Saturday, April 30, 2005

DIGNITY

I heard the sound before I noticed the smell..a feeble whimpering.. like an animal in pain..
I glanced up from the patient I was examining and looked around the ward….oh there she was.. in a corner bed.. emaciated body just skin wrapped around bones...bent double in pain.. . ..A bandage covered one half of her skull like face . I knew that.under the bandage the cheek was eroded..tongue and teeth were visible from outside..and the smell was that of putrified flesh..Infact there had been maggots in her cheeks when she had been brought here..

I had seen her the previous day.. she had been sitting on the bed .. head thrown back and pouring tea down her throat.. her cheeks eroded.. and the stench aroud her..

The cancer in her cheek was spreading.. fast.. and almost encroching into her eyes.
.
I remembered her as she had come to collect the report from me.. tiny dark woman.. a widow.. she had been eager .. .. to take treatment.. to live.. she had a daughter to marry off.. but the cancer had been too aggressive..
I went to her…” sara".. I called softly and took her bony hands in mine..
She opened her eyes.. her gaze was dull probably morphine.. then something in her expression changed.. recognition?..smile.?. I squeezed her hands.. she sqeezed back.. then the clasp loosened.. she was drowsy again..
I stood besides her.. a woman in pain..waiting for the mercy of death.. her only hope now was a fast and peaceful death.
I felt disturbed.. what did she know about euthanasia...?...mercy killing.... about dying with dignity.. not like this.. whimpering away like an animal.. Why couldn’t we docs help hersara died few days later but she influenced my views about mercy killing a lot…

comments needed..

17 comments:

clash said...

Father, father, father, father
Father into your hands, I commend my spirit
Father into your hands
Why have you forsaken me
In your eyes forsaken me
In your thoughts forsaken me
In your heart forsaken, me oh
Trust in my self righteous suicide
I, cry, when angels deserve to die
In my self righteous suicide
I, cry, when angels deserve to die


doc, if ya read story by FRANZ KAFKA called metamorphosis, in which the hero turns out to be a big beetle one fine morning and then gradually get ostracised from the family and the disgust he created in his parents is a obvious example of how human attitude can turn out to be if u become a pain in the ..... (where the sun dont shine!!) for a long time....
euthanasia is a widley talked abt issue, neo-cons in america even used it for political mileage! the glitch is that when our medical science has taken big strides and can judge if you can return back from a vegitative state and thinking existentially, i think mercy killing (u shud not call it this, rather self righteous suicide thats wot u shud call it!!) should be allowed! miracles are always an aberattion! all rules have exception!!

clash said...

hey doc, euthanasia can be a ethical dilema, but i don think i can ever see my parents or close ones like a vegitable giving a hollow look that will haunt me forever! its better that we cherish those good moments we spent with them than the traumatical period eclipsing it and we totally forgetting those nice moments!! i dont mean getting rid of their soul or something, but free there spirit from the unending trauma!!

glimmer said...

i know of a person who wanted to die because she was in unending pain. she wsa just 14 yrs old, but we all prayed. she lived for another 2 yrs. then she died. but you know what she did those 2 yrs? she painted a lot. she read a lot...and at 16 when she died...she had covered shakespeare, milton (!!!) and many more. she used to sing well...one day she tried singing to realise she no more had her voice. she stopped wanting death, but everytime she smiled, we all knew she was in pain. now when i think of her...her smile comes to my face and her parting words...it is better to live and enjoy than never to have lived at all...

:) am sorry doc. i did read abt gautham. i did comment. but i tried posting and my connection failed me. i will talk to u sometime. take care.

and unni...hmmm? am intellectually bowled! ;)

hope and love said...

have you read TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE..? its a book about death and dying.. the auther visits a dying man every tuedays and discuss with him about life and what is imp abt life when you are abt to die and you think back..
morrie says at one point that when you learn to die you learn to live..
yea we dont want our parents to be remembered as hollow objects..
my mom was very sick and suffering a lot abt 14 yrs back.. i rember sincerly wishing that she would die one night when she was suffering bitterly..for her sake..
but she survived and is very active now..
also plz visit dyingis.blogspot.com

hope and love said...

oh..! and i forgot to tell you that the book was given to me by a cancer patient.. he died few months back

hope and love said...

actualy thre is an article in the latest'THE LANCET' abt euthanasia in newborn babies and those less than one yr who are not gong to live..
its suggested only if they are suffering and sure to die..but not just cos they are a burden or cos the qualiy of life will be less..

but the other side argues that there are certain lines that should not be crossed.. and regularing euthansia may cause a moral descent down the slippery slope of health care..
also warning is given abt potential abuse of eutanasia..

Producer said...

Hope and Love, I think your post is thoughtful and honest. It talks about death with dignity and I understand it all too well. My mother had cancer and died three years ago this May tenth. She was in so much pain and it seemed that staying alive was nothing more than torturing the victims of an evil dictator.

It is a horrible thing for anyone to witness and for a son to have to watch this it is almost to the point that one could go insane. One thing that angers me more than her cancer is that her doctors found it only two months before she died and she had been seeing a doctor once every two weeks because she had the heart medicine, Coumadin, and they took blood test, but no doctor ever noticed she had cancer. How could this be when she also had cancer test? Of the breast, lungs and other parts of the body.


Hope and Love, I truly value you posting about this and I like your web blog.

Albert of A.J Speaksout

clash said...

lancet..lancet.. where did i hear abt them earlier??? yeah.. they published the original death count in the american invasion of iraq! british rite???

hope and love said...

maybe.. i dont know claasshhh.. yea its a british medical journal.. ul get it in all british libraries..

hope and love said...

maybe.. i dont know claasshhh.. yea its a british medical journal.. ul get it in all british libraries..

hope and love said...

maybe.. i dont know claasshhh.. yea its a british medical journal.. ul get it in all british libraries..

hope and love said...

and albert id like to know the type of cancer your mom had..

Producer said...

It was lung cancer but by the time they caught it she had it everywhere I must admit I am angry still because had they not missed it and read the test correctly I feel she may be alive today.


Hope and Love, as a doctor how do you think they could have missed it? When she had so many test and was seeing a doctor twice a month? I just don't see how so many people could have missed it?

hope and love said...

docs often take many things for granted.. im not telling thats correct but thats the fact..
your mom was reviewing frequently cos she was on coumadin for heart disease.. they may have concentrated more on her prothrombin time, bloodpressure etc..
maybe she had complained of symptoms relating to her cancer but maybe they were nonspecific ones and they related it to her heart disease and her old age..
or maybe her ca was a very agressive type that spread very fast..
i cant comment more cos i dont have the full details..
it was so unfortunate..
these things are more commomn in our country where docs have to see 50 to 100 maybe even 150 cases every day..

Tricksand said...

I'm not tat intellectual to comment on this still i think its always better to burn out than fade away (Kurt Cobain)

Tom said...

It is very difficult for some one to take care of a terminally ill patient alone.
Indian Society does not support people who
are terminally ill by providing funds
or physical help. Euthansia is very
badly needed. There is some movement
in European countries to legalize euthanasia. I
wish it will be legal in India in near
future.

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