Really?!?

The title of this piece is meant to be spoken like my 9 year old daughter who uses it to express her shock that whoever is doing whatever she is commenting on would even consider doing something so obviously insane.

In this case it is used to express my shock at the latest turn of events concerning my wife’s health. After coming through surgery to repair a perforated bowel and recovering so well that the doctors were talking about going home in a week we had a huge setback in the form of a hernia and fluid accumulating within the abdomen. Emergency surgery was immediate, I was called at 10pm and had to go through the same routine of calling my sister to come up (a two hour drive) to look after the children and my neighbour to look after them until she got here, and partially successful. The fluid was removed but the surgeons could not close up as the tissue on the inner abdomen was so unhealthy that a large part, almost all the front from side to side, had to be removed. So now we were faced with three options: plastic surgery to graft tissue from other places into the damaged area, a biological mesh which is surgically attached, or simply waiting for it to grow back.

The first option was rejected as due to my wife’s condition and the difficulty of the procedure it was not feasible. The second option is still under consideration and will be attempted in a couple of weeks when my wife gets a bit stronger but the doctors are not very hopeful. The third option looks like the most likely. This third option entails going into surgery every 10 days to have the internal dressings changed, fluid removed, and a new vacuum plastic covering put on the outside to hold the organs in. This would take months to grow back during which time my wife would stay in hospital.

All this is kind of academic because at the moment my wife is still in intensive care, is swollen due to too much fluid which doesn’t seem to be going down, and is very very unwell so much so that she does not move much unless the nurses move her, takes a lot of pain killers (oxycodone) and is not getting better but is getting worse every day.

So there you go. We have been in an out of hospitals for almost the full 13 years of our marriage with only the frequency of the visits increasing. It used to be, 13 years ago, that my wife went into hospital every six months for regular checkups and would have a couple of “episodes” every year which needed hospitalisation. Now she is in intensive care and has been in hospital or a hospice since June 2016 with a maximum of a month total at home.

Should we be thinking that the writing is on the wall?

We all have to die one day and although my wife is only 47 she has been through so much that it is amazing her body is still working. The doctors are always looking ahead to the next procedure and hoping for the best. My wife is always looking forward to getting better and mentioned going to Greece to see some of her relatives or to Australia to visit her father who has never seen his Grandchildren due to the fact that he too is too ill to travel.

Should medicine be keeping people alive at all costs? Is it right for so many resources to be used on keeping one person alive when their quality of life is just not that great? It seems that because science does not accept or believe that there is life after death and that this life is all we have scientists want to keep us alive for as long as possible and citing even a tiny extension of life by a day or two as a victory. But can just being alive in a hospital bed connected to a multitude of tubes and sensors be considered being alive? If you had just had a car accident then maybe but in the case of someone with a long term incurable illness why not just let go? Why do we have to hold on till the last possible moment? We have to go anyway so why can’t we let go before we are violently dragged away?

The Vedic, Ancient Indian, culture is different in that it recommends preparing for death long before it actually happens. It recommends that the first 25 years of life are spent as a student, then the next 25 years as a householder or family man, then the next 25 in a gradual process of detachment during which both the husband and wife travel, sometimes together and sometimes separately, to holy places and consciously work on detaching themselves from worldly complications, then the last 25 are spent in complete renunciation away from ones wife or husband, without any activity other than developing God consciousness. In the Vedic culture when the process is followed correctly a person would be ready for death. They would have no contact with family, friends, or worldly activities such as business, property ownership, grandchildren etc and would simply chant or hear about God and pass away peacefully without any remorse or sadness as they had spent their whole life living and also preparing for death.

Which approach to death is better? I have to say that I prefer the Vedic system. If I was in my wife’s condition I would give up trying to stay here and would just prepare for the inevitable. But I am not my wife.

I am tired now. I am tired of driving to the hospital every day. Tired of seeing the house in such an untidy state because I can’t be bothered to clean it up. Tired of not being able to work because I spend all my time at the hospital. Tired of worrying about money. Tired of looking at the huge pile of unanswered letters and un-filed bills and papers lying on top of the microwave in the kitchen. I know it sounds terrible but I wish this was all over and the only way it is all going to be over is when my wife dies. I can see why campaigners in the UK don’t want Euthanasia to be a legal option. If it was then many relatives and friends would, citing quality of life and other reasons, encourage old or invalid grandparents or other relatives to just leave so the rest of us can get on with our lives.

I feel terrible sometimes when I think it but I do think it. I do think it would be nice to go on a holiday somewhere, something we haven’t done for years, to wake up in the morning and not have to be a nurse, carer, and doctor for my wife. It would be nicer if my wife was healthy again and could drive to the shops by herself, fly around the world, work, look after the children, take them to school, cook, clean and all the rest of the stuff that “normal” people do. The problem is that my wife is never going to get better. We are on a steady step by step path leading to death. Yes it is amazing seeing a person fight to stay alive year after year despite problem after problem but I have come to the point now when I think it might be better to actually face the music and accept and embrace death. One might say that it is easy for me to say this as it is not me that is dying and I would have to agree but I do feel, and I could be wrong, that I would prefer to die rather than go through so much hell simply to stay alive for a few months or even years more when the quality of life is so bad.

Do I feel bad thinking like this? Yes! Will I tell my wife? It depends on what she feels or says about it. I am not going to impose the way I would face death on my wife. Everyone chooses their own way and has their own understanding and if she wants to keep on fighting then I will be there to help in any way I can but I am tired.

I am also pretty much convinced that we do not die when the body dies. I don’t know for sure but after 40 years of trying to figure it out I, as I said, am convinced that death is simply the moment that life leaves the body and moves on and that the body which was always dead simply looks dead because the driver or life force has gone.

I know that the above “understanding” will not go down well with a lot of people who think that all these “religious” or “spiritual” theories are a bunch of mumbo jumbo and that laws should be in place banning such madness but I am afraid that, despite their protestations, such people don’t know what death is and if there is anything after any more than I do. We, the spiritualist and materialist, are both in ignorance and have both been convinced one way or another by information and experience.

This is the point where the materialist quotes scientific facts, figures, and theories which clearly show that religion and spiritualism is wrong. Said materialist also gets very angry and upset at the stupidity of the spiritualist. This is also the point where the spiritualist presents his logic and argument supporting his version.

The truth of the matter is that however much science has done it has not discovered what consciousness or life is, it has not been able to prove that life came from matter, and despite providing humanity with ways to live more comfortably they have not solved the basic problems of disease, old age and death.

My daughter just woke up and came in so I am afraid that is that for now.