Don't miss this fantastic post at GeriPal that makes us think about why we are so unprepared for end of life decisions. Here's a clip but please go read the whole thing
Talking with patients about their impending death is never simple. However, it’s easier if it’s done with a certain kind of love. This love is related to compassion, the willingness to suffer along with another human being in pain. A quiet joy can emerge when people suffer together like this. Medical training seems to have little to say about death, and even less to say about this kind of love.
Common wisdom tells us that the opposite of love is hate. But that’s only true on the surface. Love and hate are two sides of the same coin, the coin of attachment. Humans are just as attached to the people they hate as to the people they love. Either way, they just can’t stop thinking and talking about each other. Look at the world of politics.
In reality, the opposite of love is fear. Whereas love connects us, fear cuts us off from each other. Fear fosters abandonment, which can take many forms. Some are more obvious than others, but all are damaging.
At times we abandon our patients by ignoring or rejecting them. More often, paradoxically, we abandon them to further treatment, treatment that may or may not extend their lives, never thinking to ask them how they feel about it. High costs can accrue from this thoughtlessness. These costs are not just economic, but emotional and spiritual as well.
Labels: end of life planning, futile care