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The end process: decide those issues affecting your life at all stages of life


The end process is not the body wearing down so much as gradually shutting down. It’s a process that doctors are trained to resist and “fight,” leading the patient into “battle” with disease. However the analogy falls apart as that battle with death can’t be won; Philip Roth once said that old age is less a battle than a massacre. The failure of medical science to acknowledge that any ability to push back is finite. Thus patients suffer at the hands of well-meaning doctors because of it. People receive unwanted and unnecessary care in the form of interventions and drugs. If people were properly informed about their options, they may most likely decline much of the ‘medical care’ that they receive in our hospital systems today.

And so people die fighting. They die fighting even when the fight is futile. They die on sterile wards with electrodes taped to their chests and tubes in orifices both natural and manmade. They die deprived of sleep and good food and all things familiar to them. They die in uniform gowns, whose singular purpose is accommodation of gastrointestinal processes. And worst, they die in a way they most likely wouldn’t have wanted to die. Most of these issues and situations could be be avoided if doctors and patients have a timely conversation.

Reject the dominant mainstream culture, and aim for a life of quality, not just quantity, and a death with care but no heroics. Live with an awareness of powerful forces that strive to seduce us into believing what the puppet masters want us to believe. Be clear about your values, principles, beliefs, and live your life accordingly. Refuse to hand over your life to others. You and you alone must  decide those issues affecting your life at all stages of life. No one else! Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to stand up and stand out.

Accept the following truths: Life has no purpose. Its purpose lies in its purposelessness. Existence simply is, for no purpose. If you start living without any purpose, with intensity, totality, love and trust, when death comes, you will know how to die – because death is not the end of life, but only an episode in life. If you have known other things, if you have lived other things, you will be able to live death too. The real man of understanding lives his death as much as he lives his life, with the same intensity, with the same thrill.

Take control of your medical care, overturn the patient-doctor power dynamic, live life on your own terms. Doctors think their task is to ensure health and survival. But really, it is much broader than that. It is to enable well-being—your well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive. The conversation with your physician and other parties will aim for understanding by exploring:

  • How important it is for you to live as long as possible, even if that means you would experience pain and suffering?
  • How important it is for you to avoid pain at all costs, even though you might not be able to interact with others?
  • How important it is for you to be at home when you die?
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