Sunday, February 17, 2013

The right to die...

More thoughts on prolonging the life of Alzheimer's patients...

I have been reading several blogs and articles concerning whether anti-psychotic drugs are appropriate/necessary for Alzheimer's patients.  And I am pissed. 

First, I'd like to explain why anti-psychotic drugs are prescribed.  I am not a doctor, so, my explanation will be from my perspective.  On a daily basis, Mom can be delusional, violent, hallucinating, paranoid, angry, agitated or aggressive.  Very rarely is she calm.  She wakes agitated and delusional.  She cannot sleep through the night.  She wanders.  She tries to escape and "go home".  She can no longer ride in a car without trying to get out, moving or not.  Seldom can I calm her by talking or reasoning.  She passed the point of being able to use reason and logic several months ago.  She is unhappy.  She picks large areas of her skin until she bleeds.  She has no empathy, compassion or sympathy left.  She is self-centered, argumentative and combative.  All of these symptoms are normal and part of the disease.  But, they do not allow for a very calm or peaceful home life, for any of us.  Anti-psychotic drugs address some of these symptoms.  Depending on the patient, the drugs can calm them, make them easier to live with and reduce many of the symptoms. 

But, the medical society is stepping away from the use of these drugs in Alzheimer's and dementia patients.  Why?  Because they have been found to increase the chances of patients dying sooner.  Yep.  They might die if they use them.  Am I the crazy one?  My mother is dying.  Piece by piece.  And they are afraid that she will do it too soon?  When exactly is the appropriate time for her to die?  Maybe when her brain is no longer able to tell her body how to move. Or breathe.  Will it be more appropriate when she can no longer swallow and needs a tube shoved down her throat to receive nourishment?  Is that a more humane time to die? 

I am so angry and disgusted with this way of thinking.  We have become a nation that does not allow our people to die a natural death.  We are obsessed with keeping people alive, regardless of the cost, both financial and emotional.  Everyone has the right to die with dignity.  Strike that.  Everyone should have the right to die.  Period.

No comments:

Post a Comment