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Friday, February 24, 2006

The lesser of two evils

It was breaktime and a few of the nurses were sitting in the staff room with me, each of us clutching a warm mug of tea and poring over some outdated gossip magazines.

The door slammed as two of the senior nurses walked in, discussing two patients that had been transferred to the elderly care unit. One of them had Alzheimer's disease, and the other had Parkinson's disease. They were both equally unwell with pneumonia.

"Which would you rather have - Alzheimer's or Parkinson's?", said one.

"Neither!", said the other, and we all laughed. Slowly, our eyes began to glaze over, as we all stared off into empty space, pondering. Which would we rather have?

I would prefer to enter the slow and grey decline of Alzheimer's disease. As my mental processes begin to deteriorate, and I become less aware of my surroundings, hopefully I would approach a state of pleasant confusion. I would be unconscious of the suffering of the people around me, as I become more child-like and less capable of looking after myself. I would be oblivious to the weakening of my body. I would forget where I was, who I had been, what I had done. The days and nights drifting together, I would live in a state of tranquil ignorance.

Rather that, than to have my mind intact whilst my person fails. And to know what lies in store.

What about you?


Blogger IML said...

I agree with you. It would be a mental torture for the helpless mind to see the body wasting.

8:53 am  
Blogger tscd said...

life story: Some people do prefer to have their mind intact...

12:39 am  
Blogger Nancy said...

Altzhiemer patients are very aware of what they're losing. Of course, after a certain point, they lose even that.

I think I'd rather keep my mind and myself.

2:26 pm  
Blogger tscd said...

nancy: Yes, it's not the best of situations, being old. But still, I'd rather let my mind and body deteriorate at the same rate, instead of one before the other.

7:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no choice between walking freely in sunshine and not knowing sunshine at all!

9:05 pm  

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