Nick Posted this quote on his Facebook page: “”Once I realised I was old enough to die, I decided that I was also old enough not to incur any more suffering, annoyance or boredom in the pursuit of a longer life”
~ Barbara Ehrenreich.
Investigating the author of the quote, I found this article in the Guardian.
The views expressed by BE resonate with me though I haven’t had to handle any form of cancer. I however know some people very close to me who have and one of whom is still coming out of the after effects of chemotherapy. Leaving that aside, her take on the rest of one’s approach to living the rest of one’s life requires much wider reception and I am doing my bit by blogging about it and posting my blog on Facebook.
I have ordered for the book that she has written – Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer.
Thank you Nick.
15 thoughts on “Old Enough To Die.”
Ramana, I thought you would appreciate that quote (I was thinking of you as I posted it) as you have several times said how liberating it is to be retired and able to do exactly what you want without having to cow-tow to anyone (or words to that effect). I’m sure when I retire shortly I shall feel much the same.
There’s another interesting quote in the article: ‘In Natural Causes, Ehrenreich writes about how you receive more calls to screenings and tests in the US – including mammograms, colonoscopies and bone density scans – as you get older. She claims most “fail the evidence-based test” and are at best unnecessary and at worst harmful.’
nick recently posted..Namby pamby
As I mentioned in the post, I have second hand knowledge of what happens to someone with cancer as people very close to me have gone through the process. Some of the things like calls for checking up don’t come in India but every time one goes for a follow up, a new appointment is inevitably set and further tests are asked for. Time and money which I think that in retrospect, wasted.
Yes, but I’m also reading articles about how too much testing is harmful. It leads to overtreatment and decline in the quality of life. We have to do our own research and make our own decisions.
Cheerful Monk recently posted..Drought
I agree and I think that the thrust of her book will be on similar lines.
the idea of testing and then having certain potions enter your bathroom cabinet – reminds me of when I was seeing a specialist doctor at my local clinic and he was looking at my general health files. He said at one “If you were my patient with these readings, I would put you on xyz…” and i replied, “you are not reading them right, there is a balance if you look further below…no need” – he then shut up!!!
The next appt I was advised by front desk to move to nurse’s clinic – I had no idea why until a nurse said “we must get your medical details uptodate”…and proceeded to weigh, measure and take BP along with a variety of questions – all of which was probably to help with her annual $-bonus…
I too rarely visit the doctor, I’m due for the flu’ jab and I noted we now have some other free jab available…
I had to get my blood tested recently to see if there was any Vitamin D deficiency before the diagnosis for my FM was made. Other than that, I haven’t had any tests done in years!
“Ehrenreich writes about how you receive more calls to screenings and tests in the US – including mammograms, colonoscopies and bone density scans – as you get older.”
OMG, no joke. “Older” being about 50, especially if you’ve ever been diagnosed with cancer. Ironically, I get the notices for useful things long after my doctor or I have scheduled them anyway, and the rest? No. Just no. I’ve told my doctor that I’m not going on the twice yearly schedule (I remember my father in law being on the quarterly/monthly schedule) unless there was a damned good medical need. Like bloodwork because one of my prescriptions calls for it, or something.
I’ll get the free flu jab – healthcare professionals get it, too – largely because last time I had the flu, it was a trippy, near-death experience and I swear I talked to God. He told me the secret to world peace. But then, when I didn’t die, wouldn’t let me speak anything but gibberish till I forgot what it was. So now I just get the flu shot. It’s simpler. But so’s the secret to world peace. “Be GOOD to each other.” That’s it.
I said it was simple; I never said it was EASY.
Cathy, depending on how old you are, the other free jab is probably pneumonia. And probably worth having, although I hear it hurts worse, afterwards, than the damned flu shot. (I had my tetanus booster, too, last year, and that was an evil thing – hours, days later.)
Anyway, I can relate, Ramana. I’d like to live pain free and functional. But I’ve watched friends put themselves through literal hell only to add a few months of literal hell to their lifespans, and I don’t want that. I will say the Serenity Prayer and hope I can tell the difference if/when the time comes. I will pray, too, to go quietly – slip away silently – in my sleep. That would be easiest on all, I think. And I want to clarify that I am talking about some time in my mid to late 90s. 😀 Honestly, though, I expect 30-something me to still be there in my 90-something-year-old body, so I reserve the right to rethink all of this. I remember thinking I’d never WANT to live past 50 – 50 was OLD. I could smack that past version of me.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted..Devilishly Dangerous: a Double Acrostic
I couldn’t agree more Holly. I am well over the average life span of Indian males and I am ready to go. All that I want is that I should without trouble to myself and / or others.
A friend of mine talks about her friend who is in her mid eighties and has cancer. There has been some difficulty finding the right medication for the cancer and the patient gets distressed about it. I hear all this and wonder if she thinks she can live forever because at 80+ maybe it’s best to just live
kylie recently posted..The Alternator
It’s really easy to make that call for others, hypothetically, and you’re not wrong. But imagine going from a healthy 70-something, your personality basically the same as it’s been since your twenties, your brain still cooking up a million things you want to do, and it slams you in the face (not for the first time, of course) that you have an EXPIRATION DATE. Not just some distant, inevitable “some day,” but an actual guessable shelf life. I can only imagine the mental panic-static.
When people ask me, “What would you do if you knew you had just one week to live?” the only honest answer that comes to mind is “Stare back at them like a deer caught in the headlights, and then keep doing whatever the hell I was doing when they started talking.” Seriously, whatever it is I’d want to do, I should be doing it now. There’s really NEVER enough time.
That said, other parts of me are totally accepting of the finite nature of life.
Yes, I totally agree that at 80+ she probably feels like she did at 20 or 30 and it’s not my call to make but wouldn’t a cancer diagnosis get you thinking? I’m not suggesting giving up necessarily but starting to make peace with the inevitable?
kylie recently posted..The Alternator
Of course. But she needs the time she needs to do that thinking. It’s like any other grieving process. Each of us has to work through it in our own way, on our own timetable.
Holly recently posted..Devilishly Dangerous: a Double Acrostic
I know of four cases where people simply asked for pain management and forewent chemotherapy as a deliberate choice. I thought that it was brave and practical and I would do the same if it came to that end.
this article is wonderful. thank you for publishing it!
it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.
I have made a lot of decisions based on it.
if you go to any doctor here he/she has you stop by the desk to make an appt for the next visit. some lately have even made it for me!!! cardiologists always. it’s a great industry they have here. some of their tests are life threatening. you have to sign the paper absolving them from liability.
I am no longer allowing any invasive tests. should have learned that long ago with the cardiac arrest during an angiogram. it’s so silly. I have a bad attitude. but I think a lot of people are getting rich because of our ‘health’ obsession in this country.
I recently went through two different weekends with two separate friends in a panic because the ‘authorities’ found suspicious results in each of their mammograms. both ladies turned out to be fine. but one wonders what the ‘adrenaline suffering’ actually accomplished in the two weeks until that news came through for them. more damage than otherwise probably!
when i had cancer of the thyroid and the whole thing removed I was told by the surgeon “I think I got it all.” I took him at his word and declined their recommended radiation treatments. it was a good decision as far as I’m concerned. we must all choose for ourselves.
tammy j recently posted..what’s it all about Alfie?
Yes, even for me it could not have come at a better time. Synchronicity.
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