At present I am at skilled nursing facility. I am here because of a debilitating neuromuscular disorder. Recently, due to this disorder. I was admitted to the hospital and ultimately received a tracheostomy. Over the last few weeks I have been fitted with a speaking valve which allows me to communicate. I am fortunate enough to be aware enough to make my needs and wants known to the staff. Also, because I lost most of the dexterity needed to type I use Dragon, a speech to text software program.I spend my days either in bed or in a wheelchair using the computer to connect with friends and surf the web. Sometimes I just watch TV or read. Enough about me. I have a roommate who has had three strokes and except for some random motion nonresponsive to all but the most extreme stimuli. I do not think that he is aware of night and day, when people come into the room or anything else for that matter. He breathes through tube and eats or should I say gets nutrition through a tube. He has visitors may be once every couple of weeks. They come in and stand around holding their Bibles. The sky pilot comes in says some words. They all comment on how good he looks and when he gets better, so on and so forth.

Just so you know I do have some experience as a health professional. I am a pharmacist was 36 years of practice in hospitals, as a consultant and as a retail pharmacist.

In the past I have seen similar occurrences but only in passing as I was walking down the hall. This is the first time I have seen this behavior first-hand close-up and personal. Here is this poor man barely existing unable to take care of himself, to make his needs no to interact with the environment, not even having the pleasure of tasting food. These people are despicable pounding their Bible. "Lordy Lordy Lord." I've already made it known that I have no interest in being saved or blessed, or any other sort of nonsense. I had a discussion with a fairly enlightened woman whose intellect and wittiness I appreciated. Though she was a religious person. She was open to my explanation of what happens or rather, my expectation of what will happen to me when I die. This conversation came about because at one point I actually did think I was going to die. What I said to her was, "when I die and my body breaks down into its elemental form. It is my firm belief and hope that  some of the atoms that make up my corporeal being will eventually make their way into space. And at some point will contribute to the formation of a new sun that will bring life to a planet in another solar system." At which point she said to me, "Well , what happens after that?"  I then said that her no one knows, but it would be fun to find out. That is why science questions without answers and religion is answers without questions. She gave me a funny look and said that's a unique way of looking at things. Then she intoned that at least I had something to look forward to. Anyway, getting back to what I was saying we treat our pets better than we treat our loved ones. My question is for all the talk of the great beyond, the rewards of Heaven, and the prospect of meeting our deceased loved ones why don't they let their people go. What are they Pharoah to the Jews of the Bible? But then again, cruelty, is one of the most prevalent aspects of the not so good book.

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Ronin this is a topic important to me too, both as someone in health care and as someone with cancer. I think each of us has to decide on our own fate based on our own values. Religious peopke have no right to decide for someone else. I refused to stay at a Catholic hospital, partly for that reason.

Daniel.

I wonder if this not being able to let go has something to do with their fear that this person is in the "right place" with their sky daddy and not wanting to send him off to that hot firey place down below. They don't know for sure if he was all full of sin when he had his stroke, so they need to come in and pray over him and if they do that hard enough, then they might feel ok with pulling the plug.

It's something I always wonder about at funerals. The preacher and all the people there say "s/he's with jesus now-s/he's gone home to heaven" and I think HOW DO YOU KNOW??? How can you possibly know that? Even if I believed it were a real place, which I don't, do you know what was in that person's head when they died? Maybe they had a litany of sins they had committed that they had never begged the sky daddy forgiveness for. Maybe they had just eaten an aborted fetus right before they died, maybe they were lusting after their neighbor's lawn mower, maybe they were a serial killer that had killed a couple hundred people over the course of 20 years.

I'm pretty much convinced that the whole "end of life" stuff has less to do with the person being affected by death, and more to do with the survivors that live on after. All that praying has nothing to do with your roommate and everything to do with the family-a way to appease themselves, to deal with their guilt, or to tell themselves they "did everything they could".

edited to add: ps-Love your call sign!

Everybody wants to go to heaven. Nobody wants to die. The only thing that can reward faith is death.

I admire your outlook on life and the finality of death. You can't die unless you've lived. And if you've lived, you were lucky to have your moment in the sun. The alternative -- never having lived at all -- it seems to me, is more tragic than death.

But, then again, if you never existed, you'd never know what you missed.

If anything is a blessing, it's life. We're all lucky to experience it.

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