AN HONEST DEATH: A palliative care physician’s final days

An honest death…NOT an ideal death. Watching people die is not the same as going through the process yourself. This Buddhist priest/doctor was diagnosed with end-stage cancer and he wanted continuous filming of his dying and death, including his funeral. His wife was also a doctor and even though he did not want to be resuscitated, she tried to bring him back to life when it was too late.

When I was in hospice, I really wanted to die and have my bodily existence over and done with. Preparations for a memorial service here in Salem, OR and Sista Resa, final rest for my cremains in Sweden, had been secured. In order to “spend down” my resources so as to qualify for Medicaid coverage of my stay in hospice, I made large contributions to religious organizations that had greatly influenced my life. I gave all my possessions away, except for a few items of clothing and my Ipad. The hospice had wii-fi and I decided to change my Facebook page into a legacy page, where I would share with my readers my final days of life.

After my Medicare coverage for hospice ran out and I was still alive, I had to find another place to live. I walked quietly in the hall way when I left the hospice house for my new digs. I was almost sneaking out of the place. (It reminded me of being let go from employment where everyone in the office knew I had been fired, but kept their eyes in their work as I was cleaning out my desk.)

An honest death is something I expected would happen living in hospice. I was obsessed with being Grandpa Carl’s last survivor in the US and bringing him back to Skåne by my final rest there. That was to be the “frosting on the cake” of my life, so to speak. Everything was set up and ready to go–except for me. My dying has been placed on hold, but for how long? So I will continue the business of living until God calls me home.

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