– Atul Gawande has another piece on healthcare in this week’s New Yorker which is up to his usual excellent standard. This time he asks what medicine should do when it can’t save our life:
“Surveys of patients with terminal illness find that their top priorities include, in addition to avoiding suffering, being with family, having the touch of others, being mentally aware, and not becoming a burden to others. Our system of technological medical care has utterly failed to meet these needs, and the cost of this failure is measured in far more than dollars. The hard question we face, then, is not how we can afford this system’s expense. It is how we can build a health-care system that will actually help dying patients achieve what’s most important to them at the end of their lives.”
This rang true because of my experience when my father passed away in my mid-20’s. He suffered a stroke and could no longer walk by himself but I think the hardest thing was that his diet was so restricted he had to give up all the foods he loved, and he loved good food.
Did I want more time with my father ? Off course. Did I want that to cost him a life without joy ? No. My father lived long enough to hold his first grandchild in his arms and then passed away a month later. Just before he died my dad dreamt that he met his father and grandfather so I think he knew it was time to go and was at peace. I am grateful that time wasn’t prolonged by extra pain and time in hospital.
– the Amish are better able to enjoy what really matters, which is all the stuff money can’t buy;
– I think the Amish have realised that we are happier when we are busy. Unfortunately due to evolution our instinct is to do nothing in order to conserve energy;
– an inspiring picture rather than inspiring words: the Milky Way over Bryce Canyon.
I am lucky enough to have visited Bryce Canyon and it is my favourite National Park with a landscape that is unlike anything else I have ever seen. I would go so far as to say that if I had to choose between the Grand Canyon and Bryce, I’d go for Bryce.