Tag Archives: death

A reminder of perspective.

So many people die from many bacterial and parasitic diseases we know exactly how to eliminate. This is fixable. Take your fear, learn how viruses function, and then channel any frustration into helping with an easy solution. Donate to Charity Water. I know that I’ll cut many things from my budget before I cut my monthly donation to Charity Water.

You’re safer than they want you to think.

I’ve made the mistake of watching the news several times this week, and it’s made me fairly livid at least a couples of times.

I’m totally over all of the scare tactics, and news articles that are essentially scary commercials for drugs. Furthermore. It’s not brand specific, I only ever watch FOX by others’ choices, but I’ve seen ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN on my own accord this week, all with similar results.

So far this flu season Nation-Wide:

A total of 20 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported for the 2017-2018 season. See here.

7% of all deaths that occurred during the week ending December 23 were due to pneumonia and influenza. This is above the rate considered normal for this period… see here (though just barely by the charts and graphs available on the CDC page)

That’s out of 60,161  reported cases. 

That’s not even considering the many hundreds of thousands of unreported cases because people didn’t choose to go to their doctor and get tested to confirm it was flu. 

Keep in mind my one facility had 2 viral runs, either or both of which, could have been flu, but neither was tested for confirmation. Beyond that online office visits are now on the rise, and none of those include testing for viral confirmation. Furthermore, the last time I did need to go in to a doctor for being sick they treated based upon symptoms skipping the test to save time and save me money. This time I, like many thousands of people, chose to stay home and treat with over the counter options. So let’s assume that one in two people took the test to find out it was indeed a flu strain (probably a gross underestimation), then that 7% death toll is actually 3.5%; though it’s worded “of all deaths” reported to the CDC for that week, so potentially it’s still off but just considering that deaths in homes or accidents would not be tabulated, for quite some time really. Essentially the 7% would only be those people that died of disease in a hospital, as those are the only numbers that are reported in real time, so still not likely an accurate percentage for flu/pneumonia vs total population. We have not lost 7% of our population in the last month of influenza, not even close!

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statics.

Beyond that, have you noticed that every news story ends in a plug for the vaccine (which they’ve admitted is at best 30% effective-3rd year running) and Tamiflu, which still has much inconclusive data in world research governing bodies.

They’re trying to scare you into using your insurance or cold hard cash to spend on those products because people are wiseing up and refusing to waste their money on ineffective treatments (at best, hazardous at worst).

….

To prove a point:

40,200 people died in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2016 
Number of deaths for leading causes of death, 2015 final totals:

  • Heart disease: 633,842
  • Cancer: 595,930
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 146,571
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 140,323
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561
  • Diabetes: 79,535
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 57,062
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 49,959
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193



So essentially, you have just as much of a risk of dieing from a car accident or suicide as the flu. Furthermore, you are currently 10 times as likely to die of heart disease or cancer as any one of the other 3 causes. Not to mention 3 times as likely to die of other accidents/unintentional-injuries. However, how many flu-style-news-articles do you see in a week about car accidents, suicide victims, heart disease, or cancer? And yes those news articles do exist, but with far, far less frequency.

They want you to be afraid because it makes them more money than if you just paid attention to your own body and went in only when you needed treatment. The catch is don’t be one of the stupid ones that brushes it off a few days too long, ignores the wheezing too long, or allows themselves to be overly dehydrated and under nourished while fighting off a simple illness- those are really the causes of dieing from the flu. Well treated, well rested, well hydrated, well nourished people that allow their bodies down time to heal- very, very rarely die from something like the flu. It’s not impossible, but your risks in that situation are miniscule. Be reasonable, and be responsible for yourself and you’re likely to be just fine in a few days

This brings me to my final thoughts.

I spend nearly all of my waking time these days working with people that have made it into their 80’s, 90’s, and 100’s. No short supply of them either, a whole generation made it through the myriad of scary life ending possibilities.
They are so old they no longer care to do anything but sleep, and many of them verbally wish to die. However, for whatever myriad of reasons they’re unable to relax into a peaceful accepting place to go home to God. They sit miserable day after day, when we as staff are doing our level best to improve their quality of life. I’ve discovered that quality of life is really dependent upon what an individual wants and desires, and all my efforts are futile when the cared for can’t even tell me what their wants and desires are. I want to help, but can’t because I have no idea what’s going on in their minds due to lack of communication (mostly a very conscious choice, very few of my people are truly unable to communicate).
So, then I wonder, would it really be that awful if someone allowed themselves to succumb to flu, or heart disease, or cancer, or the myriad of other ways that one could die. It would eliminate the self induced misery they experience daily. My wish is for everyone to be happy and at peace, and if going home to god is the only way you’ll allow that to happen, then maybe it’s time to do just that, in whatever way possible.
Beyond that, even when speaking of younger people, who’s to say that a person’s death isn’t needed or planned on the divine level. Our mortal brains are simply unable to comprehend beyond our own limited view and knowledge. My personal opinion is that many of the life end battles people (young or old) go through might just be futility in the first place; and why waste the time, effort, energy, and often risk of severe pain, just to end up dead anyway. I personally think your conversation with god is worth more than any drug on the planet when it comes to living vs dieing.
That being said, if I’d truly thrown  in the towel with my depression, I’d have died years ago. The difference is I knew, deep down, that I needed to find the solution and figure out how to live happily. There was a small part of me that knew I wasn’t done, and that tiny voice kept me trying. I think that tiny voice was the smallest shred of my connection to god, and I’m glad I listened.
So how does one threatened with a deadly disease tell the difference? Only that person would know and be able to tell. If someone knows it’s their time, we should not be ones to argue. They simply must listen for their own inner knowing, that small voice of certainty. That is what really matters in life or death battles. That is the difference that’s needed to tell if a battle even needs fought. And if the answer is fight, then fight with all you’ve got, but keep listening to the little voice, it’ll give you the answers to make the fight just a bit easier. If the answer is relax and go with whatever god chooses, then do that. I think our current society is being called to return to listening to our inner voice in all ways, even when well meaning people want to offer “solutions” to what they see as your “problem”. Our inner voice is the only thing that can really tell us those things to reduce pain and suffering.
Of course, this is all my opinion and speculation. I’m certain the medical establishment would argue with me (especially since I work in it), so take my words with a grain of salt. I just hope you find your own knowing and the resulting peace it brings. One day we’ll all treat only what needs treated, and support all the rest with trust in the divine energy that pervades everything.

Don’t Fear the Reaper

Beyond being one of my favorite songs,  it is a sentiment I hold dear and feel the truth in.  

I have chosen to follow a path with my career in massage therapy that few are willing to endeavor into.  I work with the geratric population, and have for over 4 years. 

My husband has pointed out that many people go into caring for elders for the right reasons,  but few are able to stick with it. He also pointed out that often you see there are those working in nursing facilities because it’s a solid job,  not because that is their preferred choice, and those are always the first to take another line of work.
He told me just last night that it is a wonderful thing I do, because even though it is hard,  I continue to do the work because I recognize the need.   He’s not the first to tell me that.  In fact I’ve heard it thousands of times. Friends tell me, residents tell me I’m going to be so blessed because of what I do for them. Yet, I have trouble believeing it.

For me my work is just that:  providing a necessary service to a needy populace, of which I’m very skilled in providing and well  informed in handling aspects of their situation; mainly as a means to pay my bills.  It’s not physically demanding,  not mentally difficult,  and though it can be emotionally and energetically taxing- even draining at times – there are worse things in the world. I’m simply doing what I know I can and should do.  I don’t feel that makes me special. 

Beyond that,  there are days which I’d  rather not.  Be it I woke up already tired,  I am already slogging through my own emotional muck, or I know it’s a full moon and thus likely to be a horrendously difficult day,  I find myself saying: do I really need to go in today. 

Yet, I nearly always do. 

My days off have been few and far between.  I’ve taken 3 one week vacations for family in the 4 years, I took one month off for the birth of my son, and I can count my sick days using just my fingers. And I’m a contractor,  so there’s been no boss to enforce my attendance, no one to threaten the loss of a job for missing too much work. I simply know I need to do my work,  not just for my bills,  but for those that would miss their massages if I was gone. 

But there is something else that keeps me going,  keeps me helping.  I don’t know what to call it for certain.  I’ve had people reference being a Death Doula. I don’t know if I like that label.  I know that whatever it is, my mom had it too.

What am I taking about?  Well I have a sense of when someone is about to pass. My mom did too. She used to talk about how people acted and spoke before they passed away.  She’d said there were times that she swore she’d seen  a ghost visit someone and within days they’d pass.  There were hundreds of stories she’d told me growing up. She spent over 20 years working as an LPN in nursing homes, she had plenty of them. Most of her stories she knew that someone was within a week of passing, and a few stories she would tell,  people  were hours to a couple of days from passing  when she got the knowing. 

For me though,  it’s less reliable.  Maybe because I have less experience yet,  or because I see my residents less often (once a week, instead of daily). Regardless,  I still seem to have the sense. Though sometimes there’s a bit of a delayed reaction.

Often I find myself realizing after the fact that I’ve had what I’ve come to refer to as “the goodbye talk”, and usually anywhere from a few  days to 6 weeks after the talk, the resident passes.  I have numerous examples,  but some  come to mind more readily. Here’s a couple (for HIPPAA reg.s I’ve changed names):

My most memorable was a retired priest I’ll  call Fred. He never did want me to work with him.  Be it pride, or his training,  he just didn’t want a massage.  Every visit was accompanied by “go away” or “leave me alone” or fist shaking.  Once he actually made contact with my shoulder in the closest thing to a punch he could muster.  Most of the time he would eventually give in and let me work.  Finally one day after a good fist shake,  I sat down, and confession style told him essentially that I wasn’t going away.  I said that I  needed to pay my bills and I would give massages to him because it was requested.  Followed with “there’s only 2 ways out of getting my massages, and only one of them would be to move out of the building”. I didn’t finish the rest of the sentence,  because death was simply implied.

  One week later he passed away, the night before I was due to see him again.

Then there was Miss M. I had been seeing her  for 2 years,  unable to stand, unable to speak,  could not feed herself,  could not use a toilet,  every action was  provided to her. When I worked with her I had to rely on facial expressions to tell if I was using too much pressure,  and she could only take the lightest of touch.  I knew she was miserable. I always talked to her  when I worked.  Telling her what I was doing,  telling her about the weather,  small talk.  One day though I interjected  my perspective on her situation.  Telling her: I see you are always in pain,  & I’m hardly helping.  Your family will miss you dearly, but that’s inevitable.  Everyone greives when they loose family,  but it’s impossible to live forever.  If you’re in as much pain as I believe you are,  you should just let go.  You’re suffering will not make their greif any less later…. 

She passed away two weeks later.  

I think I’ve just had another talk like that.  Though I’m not certain.  My buddy Jim, I’ve worked with for a couple of years as well, and I’ve seen him twice a week for over a year now.  We usually talk about a lot of things including politics,  & I’ve done just about every other type of caregiver thing for him that’s possible. I see a lot of my Dad in Jim, and feel close to him like father-daughter. Well this week’s first visit was on a relatively good day when everything was going smoothly. Yet, when I got to him I suddenly felt the urge to go on a tangent politically.  Jim is a Republican but has said he doesn’t like Trump. Anyway,  I asked “Do you have a contingency plan for when everything goes to crap, because I don’t?” He said “What do you mean?”. I replied to the effect that both Trump & Hillary are out for money and that I highly doubted either one of them would do anything to help the American people,  but both would pass laws to help their businesses. I followed with that they would probably screw the financial system,  taxes, and medical system for the average joe because that would make them more money. & I explained that I knew people  thinking about heading to either Canada or South America & I had no idea what I’d do.  … He repeated several times “I’d never thought of it that way.” Then on Friday when I went to see him,  he was very low energy,  could hardly talk,  was saying he felt like he was dieing and couldn’t catch his breath.  Everything was hyper sensitive and he hurt everywhere.  It even appeared that he had blood in his urine when I helped him out of the restroom.  I spoke with the lead nurse and she explained they were aware of everything and doing everything they could,  and she reminded me that they were limited because he had a DNR on file.

Now, I don’t know for certain that he’s on  his way out.  What I do know is I’ve told him: “I’m not afraid of death.  I’m afraid of pain, suffering, lack of finances,  being homeless,  many things,  but not death.” I also know that I care for this person like my own dad,  and hate to see him in pain. I also know that the facility he’s in does have limitations in his care because of government regulations on pain medications and his own DNR.

 And with everything I  know I’d rather he find his way out/home as peacefully as possible, rather than continue to suffer. I hate more than anything to see another human being suffer. So it’s a bitter-sweet knowing that his transition is sooner than later.  

Does it mean I look forward to my job? 

– No.

Does it mean I hate my job? 

– No.

It simply is.  

Whether I’m Special or not.  Whether I’m different or not.  Whether I’m blessed or not (I have yet to see the blessings by the way). 

It just is.

I will continue to get up and go into my buildings multiple days a week,  weeks on end, years even,  until something spectacular changes my world and relieves me of my duties. I will continue to be there for those that need me, and say  goodbye to each of them in their time. It seems it’s just what I  do.

Blessed Be Each and Every One of Them.