I was so tired and worn out when I came home. But it doesn’t begin to tell health care’s story these days. Before going to the hospital, I’d been gaining weight and developed increasing swelling of my legs, which spread to my abdomen. With almost any exercise, my heart began beating rapidly. I had...

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Life sentence without parole

Life sentence without parole

After a long and full life my 90 year-old good friend, Eleanore, is worn out. While wearing herself down she’s endured at least the usual load of heartbreaks and ecstasies, doing her best for the good of family and others. She surely deserves better than the fate she’s inherited. An only child, her family was neither privileged nor deprived of life’s essentials. Her legally-blind father was a successful businessman. She describes herself as a...

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Death with dignity

Death with dignity

Thank goodness the days of dying like my mother did twenty years ago, with end stage Alzheimers Disease, are mostly gone. She was tied down in a bed and kept biologically alive with tube feedings because she refused to eat and drink. When I saw her in the nursing home a week before her death, she was unrecognizable. I had to ask a nurse which of the two identically situated women in the room was her. Despite more than a little kicking and...

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My summer vacation, and beyond

My summer vacation, and beyond

This week middle-schoolers will be writing and showing and telling about their summer vacations. I set up a summer trip as a test of my mettle, old-age resilience and fitness, to continue running around loose. This is my report. Readers may recall that a year ago I suffered a life-threatening, non-cancerous condition, had major surgery with prolonged recovery, sold my condo and moved into a retirement center. Worried and racked with...

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Pondering life’s only guarantee

Pondering life’s only guarantee

I’ve seen the startled look in newborn babies’ faces, the reflex stiffening of their arms and legs, and heard their lusty screams hundreds of times. Once they’re alive, death is their only future guarantee. Everything depends on them, circumstances, and their relationship with their environment. Over the past several decades the principle of autonomy, self governance and informed consent in health care, has been well established in the...

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Finding a “new” interest in an unexpected place

Finding a “new” interest in an unexpected place

While basking in Alaska’s spectacular beauty and charm on my recent cruise, my new friend Brian and I had some interesting discussions. His mind-bursting ideas revealed his fascinatingly varied career in the CIA, as a professor and a corporate executive. In retirement, he’s focusing passion on rational suicide, what he calls “self deliverance.” After returning home he arranged for me to attend the Final Exit Network (FEN) Board and annual...

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