The point you're missing is that there ARE people who WANT to fight for their lives.Doctors should be honest. Many of them aren't. They take a Don't Ask Don't Tell approach to dying. We, all of us, deserve more than that. We deserve choice. We deserve facts, even when they are difficult to hear. We deserve to hear the wonderful things hospice can do for us and for our loved ones. We deserve to know that the chemotherapy they're giving us is not going to cure us.
We all need to face the fact that we are going to die. And our families need to face the fact that we're going to die. Every single adult should have a healthcare power of attorney. Every family should insist their loved ones get them. Every daughter: her mom, her dad, her spouse. Vice versa. Why don't we? Because we don't want to face the fact that we are going to die. And we don't want to answer the hard questions. Shame on us.
Families need to be more understanding and willing to step aside to let their loved ones make their own decisions -- while they are still lucid enough to do so. Dying people sometimes feel guilty not to keep fighting...they don't want to break their daughters', sons', spouses' hearts. Their last gift, if you will.
If patients aren't called to address their own mortality by their doctors, then these difficult decisions are left to family to make when the very end stages come. A terrible burden. Awful.
When I was in the hospital last year, a male nurse came into my room late at night, knowing I was awake, and let me know what "the racket" had been. "A 93-year-old woman coded a while ago. We performed CPR, used a defibrillator on her..." He was crying. "Her family wouldn't sign a DNR on her," he said. He was relieved they were unsuccessful, telling me that her ribs were broken, she was oxygen deprived... Said he prayed they'd be unsuccessful, as her family wanted to keep her as lucid as possible and her pain was under-medicated. *Shaking Head Here*
No thanks, Maggie says. That is just plain wrong.