My Father is Dying

My father is dying. I think it's just a matter of days. I sit next to his bed and watch him breathe. That's it. I am of no use to him whatsoever. None.

We are hyper-alert to any grimace or moan. (More morphine, please.) We will NOT allow him to suffer. (More morphine, please.) Our father MUST NOT be permitted to experience even one second of pain. (More morphine, please.)

They bring the dose up too slowly. Apparently conventional wisdom says it's better to approach this cautiously over a period of a few days. "Yes, clearly he's experiencing pain. We'll give him a little more and wait to see if that stops it." It doesn't. They try a little more. Nope; he's still groaning and calling out for it to end: "I can't do this. Please help me."

We're trying, Dad.

I suppose the fear is if they give him too much he might die. One must never hasten a suffering man's inevitable death. Much better to drag out that death and let him languish a few days longer until we find the minimal amount of medication needed to stop any sign of pain or torment. Then let's let him lie there a few more days beyond that while his organs slowly shut down until he finally draws his last breath. Under no circumstances should he be given so much medication it might end his life before he has suffered through every last second of it.

It's too bad he's not a dog. A vet would never permit him to endure this prolonged, agonizingly slow death.

How fucked up is that?

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