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free download Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (English Edition)

free download Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (English Edition) Katy Butler ¼ 8 free read summary Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (English Edition) ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Knocking on Heavens Door PROLOGUE On an autumn day in while I was visiting from California my mother made a reuest I both dreaded and longed to fulfill Shed just poured me a cup of tea from her Japanese teapot shaped like a little pumpkin beyond the kitchen window two cardinals splashed in her birdbath in the weak Connecticut sunlight Her white hair was gathered at the nape of her neck and her voice was low She put a hand on my arm Please help me get your fathers pacemaker turned off she said I met her eyes and my heart knocked Directly above us in what was once my parents shared bedroom my eighty five year old father Jeffreya retired Wesleyan University professor stroke shattered going blind and suffering from dementialay sleeping Sewn into a hump of skin and muscle below his right collarbone was the pacemaker that had helped his heart outlive his brain As small and shiny as a pocket watch it had kept his heart beating rhythmically for five years It blocked one path to a natural death After tea I knew my mother would help my father up from his narrow bed with its mattress encased in waterproof plastic After taking him to the toilet shed change his diaper and lead him tottering to the living room where hed pretend to read a book of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates until the book fell into his lap and he stared out the sliding glass window I dont like describing what the thousand shocks of late old age were doing to my fatherand indirectly to my motherwithout telling you first that my parents loved each other and I loved them That my mother could stain a deck sew a silk blouse from a photo in Vogue and make co au vin with her own chicken stock That her photographs of Wesleyan authors had been published on book jackets and her paintings of South African fish in an ichthyologists handbook That she thought of my father as her best friend And that my father never gave up easily on anything Born in South Africas Great Karoo Desert he was a twenty one year old soldier in the South African Army when he lost his left arm to a German shell in the Italian hills outside Siena He went on to marry my mother earn a PhD from Oxford coach rugby build floor to ceiling bookcases for our living room and with my two younger brothers as crew sail his beloved Rhodes on Long Island Sound When I was a teenager and often at odds with him he would sometimes wake me chortling lines from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in a high falsetto Awake my little one Before lifes liuor in its cup be dry On weekend afternoons he would put a record on the stereo and strut around the living room conducting invisible orchestras At night he would stand in our bedroom doorways and say good night to my two brothers and me uoting Horatios farewell to the dying Hamlet May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest Four decades later in the house where he once chortled and strutted and sometimes thundered I had to coach him to take off his slippers before he tried to put on his shoes My mother put down her teacup She was eighty three as lucid and bright as a sword point andelegant in her black jeans and thin cashmere sweater than I could ever hope to be She put her hand hard on my arm He is killing me she said He Is Ruining My Life Then she crossed her ankles and put her head between her knees a remedy for near fainting that shed clipped from a newspaper column and pinned to the bulletin board behind her She was taking care of my father for about a hundred hours a week I looked at her and thought of Anton Chekhov the writer and physician who died of tuberculosis in when he was only forty four Whenever th.

download æ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ¼ Katy ButlerKnocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (English Edition)

free download Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (English Edition) Katy Butler ¼ 8 free read summary Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (English Edition) ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF I felt like my fathers executioner and that I had no choice I met my mothers eyes and said yes I did not know the road we would travel only that Id made a vow In the six months that followed I would learn much about the implications of that vow about the workings of pacemakers and of human hearts about law and medicine and guilt about money and morality I would take on roles I never imagined could be played by a loving daughter I would watch my father die laboriously with his pacemaker still ticking After his death I would not rest until I understood better why the most advanced medical care on earth which saved my fathers life at least once when he was a young man succeeded at the end mainly in prolonging his suffering Researching a magazine article and then this book I would discover something about the perverse economic incentives within medicineand the ignorance fear and hope within our own familythat promoted maximum treatment I would contemplate the unintended conseuences of medical technologys frighteningly successful war on natural death and its banishment of the Good Death our ancestors so prized Armed with that bitter wisdom I would support my mother when she reclaimed her moral authority defied her doctors refused a potentially life extending surgery and faced her own death the old fashioned way head on My mother and I often felt like outliers but I know now that we were not alone Thanks to a panoply of relatively recent medical advances ranging from antibiotics and vaccines to dialysis systems and airport defibrillators elderly people now survive repeated health crises that once killed them The oldest old are the nations most rapidly growing age group But death is wily Barred from bursting in like an armed man it wages a war of attrition Eyesight dims joints stiffen heartbeats slow veins clog lungs and bowels give out muscles wither kidneys weaken brains shrink Half of Americans eighty five or over need help with at least one practical life sustaining activity such as getting dressed or eating breakfast Nearly a third have some form of dementia anddevelop it with each year of added longevity The burden of helping them falls heavily on elderly wives and middle aged daughters with the remainder provided by sons and husbands hired caregivers assisted living complexes and nursing homes Every day across the country family caregivers find themselves pondering a medical procedure that may save the lifeor prevent the dyingof someone beloved and grown frail When is it time to say No to a doctor To say Enough The uestions surface uneasily in medical journals and chat rooms in waiting rooms and in conversations between friends However comfortingly the uestions are phrased there is no denying that the answers given or avoided will shape when and how someone we love meets death This is a burden not often carried by earlier generations of spouses sons and daughters We are in a labyrinth without a map Before I shepherded my parents through to their deaths I thought that medical overtreatment was mainly an economic problem a uarter of Medicares roughly billion in annual outlays covers medical care in the last year of life After my fathers death I understood the human costs After my mothers death I saw that there could be another path In our familys case the first crucial fork in the road appeared six and a half years before my father died in the fall of It began with a family crisis an invitation to a distant daughter to open her heart and a seemingly minor medical decision the proposed installation of a pacemaker in the aftermath of a catastrophic stroke.

Katy Butler ¼ 8 free read

free download Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (English Edition) Katy Butler ¼ 8 free read summary Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (English Edition) ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ere is someone in a family who has long been ill and hopelessly ill he wrote there come painful moments when all timidly secretly at the bottom of their hearts long for his death A century afterward my mother and I had come to long for the machine in my fathers heart to fail How we got there is a long story but here are a few of the bones On November when my father was seventy nine and apparently vigorous he suffered a devastating stroke A year latergravely disabled yet clear minded enough to know ithe was outfitted with a pacemaker in a moment of hurry and hope The device kept his heart going while doing nothing to prevent his slide into dementia incontinence near muteness misery and helplessness The burden of his care crushed my mother In January when my father no longer understood the purpose of a dinner napkin I learned that his pacemaker could be turned off painlessly and without surgery thus opening a door to a relatively peaceful death It was a death I both feared and desired as I sat at the kitchen table while my mother raised her head from her knees Her words thrummed inside me Please help me get your fathers pacemaker turned off Id been hoping for months to hear her say something like this but now that shed spoken I was the one with doubts This was a moral choice for which neither the Anglicanism of my English childhood nor my adopted Buddhism had prepared me I shook when I imagined watching someone disable his pacemakerand shook evenwhen I contemplated trying to explain it to him At the same time I feared that if I did nothing his doctors would continue to prolong what was left of my fathers life until my mother went down with him My fear was not unfounded in the s while working as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle I spent six weeks in the intensive care unit of San Francisco General Hospital watching the erasure of the once bright line between saving a life and prolonging a dying Id never forgotten what I saw If my father got pneumonia once called the old mans friend for its promise of an easy death a doctor might well feel duty bound to prescribe antibiotics If he collapsed and my mother called paramedics would do everything they could to revive him as they rushed his gurney toward the emergency room With just a littlebad luck my father might be wheeled into an intensive care unit where my mother and Iand even my dying fatherwould become bystanders in a battle fought over the territory of his body between the ancient reality of death and the technological imperatives of modern medicine It was not how we wanted him to die but our wishes might not mean much Three uarters of Americans want to die at home as their ancestors did but only a uarter of the elderly currently do Two fifths of deaths now take place in a hospital an institution where only the destitute and the homeless died before the dawn of the twentieth century Most of us say we dont want to die plugged into machines but a fifth of American deaths now take place in intensive care where ten days of futile flailing can cost as much as If my mother and I did not veer from the pathway my father was traveling he might well draw his last breath in a room stripped of any reminder of home or of the sacred among doctors and nurses who knew his blood counts and oxygen levels but barely knew his name Then again the hospital might save his life and return him home to suffer yet another final illness And that I feared almost as much I loved my father even as he was miserable damaged and nearly incommunicado I loved my mother and wanted her to have at least a chance at a happy widowhood.

  • Format Kindle
  • 337
  • Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (English Edition)
  • Katy Butler
  • Anglais
  • 15 March 2020
  • null