Dying Is Never Easy

“Dying is never easy…”
Jean Paul Sartre, “The Words”, 1964.

So, is he right or is he wrong. Is dying easy or hard? Does the dying person know he is dying, or does he just think he’s sick or hurt? Is it better to keep the dying sedated so they don’t know what is going on, or to let them be awake?


Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1964. The Words (Originally, Le Mots). Paris: George Brazillet, Inc.

My Father Is Very Ill

He is 86 yrs old. He fell, got an infection of his leg, was hospitalized, released early and not healed, got way worse, had to be readmitted, then on second admission got pneumonia. He was released early once again with a “touch of pneumonia”, went home, was ok for a bit, then took a dramatic turn for the worse and he had to be readmitted again.
He’s currently in the ICU and is being intubated, otherwise he’s going to stop breathing. Underneath, he’s actually quite healthy for his age, but pneumonia in the elderly is never good. I’ve been up here at the house lately because he can’t be left alone and my Mom is working full-time still. Two nights ago, he could not stand up and my brother and I had to lift him into bed.
Yesterday morning, the nurse came, he was turning blue and he had 50% oxygen capacity. She called 911. In the ICU, they got his oxygen back up to 92% and he had good color in his extremities. I spent a good part of the day yesterday at the hospital.
According the pneumonia risk indicator, he seems to have decent prognosis because he lacks underlying problems. One problem is that hospital-acquired pneumonia is worse than other kinds for some reason.
Three weeks ago, he was in pretty good shape. He was home alone most days, happy, watching TV happily and often excitedly, reading voraciously (A book a day!), going places in the car as a passenger, and walking around, sometimes with a cane. He took that fall and he’s just plunged downhill after that. Strange.
We are all hoping that he pulls through, but they call pneumonia the old man’s friend.

Getting the Shit Out of the Water

That was the answer.
What was the question?
“What was the greatest public health achievement of the modern era?”
The questioner was a journalist on PBS, and the respondent was a physician and a professor of public health.
We didn’t start getting some kind of sewage treatment here in the US until about the mid 19th Century. Before that, I guess you took your chances. Considering that the Romans had basic sewage treatment 2000 years ago, it’s amazing that it took us this long to reinvent the wheel. The Vandals didn’t just deliver the final blows to an empire; they committed a crime against humanity itself. British nationalists who despise the Romans bore me. Go back to your “houseforts” and your insane and incessant warring.
I’ve been dabbling in European history around the 1600’s-1700’s. There were periodic and horrific epidemics that would sweep Europe, sparing scarcely a soul. They hit from Poland to Sardinia at least. A particular region would be cleaned out, Final Solutioned. Pretty much everyone would be dead. Brand new folks would show up to colonize the exterminated towns. It looks like a number of these epidemics were due to poor sanitation.
I guess shitty tasting water is something you can get used to. In Vietnam, the US military went into some village and put a sewage treatment system in. I don’t know what the water tasted like before, but after treatment, no one would drink the purified water. It didn’t have the same old taste they were used to.


Fascinating stuff.
I don’t know about you, but that bug is really creeping me out. How do you get it? Contact with other humans? So what are we supposed to do, become hermits?
By the way, I don’t have germ OCD. I do wash my hands a lot though, but not like an OCD nut. Maybe we all should.
Anti-Semites are kindly encouraged to find the obvious Jew-link to this nasty disease. C’mon guys, there must be one somewhere. Get crackin’, Judeophobic Sherlocks!


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