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TheBlueCat

Taken away in an ambulance

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My cycle route to work goes past a lot of apartment blocks and other housing. Over the years I’ve seen the depressing site of an ambulance (usually with a fire engine indicating it was an emergency call) picking up some old person on a gurney. Some were probably dead but most were not (but soon would be). After seeing another one this morning it occurred to me that this is probably the path to death that the largest proportion of people take. I can count half a dozen from my own family for example. The problem is that it’s so fucking miserable.

So, how best to bypass the few horrific days in hospital prior to death that usually follows the early morning ambulance pick up? Even better now to avoid the pick up entirely?

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Serious question: what is your preferred outcome, except the luckiest one of just dying in your sleep suddenly with no idea it's coming, which most people won't have?

I think my biggest fear, based on what I've seen with two relatives over the last decade, is letting modern medicine 'fight' cancer with you. It seems, quite frankly, sadistic based on what I saw and heard. I can't help but wonder if a better solution for old folk with cancer is all the morphine you can handle, and then a doc to put you to sleep like you would a dog when it all gets too much.

A relative passed earlier in the year and whilst there was lots of sad circumstances surrounding the later years of their life, the end was as good as you could wish for...they got taken into hospital one night, the doctor must have told them in as many words they were dying but it didn't register 100% I think. The family was contacted, everyone went over, and when she asked her family "am I dying?" they were able to keep it together, tell her "no you're just here for some rest"...she got a wee bite to eat and drink, and then eventually just fell asleep and the following morning she was gone.

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9 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

Serious question: what is your preferred outcome, except the luckiest one of just dying in your sleep suddenly with no idea it's coming, which most people won't have?

I think my biggest fear, based on what I've seen with two relatives over the last decade, is letting modern medicine 'fight' cancer with you. It seems, quite frankly, sadistic based on what I saw and heard. I can't help but wonder if a better solution for old folk with cancer is all the morphine you can handle, and then a doc to put you to sleep like you would a dog when it all gets too much.

A relative passed earlier in the year and whilst there was lots of sad circumstances surrounding the later years of their life, the end was as good as you could wish for...they got taken into hospital one night, the doctor must have told them in as many words they were dying but it didn't register 100% I think. The family was contacted, everyone went over, and when she asked her family "am I dying?" they were able to keep it together, tell her "no you're just here for some rest"...she got a wee bite to eat and drink, and then eventually just fell asleep and the following morning she was gone.

My preferred route would be a comfortable, quick death at home with lots of drugs and some family and friends around. I’d actually rather not go unexpectedly in my sleep as there are people I’d like chance to say goodbye to. I think the root cause of the issue I see is that paramedics aren’t qualified (or equipped) to diagnose imminent death by old age so their only option is to send you to A&E.

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22 minutes ago, TheBlueCat said:

How best to bypass the few horrific days in hospital prior to death that usually follows the early morning ambulance pick up? 

My elderly neighbours are terrified of going into hospital.

They fear being assessed at a general hospital, then instead of coming home, being taken to be 'looked after' at a smaller hospital, where so often their friends and relatives deteriorate from respite care to palliative care, then death.

" Don't let them take me there, I'll never come out. Can I ring you ? " 

Euthanasia is real.

 

Edited by Bedrag Justesen

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3 minutes ago, TheBlueCat said:

My preferred route would be a comfortable, quick death at home with lots of drugs and some family and friends around. I’d actually rather not go unexpectedly in my sleep as there are people I’d like chance to say goodbye to. I think the root cause of the issue I see is that paramedics aren’t qualified (or equipped) to diagnose imminent death by old age so their only option is to send you to A&E.

Yeah I understand where you're coming from.

I'm surprised there isn't a black market euthanisasia drug out there. Although it's probably because it's not very profitable as you don't get many repeat customers ;)

Edited by JoeDavola

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4 minutes ago, TheBlueCat said:

 I think the root cause of the issue I see is that paramedics aren’t qualified (or equipped) to diagnose imminent death by old age so their only option is to send you to A&E.

There's not really  such a thing as dying of old age.   Old age just makes it more likely one of any number of possible illnesses will affect you.

 

4 minutes ago, Bedrag Justesen said:

My elderly neighbours are terrified of going into hospital.

They fear being assessed at a general hospital, then instead of coming home, being taken to be 'looked after' at a smaller hospital, where so often their friends and relatives deteriorate from respite care to paliative care, then death.

Yep..   I buy into this as well.

I'm pretty sure in palliative care it isn't the illness that kills you,  it's the drugs and pain killers..  I suspect you probably end up choking to death on your own tongue in a drug induced coma.

The only person I've known personally taken into palliative care was convinced they were killing her. 

Edited by Libspero

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2 minutes ago, Libspero said:

There's not really  such a thing as dying of old age.   Old age just makes it more likely one of any number of possible illnesses will affect you.

 

Yep..   I buy into this as well.

I'm pretty sure in palliative care it isn't the illness that kills you,  it's the drugs and pain killers..  I suspect you probably end up choking to death on your own tongue in a drug induced coma.

Fuck that sounds bad, I would much prefer to be euthanised at the early stages of the final decline

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26 minutes ago, Libspero said:

There's not really  such a thing as dying of old age.   Old age just makes it more likely one of any number of possible illnesses will affect you.

 

Yep..   I buy into this as well.

I'm pretty sure in palliative care it isn't the illness that kills you,  it's the drugs and pain killers..  I suspect you probably end up choking to death on your own tongue in a drug induced coma.

The only person I've known personally taken into palliative care was convinced they were killing her. 

You know what I mean on the old age thing - the same applies to anyone with multiple issues most likely leading to death it’s just a bit more clear cut once you’re into your 70s. Palliative care in an institutional setting is definitely to be avoided although I guess it’s probably better than dying in agony without access to proper painkillers.

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50 minutes ago, TheBlueCat said:

My cycle route to work goes past a lot of apartment blocks and other housing. Over the years I’ve seen the depressing site of an ambulance (usually with a fire engine indicating it was an emergency call) picking up some old person on a gurney. Some were probably dead but most were not (but soon would be). After seeing another one this morning it occurred to me that this is probably the path to death that the largest proportion of people take. I can count half a dozen from my own family for example. The problem is that it’s so fucking miserable.

So, how best to bypass the few horrific days in hospital prior to death that usually follows the early morning ambulance pick up? Even better now to avoid the pick up entirely?

Say goodbye to your younger sons, shut your eyes as the ambulance doors close and pray you'll never wake up.  Worked for my Mum, bless her.

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5 minutes ago, Libspero said:

Yep..   I buy into this as well.

I'm pretty sure in palliative care it isn't the illness that kills you,  it's the drugs and pain killers..  I suspect you probably end up choking to death on your own tongue in a drug induced coma.

I'm slightly concerned about posting to this thread as I realise it will upset anybody whose friends or relatives are going through this, or have done so.

I've seen so many elderly taken into A&E, stay a large hospital for various durations, then come home.

Others have gone into A&E, after a day or two, be taken into hospice or 'community' type care, and never come home.

It's almost impossible to get them out, once they are in. It's as though their card is marked. I visited one neighbour, and was shocked when the nurse doing some kind of questionaire, told me, you need to get her out of here before it's too late. She told me how hard it was to take her own Mother home.

I couldn't get her out, but visited her every couple of days.

At first, she was great, eating, drinking, then she was always asleep at visiting times. They were giving her morphine, not feeding her, and not giving her drinks.

One visit, she drifted in and out of conciousness, not able to speak, but knew we were there, she was so frustrated, she just couldn't wake herself.

Nobody to ask, no Doctor to talk to, just nurses milling about, that told you to come back when the Doctor was there. The Doctor never was there.

 

First time it happens you don't truly know whether you are imagining the whole thing.

Then you find out it's real. The Liverpool Path, reduce hydration, reduce food, increase opiates, until death.

All delivered free thanks to our wonderful NHS. 

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33 minutes ago, Libspero said:

There's not really  such a thing as dying of old age.   Old age just makes it more likely one of any number of possible illnesses will affect you.

 

Yep..   I buy into this as well.

I'm pretty sure in palliative care it isn't the illness that kills you,  it's the drugs and pain killers..  I suspect you probably end up choking to death on your own tongue in a drug induced coma.

The only person I've known personally taken into palliative care was convinced they were killing her. 

the heart does wear out or gets diseased, after that other organs are affected and a side effect is usually the cause of death

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1 hour ago, JoeDavola said:

Serious question: what is your preferred outcome, except the luckiest one of just dying in your sleep suddenly with no idea it's coming, which most people won't have?

I think my biggest fear, based on what I've seen with two relatives over the last decade, is letting modern medicine 'fight' cancer with you. It seems, quite frankly, sadistic based on what I saw and heard. I can't help but wonder if a better solution for old folk with cancer is all the morphine you can handle, and then a doc to put you to sleep like you would a dog when it all gets too much.

A relative passed earlier in the year and whilst there was lots of sad circumstances surrounding the later years of their life, the end was as good as you could wish for...they got taken into hospital one night, the doctor must have told them in as many words they were dying but it didn't register 100% I think. The family was contacted, everyone went over, and when she asked her family "am I dying?" they were able to keep it together, tell her "no you're just here for some rest"...she got a wee bite to eat and drink, and then eventually just fell asleep and the following morning she was gone.

If relative if  75+ and has something seriously wrong then go for palliative.

Its really not worth the pain and hassle, on all sides.

 

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Keeling over in an instance or in your sleep is considered a 'quality death' - i.e. no suffering or awareness.  A bit shit for those left behind. And probably the die-ee if (as above) they want to say things.

Had an aunt with cancer who didn't want the big knockout drugs as she probably wanted to keep smoking.  It was possibly the pain that kept her alive.  Eventually she got some big-boy dugs and she died pretty soon after.

(an anecdotal about smoking - if you have two patients with the same issue and one smokes it sometimes helps getting them better as they want to go outside for a fag!).

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21 minutes ago, NewryH said:

Keeling over in an instance or in your sleep is considered a 'quality death' - i.e. no suffering or awareness.  A bit shit for those left behind. And probably the die-ee if (as above) they want to say things.

Had an aunt with cancer who didn't want the big knockout drugs as she probably wanted to keep smoking.  It was possibly the pain that kept her alive.  Eventually she got some big-boy dugs and she died pretty soon after.

(an anecdotal about smoking - if you have two patients with the same issue and one smokes it sometimes helps getting them better as they want to go outside for a fag!).

On the going outside point, I also sometimes walk past a large rehab hospital and it’s noticeable that the people making the most effort to get about are the smokers and drinkers. I don’t smoke but I can absolutely imagine dragging myself to the nearest bar or pub for a swift half under those circumstances.

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My Dad had bowel cancer. Was treated but it had spread to his liver. The Chemo made him feel so bad that he stopped it. He looked and felt much better for the last 4 months of his life. He always hated hospitals, and wanted to die at home. In his last week he had to go and get a catheter fitted. The doctor on the ward could not do it, so they sent him to A&E. It was pathetic. I held it together whilst he got it done, and then said to the doctor, right, we are leaving now. No way was I going to let him be admitted. I put him in a wheelchair and managed to get him home. We watched an episode of mighty ships together, and then he went to bed. That was Tuesday night, and he died the following Saturday. Hardest but best thing I have ever done.

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Just now, Popuplights said:

My Dad had bowel cancer. Was treated but it had spread to his liver. The Chemo made him feel so bad that he stopped it. He looked and felt much better for the last 4 months of his life. He always hated hospitals, and wanted to die at home. In his last week he had to go and get a catheter fitted. The doctor on the ward could not do it, so they sent him to A&E. It was pathetic. I held it together whilst he got it done, and then said to the doctor, right, we are leaving now. No way was I going to let him be admitted. I put him in a wheelchair and managed to get him home. We watched an episode of mighty ships together, and then he went to bed. That was Tuesday night, and he died the following Saturday. Hardest but best thing I have ever done.

I hope one of both of my sons is a strong as you when my time comes.

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In this age of medical intervention the majority of deaths these days come from  complications related to dementia/ frailty. Both of which are entirely avoidable imo until much later, say 95 +. 

Trouble is the human is naturally lazy, talks themselves into going slowly. It's a rapid decent from slowing down to frailty, confusion and end game dementia. Seen it dozens of times.

Btw the medical profession is finally cottoning onto the obvious that exercise and strength can delay the onset.

Edited by crashmonitor

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19 minutes ago, crashmonitor said:

In this age of medical intervention the majority of deaths these days come from  complications related to dementia/ frailty. Both of which are entirely avoidable imo until much later, say 95 +. 

Trouble is the human is naturally lazy, talks themselves into going slowly. It's a rapid decent from slowing down to frailty, confusion and end game dementia. Seen it dozens of times.

Btw the medical profession is finally cottoning onto the obvious that exercise and strength can delay the onset.


I think the NHS care homes need some big improvements, my own father was put into care with Parkinsons, where they f**ked up his meds 3 times despite very accurate instruction, they treated him like a dementia patient whilst he was actually sharp as a button, he told us the night shift staff were throwing him between chair and bed, they tied his alarm cord so that he couldn't reach it (for an easy nigh shift I imagine), they allowed a minor leg injury to turn septic and they gave him food poisoning.
He went down hill fast, got taken to hospital and died from septicaemia complicated by food poisoning.

Fucking EE nurses and care staff in that home didn't give a shit and they had 50+ patients in there, most with dementia.

So whilst your probably right, I would say that poor standards of care are probably the biggest of those "complications".

Edited by Snark

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45 minutes ago, crashmonitor said:

In this age of medical intervention the majority of deaths these days come from  complications related to dementia/ frailty. Both of which are entirely avoidable imo until much later, say 95 +. 

Trouble is the human is naturally lazy, talks themselves into going slowly. It's a rapid decent from slowing down to frailty, confusion and end game dementia. Seen it dozens of times.

Btw the medical profession is finally cottoning onto the obvious that exercise and strength can delay the onset.

Not sure dementia can be delayed until 95+ (if that's what you're saying).  My Dad was 82 when he died of dementia (or that was the cause of what actually killed him).  He went downhill physically very quickly over a few months.  I think dementia can make you not want to eat or drink (whether on purpose or subconciously).

He was very active and fit for his age.  Climbed Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh just about a year before even though his mind wasn't great.

 

PS - feel free to disagree - I won't take it personally it because it was my Dad.  Any help welcome as it's hereditary!

Edited by NewryH

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