After much pondering over the fact that my husband and I are in our ’70s and the fact that I live with two incurable conditions, it would appear that the medical support we might need if stricken with this virus will probably not be available to us. We understand the reality is if we contract COVID-19, that we will be the one’s doctors and nurses will have to make that horrible decision about trying to save our lives. They will have to put us at the bottom of their list of priorities and use medical equipment and man time to save the younger ones. From what we are reading, this decision is weighing on them and certainly not how they expected to be practicing medicine. But we have no alternative other than to face these tragic circumstances along with the rest of those in our age bracket. This is our new reality and it cannot be avoided… our new norm and reality our world is facing.
So to our four sons, daughters-in-law, five grandchildren, family, and friends, please accept our decision. We have chosen to take on this virus at home together. If one of us contracts it, we will stay here in our cozy home and take care of each other the best we are able, knowing the other will contract it too. We will share my Bi-pap SV Advanced that is like a home respirator and use my oxygen tank if needed. We understand this will only help to an extent and there is a good chance we will lose our lives. But we choose to be at home and together. To be sent to a hospital, we would get separated, possibly permanently and be alone in what could prove to be the final hours of our lives.
Some of you that are healthier may never understand these words and decisions, but I am guessing many of you reading at this site, will understand. I am not safe in a hospital. I rarely get food that accommodates my sensitivities and many times I am medicated with something that the DNA testing shows I can’t metabolize. People mean well but even without a crisis like this, I have found it best to stay away from a hospital with a more complicated condition. I even have had my hip dislocated by being transferred onto the bed from the ambulance stretcher. Thus, I can’t rely on medical professionals to treat me appropriately or safely. I am at risk in a hospital setting.
So, why would I want to pick the possible ending of life to be:
- Not able to get the help I need to maintain my life due to my age and medical complications in a hospital. I have no desire to end my life feeling unworthy and irrelevant.
- Not be able to count on the appropriate medication being put into my body
- Not be able, most likely, to eat safe food.
- And most importantly, not be able to be with the man I love and possibly end our years apart, not being able to comfort each other.
We are at peace with our decision. We always talked when first married, that we would love to leave this world together. The thought of one left behind has always felt so overwhelming. I guess this decision puts us back into that mode from the beginning of our marriage, over forty-six years ago. We vote to be together, take care of each other and accept that we are the vulnerable ones who have decided not to subject ourselves to the horror going to a hospital that could not provide adequate care and comfort.
I wish you luck as you, too, ponder these decisions that we need to contemplate. To those who are younger, may you get the help you are being told you are entitled to if you contract this virus. And those older and with compromised health issues, may you find your peace for whatever you decide. It is not a time to judge each other but to respect and support each other any way we can.
May life be kind to you,
Ellen Lenox Smith
Author of: It Hurts Like Hell!: I Live With Pain– And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report.
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