Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My Own Endgame

Today marks two months since Tatay passed. Yes, time flies fast. And I’ve given up on my ugly cry. Today also makes me think of the time when my endgame happens. 

Preparing my living will

I haven’t prepared this yet. I should. And as I acquire assets, I should manage how each will be ‘disposed of’ when I die. 

How do I want to go

As if I can control this. But I believe in wishful thinking. I fear pain more than death. Perhaps that is the only thing I want to avoid when I go - pain. I feel that was also how my dad was thinking. Maybe. Can I just go peacefully in my sleep? Heart attacks will cause this massive pain, I feel. Maybe even strokes. Ugh, cancer will be one protracted descent into pain-hell. Would a gunshot wound, direct to the brain, be less painful (if instantaneous)?

Tatay went in his sleep. And that was what I had been wishing for him. But days leading up to it, he was going through breathing attacks, wretched gasping for air. That must have been so painful, some kind of drowning. As he would go through an attack, our worst fear was that his heart would just fail in the middle, and he would die painfully. The Lord was merciful enough to him. He slept and never woke up.

Now a part of me understands why some people would want to control this, through willful dying. I will not go through the thorny ethical arguments. I just understand why.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order

Hosptial bills, wake and funeral bills. That would just zap all the money I have saved up for. And when I am gone, only the hospitals and the funeral would be wealthier.  I need to have a plan. I need to give directions.

I will put some of my cash into a medical fund. Loved ones can only spend what is there. They will not liquidate any other asset just to continue reviving me. Sounds good but I have no idea how this can actually be executed. Oh the burden this will probably place on the my loved ones as they ‘monitor’ the expenses and make a call for a ‘hard stop’. It’s like watching a taxi meter when you are almost out of cash. “I’ll get off HERE” just as it reaches the limit. 

My siblings and I had an emotional discussion (over FB messenger chat) on this DNR order for Tatay. I wouldn’t want that for my time. So what do I want them to do when my heart stops beating and/or my breathing stops? 

The routine: Pumping the chest. IV shots of epinephrine. Intubation to bring air in. And that awful electric shock. It looks so violent and desperate. Do I want this done on me? Maybe only up to a certain point - 3 minutes. 

Artificial Life Support

Then there is this question. What if I end up in a vegetative state? How long should I be maintained on it? Or should I even be? 

I can be placed on artificial life support but only up to 3 days. (Is “3” the magic number?”). Beyond that, pull the plug. Just recently, I read an article about how AI (artificial intelligence) predicted (at 90% accuracy?) those patients who will pull out of a coma. Maybe if that becomes the practice, that would help determine how long I should be maintained.

Burial or Cremation

I’ve long decided that I want to be cremated. I have bought a niche at the nearby columbary (at the back of the Parish church) where my ashes will remain.  Some people still frown upon cremation. Tatay was totally against it. Perhaps they argue that the resurrected body has to be ‘whole’. Of course I find that baloney. 

Wake and Viewing

I don’t mind lying in a casket first for viewing and paying respects. But the practical me kicks in. If I will be cremated anyway, why spend for the casket? So perhaps this should become more of a visiting and paying respects to my ashes and my picture. 

Funny how articulating all of this makes it sound so technical and matter-of-factly. Well, maybe at this point, it is. And it should be. So when my endgame comes, and all the emotions start pouring in, the people I leave behind would have basis for decision-making.

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