Scripture: Living and Active

Scripture: Living and Active
Our most significant scriptures are marked with post it notes.

Continuing the work of Jesus, simply, peacefully, JOYFULLY, together.

We gather for worship at 9:30 am on Sunday.
Children go to Sunday school following their special time in worship, about 10:15 am.
Potluck is the first Sunday of the month.

17975 Centreville-Constantine Road, Constantine, MI 49042

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Advocacy #2: An article by Matthew Bolton reflecting on the life and death of Betty Jean Seal

From the Independence Examiner (Independence, MO)

The Dying Need Our Support, Not Partisan Backbiting

Three Rivers, Michigan. It is unfortunate that Sarah Palin’s irresponsible dismissal of end-of-life counseling as ‘death panels’ has created more sound than light on how to deal with terminal illness. She has taken advantage of people’s fear of death while preventing substantive discussion on how to make the dying process more comfortable, less painful and less full of fear.

My wife Emily’s grandmother, Betty Jean Seal, died last week, in her own bed, surrounded by family who prayed and sang for her in her final hours. It was as she wished.

Having received helpful advice and support from a variety of sources, Betty Jean was able to decide the surroundings in which she would die. She wanted to be close to family, friends and community, rather than isolated on a hospital ward. She wanted to be in the house that she had lovingly dusted, swept and vacuumed for decades.

Once it became clear than there were no curative options to Betty Jean’s terminal lung cancer, she decided to take advantage of the local hospice care. Hospice differs from traditional healthcare in that its main aim is not to keep people alive, but rather to help them be more comfortable as they die.

This makes some people feel nervous, because we are so used to believing that there is a potential medical cure for everything. But the fact is that medical science, while certainly successful at lengthening life, cannot prevent us from dying. Eventually we will. At a certain point, many curative options for diseases like cancer become more traumatic and painful than allowing it to run its course in the comfort of one’s own home.

This may mean that one will live a few weeks less, but the quality of that life may be better than if one is stuck in a hospital bed, woken through the night to take medications, covered in pricks from an IV needle and with a tube down one’s throat.

The local hospice took seriously the importance of working with the whole family, not just the patient. The nurse gave us advice on how best to care for Betty Jean. A social worker came to check on the family and see how we were doing. They brought all the medicines, nutritional supplements and equipment Betty Jean needed right to our door.

Hospice may not be for everyone. Is it certainly not appropriate when there is a distinct chance of recovery and the patient wants to survive. Other people may feel they want to keep trying till the end.

However, as a society we must support those among us who are close to death and provide them with all the information they need to make a decision on what is best for them. Provoking fear in the political arena does nothing to help those who need our care as they face their final journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment