Just like everyone else I hear daily that the medical profession are either making breakthroughs, or need more money to work on a cure for some illness or other, but unlike many, I know I have a somewhat different reaction to all theses pieces of news. I all to often can’t help wondering if we are interfering just that step to far, with both nature and although I’m not really religious, the only way I can put it is to say with gods plan. There are so many illnesses out there that seem to only affect the elderly and I do totally agree that being old isn’t a reason to ignore someone, but I am left questioning how long do we payout to extend a full life, when that same money could be used to not just improve, but to give a life to a child.
A few months ago I was offered a drug that no one really knew if it would help me, I was also told it was very expensive and an application would need to be made to N.I.C.E. for them to decided if I could have the treatment, I said no. I couldn’t control where that section of the NHS budget would go because I wasn’t using it, but I found the idea of something like that even being offered to anyone, just pure madness. Yes if it had been a case of the company who made it wanting people to try it on, free to the NHS then I might have felt different, but that wasn’t the case at all. As I have written in the past I personally have tested every medication that I have been prescribed, if the reality was I couldn’t feel the difference, I have stopped taking it. It isn’t just a case of not having more medication in my system than I need it is also a reality that my not taking it, it is also saving money down the line other can benefit from. I honestly believe that this is the first questions we should all be asking ourselves, do we really benefit or would someone else benefit more? It is a fact that almost every house in this country had medication sitting in a cupboard that where not taken, even when prescribed, if you don’t want to take them, well tell the doctor and don’t take the prescription to the chemist. Think about it before you go next time.
I can no longer remember what the conversation was triggered by, but I remember in my late teens making it totally clear to my family that should the occasion occur, I would never accept a transplant operation of any organ ever, a decision I have never changed to this day, equally I don’t carry a donor card. Before anyone says all that would change if it happened, well I was a hairs width away from needed in liver transplant years ago and I did refuse being added to the list. I am not squeamish or anything and I have no problem with the idea of a transplant, for me thought I just think it is fundamentally the wrong thing to do. I was given one set of organs, each there to do their job, for as long as they were created for and it is up to me to keep them working, if I fail, they fail. I am aware that illness may be the root of them failing but that is the game of life, sometimes it works, others it doesn’t. Simply because of the constant coverage on TV clearly there are far to many people out there who haven’t taken the time to think, really think about it personally means to them. Once thought through, it should them be discussed with every member of your family, as you never know who will be there to speak for you should it be needed. Then finally if it is your choice, get a donor card and carry it with you always. So far my wishes can’t be registered but I have just this morning sent an message asking why you can’t register that you don’t want to donate, the reply should be interesting.
In all illnesses there always seem to be more and more ways of experimenting on how much more the doctors can do, every tiny bit of research costs and all to often it is the drugs companies who grow richer. I can’t help wondering why they don’t spend more themselves rather than letting charities pick up the bill. I am equally sure that there are if we were asked, far more people with chronic conditions that would be happy to be used to test what works and what doesn’t. I offered once and the doctor smiled and said “it doesn’t work that way”, why not? I don’t ever expect any medication or procedure to appear that would cure or even improve my health, but I would be a tester happily for those who follow me. I strongly believe that all research though should be centred on preventing or curing them when first diagnosed, rather than improving them once they are established. Yet it still seems to be what it is all focused on. I have no idea how any of us could influence change as that is far harder than talking to our loved ones.
I suppose the final section will be a little obvious to some, but I can’t help wondering what is the point of being kept alive well past a respectable life time, simply because the doctors can do it. When some one has lived a full life and their bodies are tired and are ready to go, should we not let them go in peace, rather than pushing them to live a day, a week or even a month more. I actually can’t help feeling that we have forgotten how to respect life, where is the respect in someone lying in a hospital bed, with no real hope of any future? I have struggled often with the thought that people in their 80’s & 90’s are kept alive by their families in ability to let them go. Yes we all love our families, but I can’t find love in constantly restarting a heart that is clearly to tired to keep going. It may be the biggest decision we have to take, but I honestly feel we all should discus it fully with our families and if it is your conclusion to consider signing a DNR.
I know these are all questions that are incredibly personal, but I also think these are questions that far to many avoid even thinking about, which to me is as bad as not respecting the wishes of others. It is actually a great feeling knowing that I have made my decisions and that I know those around me know them to. I can’t change many of the things I have written here, but the little that I can do I do, if more of us did maybe the world would have to sit up and listen to the people who live through all of this.