I suppose this is of a little more concern to me because I am not certain my family would quite fit into the norms that some government lackey might use to base his/her decisions upon. You see, my family has a history of longevity. When someone dies in their 70s everyone says, "oh, he was so young!". People regularly live into their 80s or 90s, and over 100 is not unheard of. And, we are talking people living full lives up close to the end in many cases.
One of my great-grandfathers literally dropped dead at the age of 102, while he was still living in his own home. A great-great-aunt also lived to 102. She lived in her own home until she was 98, then moved into an assisted living residence and took care of herself until she was 100, then had to move into full-care because her eyesight failed. One of my great-grandmothers was way up in her 90s and lived in her own home until her death, with her daughters living with her and nearby to offer assistance as needed.
In my family, genealogy is not dead people's names on paper. It is literally living history. We know our family tree, because we have met them. We know the nuts, the branches, the roots, plus the sturdy trunks and branches that make up the orchard of our lives. When I was born there were five living generations in a direct line. When my daughters were born there were six living generations, with five in the direct lines. We currently have four living generations in a direct line, with members of the fifth and sixth generations also living.
My parents are 70 and 72 years of age. They are quite active vital people. They are raising my youngest brother, who is 16 years of age. They are not in any way shape or form in what they would consider to be the end stage of life. But, what would a government "end of life" counselor think? My mother is a breast cancer survivor. She has high blood pressure and diabetes. My father's got some of the usual age related health issues, including some eye problems and is preparing to get hearing aids. But, they are mentally alert, engaged in their community, and living very full lives, albeit at an occasionally slower pace than 20 or 30 years ago.
My husband is 55 and I am 51. We also lead very active lives. My husband just started a new job, which he is enjoying very much! This is in his second career as an educator. He already did his first career with the United States Air Force. I am a homemaker and quilter. We are expecting our fifth grandchild in 2010 and greatly looking forward to watching our grandchildren grow up, get married, and eventually make us into great-grandparents. So, we have no plans on needing "end of life" counseling for quite some time. But, what timetable would an Obamacare counselor decide we fit into?
I had a friend who passed away last year. She had numerous health issues and was in her mid-60s. Among other problems she had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, including, but not limited to: emphysema, asthma, and chronic bronchitis. She was frequently hospitalized with pneumonia. But, she enjoyed her life, and we got together for lunch and shopping when she was able. She had two little dogs that she loved, and they loved her. She had family that she saw frequently and friends all over the world who visited not only via the internet, but made trips to visit her when they could. But, I'm sure she would be one of those at the top of the "end of life" counseling list had she lived to see the nightmare of Obamacare implemented.
End of life counseling is not a part of the solution to the problems in our healthcare system. At least, in my opinion, it should not be a part of it. I think concepts like "end of life counseling" lead us down inhumane roads where we should not want to go. When we start devaluing individual lives based on monetary tables, we devalue all of humanity. We lessen who we are and become something less than humane, which eventually can make us less than human, at least the kind of human being I want to be and think most other Americans want to be as well.
We must say "NO" to Obamacare and we must do all that we can to insure that our government hears and heeds our voice. We need to do it for those among us who are old, because they are vulnerable and the immediate targets of the rationing we all know would be inclusive in any Obamacare plan. But, we also need to do it for the young, because they all deserve to have their lives enriched by the golden elderly who add so much to the tapestry of our communities and families. Don't let threads be pulled too early because there are a few snags. Old people, like old linens should be valued for their beauty, despite the flaws … which add character to all things.
We must say "NO" to Obamacare and we must do all that we can to insure that our government hears and heeds our voice. We need to do it for those among us who are old, because they are vulnerable and the immediate targets of the rationing we all know would be inclusive in any Obamacare plan. But, we also need to do it for the young, because they all deserve to have their lives enriched by the golden elderly who add so much to the tapestry of our communities and families. Don't let threads be pulled too early because there are a few snags. Old people, like old linens, should be valued for their beauty, despite the flaws … which add character to all things.
© Suzann C. Darnall, August 2009