We all should be allowed dignity in death. The story below truly touched my heart… it begins……
Joseph Andrey was 5 years old in 1927 when his impoverished mother sold him to the manager of a popular vaudeville act. He was 91 last year when he told the story again, propped in a wheelchair in the rehabilitation unit of a nursing home where it seemed as though age and infirmity had put a different kind of price on his head.
Craning his neck, he sought the eyes of his daughter, Maureen Stefanides, who had promised to get him out of this place. “I want to go home, to my books and my music,” he said, his voice whispery but intense.
I know someone who recently died at home, surrounded by loved ones, peacefully, beautifully. The story continues….
He was still her handsome father, the song-and-dance man of her childhood, with a full head of wavy hair and blue eyes that lit up when he talked. But he was gaunt now, warped like a weathered plank, perhaps by late effects of an old stroke, certainly by muscle atrophy and bad circulation in his legs.
Now she was determined to fulfill her father’s dearest wish, the wish so common among frail, elderly people: to die at home.
But it seemed as if all the forces of the health care system were against her — hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, insurance companies, and the shifting crosscurrents of public health care spending.
Why is death today so controlled by rules and regulations instead of the person who is dying and their loved ones? Where is the compassion? The respect? Wake up! Changes have to be made to this broken system.
You can read the rest of the story here. I warn you, though… it will enrage you – and if it doesn’t… why?