My best mate, “Dr Dave” was down for a visit. Somewhere in the haze of curry, porter and Aliens (the movie that is), we got to talking about death and euthanasia and all that stuff. Inspired by the recent documentary of a guy with MND taking the sensible steps. Or sensible sips, I suppose.
Dave related a story of how he had recently done a home visit, and ended up diagnosing someone with dementia, and then having a conversation with this person’s spouse.
Dave: Well, if it gets to the stage where you find it difficult to cope, um… there can be social services input, home care etc. It may become necessary- if it all gets too much- to put [patient] in a nursing home.
Spouse: But people die in Nursing Homes.
Dave: ” ” [speechless]
Now, patient and spouse both in their late 70s…
Did they not see what had happened to their parents? Their aunts and uncles? Their friends, by this age, FFS? Don’t they get how life ends?
Me, I blame the War. When I qualified as a health care professional, there were still a few around who’d fought in it. They were, on the whole (without sinking into all that Greatest Generation guff), phlegmatic and realistic. They’d seen friends die, and they knew how life ends, and that they’d had 60 years or so that others hadn’t. But those lot are mostly gone, so the people doing the dying now grew up in the 40s and 50s, and the war was a bit of a game, but rarely life and death.
Oh, and I also blame the Death of God. For the Victorians, death was no taboo, sex was. With fewer of us believing in a hereafter, those taboos have switched.
Best book I ever read about this- “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker.
Enough cod-sociology for one day I think…