The terrible price of longevity

Charles Cowling

Here’s an incredibly powerful and superbly written account from the New York Times about the consequences of life-extending interventions by medics.

It begins:

One October afternoon three years ago while I was visiting my parents, my mother made a request I dreaded and longed to fulfill. She had just poured me a cup of Earl Grey from her Japanese iron teapot, shaped like a little pumpkin; outside, two cardinals splashed in the birdbath in the weak Connecticut sunlight. Her white hair was gathered at the nape of her neck, and her voice was low. “Please help me get Jeff’s pacemaker turned off,” she said, using my father’s first name. I nodded, and my heart knocked.

It’s a gruelling read, and worth every word. You can find it here.

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X.piry
10 years ago

My, that’s powerful stuff.

The thing that comes out of it, for me, is how information is the key. Had the writer’s mother been given more info at the time, different decisions would have been made. They wouldn’t have been any easier, but they would have been much better informed.

Thanks, as ever, Charles.

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 years ago

A moving account of how more than one life can be dragged backwards through the gorse hedges of callousness by those with the power to do so who can, somehow, subjugate their natural compassion to the self-destructiveness of self-interest. (I’m talking about the medics et al who stand to gain (what?) from the suffering they willingly inflict, in case you’re not sure.)

How I wish, I wish, I could believe it were the incorrect grammar rather than the grammatical rule in the swearworld called Commerce we’ve coined for our human transactions.