The Other I

September 8, 2008

Not dying isn’t the same as living

Filed under: Family,Growing Old,Just Stuff,Survival Strategies — theotheri @ 3:40 pm

It’s amazing how fast one’s focus of attention can change.  Yesterday I was thinking about the end of the Roman Empire, and wondering with this election if America had reached a critical point which will ultimately decide whether America’s hegemony will end with the Barbarians at the gate.  Concomitantly I spent some energy cheering for Andy Murray at the U.S. Tennis Open, and celebrating birthdays of my niece and husband.

And then I perused my email this morning as I routinely do and flash!  My nephew has sent a message to the family list serve to say that my older brother Tom was in a hospital in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, after he’d been air-lifted from the Grand Tetons where he’d been hiking.  Tom told me years ago that he hoped to die somewhere in Alaska while he was hiking, but I suspect today he feels this scenario at age 69 is a little premature.

It seems to have been a close call, and they are keeping him there for some time after emergency surgery.  He’s doubly lucky because it looks as if he is going to be okay.  But he’s known for years about a hernia which he was told could kill him and that he’s resolutely ignored.

It’s easy to say he should have had it fixed when the sun was shining.  But I have some sympathy for people who say they would prefer to die sooner rather than using up huge expenditures of anxiety and time and money asking the medical profession to make sure they don’t die.

I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet, but I’ll bet that even now Tom hasn’t changed his mind about doctors.  Though I dare say he’s grateful for their skill at this particular point in time.

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