Thinking about exits   1 comment

Yesterday a volunteer visited to help me update my Advance Directive for Health Care. I had done one about five years ago, but what seemed remote and theoretical then seems very much more real and possibly imminent now, especially when I have trouble breathing.

I have been asking myself and a little bit others too about how we make our exits as, for sure, we all will. It’s such a big thing, letting go of everything. But it’s just on the other side of not being able to take another breath.

I discussed matters with the volunteer but didn’t complete the form. I couldn’t decide, for example, if I was or was not in favor of my doctor’s using intubation to help me breathe. At what point? For how long? There are degrees of discomfort that cause the image of a button, as in on-off button, to come to mind: Ringing pain or discomfort filling my head so much I just want to say STOP. But it’s happened again and again this past year that, as I haven’t had such a button, the moment of anguish would pass and a few hours later something womderful would happen that would make me glad I hadn’t had the opportunity to make a quick exit. It scares me to think of how many more agonizing moments may lie ahead for me. I’m trying, hard, to develop resources for those moments — Buddhist practice seems made for this! The balance keeps shifting: Sometimes life seems so wondrous that I feel I can take the big waves…. But sometimes the waves seem so overwhelming and I feel so small….

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One response to “Thinking about exits

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  1. Hello!

    Your note popped up via the ever-quirky “Tag Surfer” function here at WordPress. Nice to meet you. Your note reminded me just how resilient people can be, which in turn reminded me of the last days of a friend who, despite being in a situation that we all imagined was beyond our own endurance, would write notes (he couldn’t speak at that point) telling us how great it was to be alive. Even the simplest things — the moon at night — were so valuable to him.

    Also I thought you might find this talk, by a Theravadin monk useful, or at least interesting:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/painhelp.html

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