Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Don’t You Just Ask Us?

 

I’m getting tired of people who think they can speak for me or other senior citizens regarding the coronavirus, as if we were doddering old fools who needed to be represented by the younger set. (Well, some of us might be doddering, but most of us know just what is going on.) The issue of saving the economy or at-risk citizens has been presented as a black and white, either/or decision, and that is an enormously simplistic and stupid viewpoint.

On National Senior Citizens Day, August 21, 2019, the President issued this proclamation :

Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today, and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land.

With improved health care and more years of productivity, older citizens are reinforcing their historical roles as leaders and as links with our patrimony and sense of purpose as individuals and as a Nation. Many older people are embarking on second careers, giving younger Americans a fine example of responsibility, resourcefulness, competence, and determination. And more than 4.5 million senior citizens are serving as volunteers in various programs and projects that benefit every sector of society. Wherever the need exists, older people are making their presence felt—for their own good and that of others.

If you’ve missed my point, let me make it clear: we senior citizens are active, engaged and competent. We are perfectly able to give our opinions about choices that will need to be made regarding the economy and the health of our citizens over the coming weeks.

Assuming that anyone really wants to know.

If you give a selfless point of view on this subject, and especially if you are a conservative, you will be lambasted by the media. That’s what Lt. Gov. of Texas Dan Patrick discovered. This is what he said :

‘My message: let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves,’ Lt Gov Dan Patrick, a 69-year-old Republican, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday night.

‘Don’t sacrifice the country,’ Patrick said. ‘Don’t do that.’

Patrick said he feared that public health restrictions to prevent coronavirus could end American life as he knows it, and that he is willing to risk death to protect the economy for his grandchildren.

‘You know, Tucker, no one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ Patrick said. ‘And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.’

Naturally, the media went crazy, saying that Patrick was speaking for all grandparents. Instead, he clearly said that he thought other grandparents (not all) would agree with him, and that he was all in for risking death to protect the economy for his grandchildren.

I am not a grandparent. But I am willing to take some risks to save not just the economy, but effectively to save this country.

The points that are being ignored by most people who are distorting our current situation are few, but are extremely important:

  1. Decisions can be made to save the economy and save our most at-risk citizens. This is not an either/or choice.
  2. Senior citizens are the most at-risk population, but we are only one group that might be consulted in making these decisions. We are just under 15% of the population and many more people, like people who need to work simply for their financial survival and their families, are valued citizens, too.
  3. Decisions will be complex and have a multitude of factors that will need to be considered. Milestones will need to be established for checking results, and for shifting gears if results are not matching up with goals.

So before the media decides whether or not seniors or the at-risk population is prepared to take some risks, maybe they should ask us.

We’ll be glad to share our thoughts.

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  1. JennaStocker Member

    Well done! This situation is teetering dangerously close to a policy of “outliving one’s usefulness”. I’d like to see the person willing to trade the life of his father or grandfather for their job. I’d trade my job for just one more day with my grandmother or grandfather or father in law. This doesn’t have to be an either/or issue, as much as some politicians & pundits would like it to be.

    • #1
    • March 25, 2020, at 11:12 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. Stad Thatcher

    JennaStocker (View Comment):
    I’d like to see the person willing to trade the life of his father or grandfather for their job. I’d trade my job for just one more day with my grandmother or grandfather or father in law.

    Of course no one is going to trade the life of his grandparent for his job. Likewise, trading one’s job will not bring Grandpa or Grandma back for a day.

    However, I understand the feeling expressed. Still, we have to look at the cost of our actions on the ability of people to earn a living. I saw something where a Make-A-Wish family had to cancel their plans (probably many more have too). The commentator remarked how it was unlikely they would get another chance given the lockdown. I think this is a better example of how our actions take away that “one day with” . . .

    • #2
    • March 25, 2020, at 11:23 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    I forgot to make the point, that when I say I fear losing this country, I mean it. If we end up in a real depression, people will be very vulnerable and possibly open to more progressive thinking (just like with FDR). So we can’t sacrifice the economy for the old codgers.

    • #3
    • March 25, 2020, at 12:17 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Annefy Member

    This conversation is difficult. It doesn’t help that we as a society are so uncomfortable with the subject in the best of times, let alone in the midst of a crisis. When there were reports from Italy that nurses and doctors were denying respirators to older folks in favor of younger, my question was: where do I sign to make sure that happens to me? I’ll gladly to deny a respirator for any of my kids. Or any of your kids.

    Part of the equation that I think is missing: while we at the older end of the demo might be comfortable with the risk, the fear is that there’s the potential that too many would end up in an ICU. So being willing to take a risk I think also needs to include not clogging up the system if the dice doesn’t roll our way.

    For me personally? I will do my best to not get sick, up to and including not spraining an ankle or breaking a bone, so that not one ounce of resource is used for me.

    • #4
    • March 25, 2020, at 12:21 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Annefy (View Comment):
    Part of the equation that I think is missing: while we at the older end of the demo might be comfortable with the risk, the fear is that there’s the potential that too many would end up in an ICU. So being willing to take a risk I think also needs to include not clogging up the system if the dice doesn’t roll our way.

    This is an excellent point, @annefy. And would be tough to address.

    • #5
    • March 25, 2020, at 12:29 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Samuel Block Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I forgot to make the point, that when I say I fear losing this country, I mean it. If we end up in a real depression, people will be very vulnerable and possibly open to more progressive thinking (just like with FDR). So we can’t sacrifice the economy for the old codgers.

    One might also worry about the precedent that is set here, and, of course, how it might be expanded on in the future.

    • #6
    • March 25, 2020, at 3:42 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you so much for raising this topic, Susan. I think it’s very underappreciated at the moment.

    I think it’s very unhelpful that our society seems to have slipped back into binary mode when discussing the pandemic, with everyone taking one of two very slanted positions:

    The people who want to go into full-out lockdown mode tend to grossly underestimate the risk to the global economy and even civil society at large.

    But the people who are (correctly) screaming about how we are potentially ruining the global economy for a generation or more are grossly downplaying the risks of the virus (in my opinion).

    In other words, nobody seems to be portraying the issue as a genuine trade-off between two options which are conceivably equally bad. Everyone is convinced that one option is clearly much worse than the other, despite a stunning lack of evidence for both arguments.

    I am strongly of the opinion that we need to approach this issue with the perspective that both options – letting the virus run wild or suffocating the global economy for longer than a month – may be equally detrimental to civilization. In other words, we desperately need to shift the conversation from the question of: which risk is being overblown? to: let’s assume neither risk is being overblown, and there’s no easy compromise solution – What do we prioritize more?

    Please, can we start talking about this issue as one of actual trade-offs and not just keep looking for an easy way out? Please?

    • #7
    • March 26, 2020, at 12:18 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Annefy (View Comment):
    This conversation is difficult. It doesn’t help that we as a society are so uncomfortable with the subject in the best of times, let alone in the midst of a crisis. When there were reports from Italy that nurses and doctors were denying respirators to older folks in favor of younger, my question was:

    This is an incredibly important point. We already struggle with balancing the expense of caring for retirees (and continuously prolonging their lives with new, expensive treatments) vs. keeping the productive part of the economy intact.

    But that only covers the half of it. We need to appreciate that this is more than just money vs. body count, and that the viral pandemic might also pose unique emotional issues.

    Many people can come to terms with refusing potentially life-saving treatment for elderly, infirm people, especially when it’s done with informed consent in a controlled manner. It’s difficult but manageable to refuse a new round of debilitating chemotherapy in favor of home palliative care and being able to pass in peace surrounded by loved ones. Or even for relatives to give doctors permission to switch off a respirator for a comatose parent after they’ve had one last chance to hold them.

    It’s a completely different situation when your loved one gets locked in an isolation ward and you’re not able to visit the hospital. Or, as has been reported from Italy, when you’re considered lucky if you even get to talk to them one last time by iPad. And then there’s the emotional burden of healthcare providers making life/death triage decisions and actively turning off ventilators without the consent of the patient or their relatives, which up until recently was considered murder by professional ethics standards. Not to mention the forced rapid funerals where only first-degree relatives are allowed to attend.

    Those are impacts that can’t be modeled by epidemiologists or economists.

    Those sound like horror stories, but they’re happening right now as we speak in countries with relatively healthy populations and decent standards of health care. I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, but I don’t think we can confidently rule out the possibility of a similar outbreak in the US if we completely relax the lockdowns without proper safeguards in place.

    • #8
    • March 26, 2020, at 12:39 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Annefy (View Comment):
    where do I sign to make sure that happens to me?

    This is also crucial.

    If this virus does not become manageable in the next few weeks, we absolutely need a clear, corona-specific “do not ventilate” or “not a ventilation priority” identification system above and beyond the current “do not resuscitate”-style IDs. As I said above, one of the things doctors apparently fear the most is not just having to choose who gets a ventilator, but actually actively removing a ventilator from a non-hopeless patient and giving it to a more needy one, thereby actively ending a potentially saveable life without consent.

    If we want to protect our doctors, we need to remove that burden from them as much as we can.

    In fact, we may also need to think about rapid response palliative care teams who can provide pain medications at home to patients willing to forgo treatment (not assisted suicide, just palliative care). This would not only alleviate their suffering greatly, it would also allow them to be with their loved ones in their last moments instead of locked away, and it would free up resources from having to transport an infectious patient in a quarantined manner into an already-overcrowded hospital only to die there.

    I really can’t believe I’m writing this. God, please let the sun come out tomorrow and fry this virus to hell.

    • #9
    • March 26, 2020, at 12:47 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Mendel (View Comment):

    Thank you so much for raising this topic, Susan. I think it’s very underappreciated at the moment.

    I think it’s very unhelpful that our society seems to have slipped back into binary mode when discussing the pandemic, with everyone taking one of two very slanted positions:

    The people who want to go into full-out lockdown mode tend to grossly underestimate the risk to the global economy and even civil society at large.

    But the people who are (correctly) screaming about how we are potentially ruining the global economy for a generation or more are grossly downplaying the risks of the virus (in my opinion).

    In other words, nobody seems to be portraying the issue as a genuine trade-off between two options which are conceivably equally bad. Everyone is convinced that one option is clearly much worse than the other, despite a stunning lack of evidence for both arguments.

    I am strongly of the opinion that we need to approach this issue with the perspective that both options – letting the virus run wild or suffocating the global economy for longer than a month – may be equally detrimental to civilization. In other words, we desperately need to shift the conversation from the question of: which risk is being overblown? to: let’s assume neither risk is being overblown, and there’s no easy compromise solution – What do we prioritize more?

    Please, can we start talking about this issue as one of actual trade-offs and not just keep looking for an easy way out? Please?

    Very well said, @mendel! Thank you! 

    • #10
    • March 26, 2020, at 3:40 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. M. Brandon Godbey Member

    Annefy (View Comment):

    This conversation is difficult. It doesn’t help that we as a society are so uncomfortable with the subject in the best of times, let alone in the midst of a crisis. When there were reports from Italy that nurses and doctors were denying respirators to older folks in favor of younger, my question was: where do I sign to make sure that happens to me? I’ll gladly to deny a respirator for any of my kids. Or any of your kids.

    Part of the equation that I think is missing: while we at the older end of the demo might be comfortable with the risk, the fear is that there’s the potential that too many would end up in an ICU. So being willing to take a risk I think also needs to include not clogging up the system if the dice doesn’t roll our way.

    For me personally? I will do my best to not get sick, up to and including not spraining an ankle or breaking a bone, so that not one ounce of resource is used for me.

     

    My God, when I read that I got choked up. The human capacity for bravery is astonishing.

    • #11
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:51 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Why Don’t You Just Ask Us?

    Those of you with elderly family members, please consider (if you haven’t already done so) asking about a Living Will, sometimes called an Advance Directive (they can be done at any age, but it seems to me that the focus right now is on the elderly).

    The AARP site has state-specific information on what these are and how they are maintained in each state.

    I dread a situation where a “blanket” DNR is issued by the government, or by the health-care system, or where individual hospitals and individual doctors have to make decisions on the fly. We have had many conversations here about government or institutional intervention on the subject of when it is “time to die,” and I don’t recall a single one where the membership has been uniformly in favor. Perhaps it will come to that in this country, but God, I hope not.

    Mr. She (more elderly, even, than I!) and I crossed this Rubicon a few years ago, and we have been very clear about what we both do, and do not, want done. In the unhappy event that that he’s “denied” a ventilator at some point in the future, I’ll sleep better at night knowing that that, actually, was his choice when he was of sound mind and able to make the decision for himself. Because it was.

    It’s a conversation that needs to be had, one that starts with the “Ask” suggested by this post, and one which I think will lead to peace of mind for those left behind, who may otherwise be faced with a choice in unspeakably awful circumstances, or who may, God forbid, have the choice taken out of their hands.

    • #12
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:34 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  13. MarciN Member

    I think we all need to be very careful in our public discussions of deeply private matters of the heart like this. I want to emphasize this point because I don’t want people to be afraid of losing control of their health care situation and to react with fear to the stories in the press right now:

    If you are thinking about simply walking way from medical care, you have the right to do so. No one can force medical care on you. 

    So discussions like this will not affect you in any way. You are safe and sound. You are the captain of your own ship. These discussions will, however, affect others and future generations.

    I would do anything I could to stop the avalanche of predictable reactions to today’s crisis in hospital care. Euthanasia, assisted suicide, and suicide are a huge part of the politics of health care, and I admire the press and the president for staying away from these subjects as long as they have. They won’t be able to hold them off too long. As I write this, there’s a headline of a story on Yahoo! News of an ICU doctor who is saying, “When you die from this virus in the ICU, you die alone.” So here we go now. That is the very fear that prompted the hospice, Five Wishes, and euthanasia movements to be built across the world.

    And speaking of end-of-life directives, isn’t the ventilator the specific machine we all fear? It is mentioned in all of the end-of-life instructions I have seen. It is the machine that hospitals want your permission to disconnect. It is basically the plug that is pulled in a rather dramatic ceremony at the hospital bed.

    When these private decisions get into the press and raise the emotions of the public, the government and politics can become very ugly. Eventually, the emotions that led the people to cry out “Do something!” quiet down, and people go back to their normal life thinking the matter has been solved. Sadly, they will never know how those cries turned into laws that are used against individuals ten years down the road when the impetus for enacting them has long since passed. Where there used to be a doctor and a loving next-of-kin relative standing at the bedside, now there are bureaucrats. Now there are people begging for help for their parents or grandparents or children only to be shown a book of regulations that is three inches thick. Now there is the push to death to save resources. Or to donate organs. Hospices will replace, not just augment, hospitals for older or disabled patients.

    I cannot stop what I know is coming. But I do fear it. The euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide groups are dancing at these current opportunities for sensationalist stories and fear mongering that this virus has created. God help us.

    • #13
    • March 26, 2020, at 9:33 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    MarciN (View Comment):
    I think we all need to be very careful in our public discussions of deeply private matters of the heart like this. I want to emphasize this point because I don’t want people to be afraid of losing control of their health care situation and to react with fear to the stories in the press right now: 

    I think I understand your reasoning, @marcin, and let me provide another perspective. If we don’t make these things acceptable to discuss publicly, then we might find decisions being made by bureaucrats that are immoral and dark. Many people don’t know where or how to have these discussions. They don’t think to discuss these concerns with their doctors or even with their own families: no one likes to talk about death or its prospects. I’m just not sure that less public discussion is the answer.

    • #14
    • March 26, 2020, at 9:58 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MarciN (View Comment):
    And speaking of end-of-life directives, isn’t the ventilator the specific machine we all fear?

    I think there’s some difference here, although in this case I’m just going off of second-hand hearsay.

    But I think there’s a difference with our normal association of a ventilator as the last stop for dying patients before the inevitable occurs and its use in coronavirus, where it apparently can genuinely save lives.

    In other words, when we say “no ventilator” that’s often shorthand for “no heroic measures once I’m already halfway out the door”. But I think in this case ventilators are also being used on many patients with good chances of survival and a healthy life afterward (although we probably need more time to see what long-term effects coronavirus has).

    But again, if the virus is truly here to stay, this is something we should be getting informed about: can we define some level of clinical deterioration where we can denote in advance “if I deteriorate this far please unplug the ventilator and give it to someone else” in a clear manner?

    • #15
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:17 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Annefy Member

    I don’t disagree with anything you said, Marcie. But I believe one of the reasons that the regulators have so much power is because we have refused to be adult about all this.

    If what you describe is our future then we need to step the hell up. We need to not make our wishes known to our loved ones by putting it in writing – we need to have the conversation. 

    And we as individuals need to face up to the fact that death is an inevitability. Yes – avoid it as long as you can. But it will ultimately happen. What I see some of my peers put their demented parents through in the name of “health” is criminal.

     

    • #16
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:23 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. MarciN Member

    People who persist–parents who live on in pain rather than commit suicide–are doing it for the sake of their children. Parents and grandparents don’t want to live in pain and suffering and terror and isolation any more than you do. They are trying to say to their children and grandchildren, “Don’t give up. Keep trying. Don’t commit suicide.” 

     

     

    • #17
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:40 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Annefy Member

    MarciN (View Comment):

    People who persist–parents who live on in pain rather than commit suicide–are doing it for the sake of their children. Parents and grandparents don’t want to live in pain and suffering and terror and isolation any more than you do. They are trying to say to their children and grandchildren, “Don’t give up. Keep trying. Don’t commit suicide.”

     

     

    Let’s not get different things mixed up. There’s a big difference between “committing suicide” and , for instance, not going through chemotherapy when you’ve received a cancer diagnosis. (Something my dad did). Also doesn’t apply to not doing invasive procedures on a demented patient to find out if she has a brain tumor (something I did to my mom)

    There is also a big difference between committing suicide and refusing a respirator, especially in a time of crisis and scarcity 

    • #18
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:49 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. MarciN Member

    Annefy (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    People who persist–parents who live on in pain rather than commit suicide–are doing it for the sake of their children. Parents and grandparents don’t want to live in pain and suffering and terror and isolation any more than you do. They are trying to say to their children and grandchildren, “Don’t give up. Keep trying. Don’t commit suicide.”

    Let’s not get different things mixed up. There’s a big difference between “committing suicide” and , for instance, not going through chemotherapy when you’ve received a cancer diagnosis. (Something my dad did). Also doesn’t apply to not doing invasive procedures on a demented patient to find out if she has a brain tumor (something I did to my mom)

    There is also a big difference between committing suicide and refusing a respirator, especially in a time of crisis and scarcity

    This is a new type of decision. I’m sure there are many people out there who are deciding that they won’t go to the hospital right now to avoid burdening the system and taking life-saving care away from others. The pressure is getting tremendous on the boomer population and their parents.

    This pressure to die will have far-reaching consequences in the future. “I’m a drain on society” and “I don’t want to be a burden” can be felt for many reasons.

    • #19
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:54 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. MarciN Member

    We have all witnessed end-of-life care that was disturbing for one reason or another. Those are battlefield decisions that are multifaceted.

    I am just saying that we need to be very careful in this crisis to think through the messages we are sending to the people around us now and to the people of the future.

    Those messages will affect decision and policy making in the future of health care rationing that is upon us. There are lines we should not cross because we’ll never be able to go back.

    • #20
    • March 26, 2020, at 11:19 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MarciN (View Comment):
    This is a new type of decision. I’m sure there are many people out there who are deciding that they won’t go to the hospital right now to avoid burdening the system and taking life-saving care away from others. The pressure is getting tremendous on the boomer population and their parents.

    A slightly contrarian viewpoint from an area of the country (regional) which has not, as of yet, been struck hard by Covid-19.

    My community doctor’s offices and my local hospital (at which I worked for 20 years, so I have some insight and information as to what’s going on) are almost empty. They’ve followed all the directives, suggestions and instructions, and so they are “prepared” for an influx of Covid-19 patients that will overwhelm their facilities. They’ve cancelled elective surgeries and procedures. They’ve instructed patients displaying mild symptoms that MAY be Covid-19 to self-isolate before coming in, to see if their symptoms worsen, and they’ve provided hotlines to physician assistants for further counseling. They’ve instructed anyone with a certain set of symptoms to head for the emergency room.

    There’s almost nobody in the waiting rooms, anywhere. And very few people in the emergency room.

    At the moment, I can’t help thinking, my doctor’s office, and my little hospital, are losing money hand over fist, just waiting (and hopefully not hoping) for a sudden upturn in business when the Covid-19 patients start rolling in in uncontrollable numbers.

    I recognize that the situation in New York may be different.

    There is something deeply wrong about the way this matter is being approached. I don’t have the answer. But I don’t think anyone else does either.

    In the meantime, God bless the healthcare workers, some of whom I met today, when I had to take Mr. She, who is elderly and who has several comorbidities that put him at terrible risk for Covid-19 susceptibility, for a minor and necessary procedure that had nothing to do with it.

    Just trying to keep the balance sheets in the black, is how I look at it. I’ve already covered where we are on the “respirator” issue.

     

    • #21
    • March 26, 2020, at 2:30 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Samuel Block Member

    She (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Why Don’t You Just Ask Us?

    Those of you with elderly family members, please consider (if you haven’t already done so) asking about a Living Will, sometimes called an Advance Directive (they can be done at any age, but it seems to me that the focus right now is on the elderly).

    The AARP site has state-specific information on what these are and how they are maintained in each state.

    I dread a situation where a “blanket” DNR is issued by the government, or by the health-care system, or where individual hospitals and individual doctors have to make decisions on the fly. We have had many conversations here about government or institutional intervention on the subject of when it is “time to die,” and I don’t recall a single one where the membership has been uniformly in favor. Perhaps it will come to that in this country, but God, I hope not.

    Mr. She (more elderly, even, than I!) and I crossed this Rubicon a few years ago, and we have been very clear about what we both do, and do not, want done. In the unhappy event that that he’s “denied” a ventilator at some point in the future, I’ll sleep better at night knowing that that, actually, was his choice when he was of sound mind and able to make the decision for himself. Because it was.

    It’s a conversation that needs to be had, one that starts with the “Ask” suggested by this post, and one which I think will lead to peace of mind for those left behind, who may otherwise be faced with a choice in unspeakably awful circumstances, or who may, God forbid, have the choice taken out of their hands.

    Yes. Yes! 

    I’ve spent enough time in the funereal industry to know that unresolved arrangements lead to ugly disputes among the decedent’s children. I can’t recommend it enough as a means to protect the younger generation from making terrible, regrettable decisions.

    • #22
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. MarciN Member

    She (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Why Don’t You Just Ask Us?

    Those of you with elderly family members, please consider (if you haven’t already done so) asking about a Living Will, sometimes called an Advance Directive (they can be done at any age, but it seems to me that the focus right now is on the elderly).

    The AARP site has state-specific information on what these are and how they are maintained in each state.

    I dread a situation where a “blanket” DNR is issued by the government, or by the health-care system, or where individual hospitals and individual doctors have to make decisions on the fly. We have had many conversations here about government or institutional intervention on the subject of when it is “time to die,” and I don’t recall a single one where the membership has been uniformly in favor. Perhaps it will come to that in this country, but God, I hope not.

    Mr. She (more elderly, even, than I!) and I crossed this Rubicon a few years ago, and we have been very clear about what we both do, and do not, want done. In the unhappy event that that he’s “denied” a ventilator at some point in the future, I’ll sleep better at night knowing that that, actually, was his choice when he was of sound mind and able to make the decision for himself. Because it was.

    It’s a conversation that needs to be had, one that starts with the “Ask” suggested by this post, and one which I think will lead to peace of mind for those left behind, who may otherwise be faced with a choice in unspeakably awful circumstances, or who may, God forbid, have the choice taken out of their hands.

    You’ve described beautifully where we are now on the life-to-death continuum. It’s a pretty good place to be in honoring human life and honoring a person’s wishes to go to the next life on his or her own terms.

    But in comment 21, you also have described your concern about our possibly overreacting to this present crisis.

    Where we are now in planning and controlling our estates and our death can quickly turn (think toilet paper shortage) into something unrecognizable because of this crisis. I’m pretty sure it will. That is my concern.

    • #23
    • March 27, 2020, at 5:06 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  24. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MarciN (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Why Don’t You Just Ask Us?

    Those of you with elderly family members, please consider (if you haven’t already done so) asking about a Living Will, sometimes called an Advance Directive (they can be done at any age, but it seems to me that the focus right now is on the elderly).

    The AARP site has state-specific information on what these are and how they are maintained in each state.

    I dread a situation where a “blanket” DNR is issued by the government, or by the health-care system, or where individual hospitals and individual doctors have to make decisions on the fly. We have had many conversations here about government or institutional intervention on the subject of when it is “time to die,” and I don’t recall a single one where the membership has been uniformly in favor. Perhaps it will come to that in this country, but God, I hope not.

    Mr. She (more elderly, even, than I!) and I crossed this Rubicon a few years ago, and we have been very clear about what we both do, and do not, want done. In the unhappy event that that he’s “denied” a ventilator at some point in the future, I’ll sleep better at night knowing that that, actually, was his choice when he was of sound mind and able to make the decision for himself. Because it was.

    It’s a conversation that needs to be had, one that starts with the “Ask” suggested by this post, and one which I think will lead to peace of mind for those left behind, who may otherwise be faced with a choice in unspeakably awful circumstances, or who may, God forbid, have the choice taken out of their hands.

    You’ve described beautifully where we are now on the life-to-death continuum. It’s a pretty good place to be in honoring human life and honoring a person’s wishes to go to the next life on his or her own terms.

    But in comment 21, you also have described your concern about our possibly overreacting to this present crisis.

    Where we are now in planning and controlling our estates and our death can quickly turn (think toilet paper shortage) into something unrecognizable because of this crisis. I’m pretty sure it will. That is my concern.

    I don’t know if we’re overreacting. My comment was more a concern that we are, in many areas of the country, imposing the square pegs of reaction from New York, California, Washington State, et. al, and trying to jam them into what are some round holes in the rest of the country. I think there does need to be a reaction. But I’m not sure if what we’re doing nationwide is the right one for every part of the country.

    I get the sense that we are closely watching several distastrous “epicenters” of Covid-19 infection, and that every area of the country seems to be “gearing up” as if it’s going to be the next one. (After all, Andrew the Pious–to borrow a locution from Rush Limbaugh and deploy it on a new generation–keeps telling us we will be the next New York, right?) As a result/side-effect of being “ready,” the health-care infrastructure in Washington County PA has been brought to a relative standstill, just waiting, waiting, waiting. Will we be the next New York? Out here in relatively sparsely-populated rural PA? I don’t know. My county currently has had twelve reported cases, and no deaths. It’s a fairly stable, but relatively poor, population that has opened up a bit in the last five years as a result of fracking, of which we actually are an epicenter, but still pretty stable. It would be a terrible irony if this health system, the largest employer in the county, went under not because it couldn’t care for the overwhelming influx of coronavirus patients, but because they were “geared up” for it and it never came.

    Now that DJT and his team have started (it sounds like) to publicly question some of their fundamental assumptions, perhaps a more targeted approach will be forthcoming. Perhaps all areas of the country are not equally susceptible. Perhaps.

    I think social distancing, hand washing, controlling one’s coughing and sneezing, and attempting to limit airborne secretions are really good ideas. (Lord. I worked in a hospital for 20 years. I’ve been sneezing into my elbow forever. Every year for decades, I spent several hours on an “Infection Control” module, and have read, practiced, and demonstrated, the proper way to wash one’s hands ad nauseam. I get it.) I’m just not sure that a “one size fits all” solution actually is a solution. Time will tell, I suppose, one way or the other. (EDIT: To be clear: when I’m talking about a “one size fits all” solution I’m talking about curfews, lockdowns, almost all businesses closed, “papers,” etc. etc. Not about sensible guidelines/rules for keeping our distance and being smart.)

    • #24
    • March 27, 2020, at 5:41 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.