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Old 2012-03-14, 03:39   Link #21
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: London
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Originally Posted by Akito_Kinomoto View Post
The usual justification for a person to see someone he or she cares about at the hospital is to lend emotional support to the one who is admitted in times of sickness or injury. But what if the visited person is in a state that can best be described as pathetic? Is being there for someone really worth it if the last impression he or she leaves invokes more pity than love or care?
I think it's unlikely pity would be the main emotion you would feel. I'm sure it would be one, but sadness that this person or presence you've always had in your life might not be there anymore is probably more what you'd feel.


I've never had to experience visiting a close friend or relative who's terminally ill, but whenever I think about it I feel like I would tear up. I'm wondering if it's better to show emotion like this or if this is the last thing the person needs?

Last edited by Kakashi; 2012-03-14 at 04:19.
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Old 2012-03-14, 03:59   Link #22
Rising Dragon
Goat Herder
Join Date: Jun 2008
Age: 30
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Having watched my 13 year old brother die from the complications of a lung ailment (essentially drowning from lack of oxygen) when I was 19 but being able to be with him til the end - I'd say: "um, hell yes?"

It clearly helped him to have his people around him for the end... this sort of thing is for *them* not us.
I very much agree with this. I was in the same situation with my father three years ago; he was dying of a secondary respiratory infection while he was recovering from a bout of pneumonia. It hurt to see him in that state, but I can't imagine how much worse it would've been if no one visited him regularly before he decided he wanted to bring things to an end. As it was, he was surprised at how much of the family turned out, and it left quite an impression on him on his dying day.

Visiting them no matter what they're condition... that's what matters. Like Vexx said, it's for them, not for us. And if they're dying, it still shouldn't matter what their condition is: we should remember them not for how they died, but for how they lived.
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Old 2012-03-14, 10:15   Link #23
Obey the Darkly Cute ...
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: On the whole, I'd rather be in Kyoto ...
Age: 60
Yeah, I stayed with my father til he died as well (he was sent home from the hospital with unrecoverable complications from diabetes and given enough morphine packets to get through the process of dying; moral: don't get diabetes and if you do, manage the hell out of it - lose the god-damned weight and stop eating shit). I believe it meant a lot to him that I spent the time with him. We chatted and watched our favorite shows (Fawlty Towers, Monty Python), I applied the patches when the pain got stupid. He had stopped the insulin treatment so that would get him before the infection did so the last few hours he mostly slept through.

There was one ?funny? moment when he was sleeping and I adjusted his pillow; it startled him awake and he said, "I'm not dead yet!" We stared at each other a second and then both laughed, I said "the cart's not here yet anyway" and he went back to sleep. ((Holy Grail reference check))
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Old 2012-03-15, 08:56   Link #24
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Vienna
Reading through the recent posts in this thread, it made me remember something I tried forgetting and almost managed.

When I was 18, my father was diognosed with huge brain cancer in the center of his brain and the chances he would survive the first of the two surgeries were low. He survived, he was on the ICU for about a week in arteficial sleep, then they woke him up and he went through a period of severe fiever (which was normal we were told) and he had absolutely no headache (which wasnt normal) and was behaving carefree and childish..... about that the doctors said, that hopefully this carefree infantil behaviour will stop.... or it could stay due to massive damage the brain sustained during the surgery.

Well, mother was in the hospital every day after work and came home rather depressed looking. She didnt talk about her worries, but I could tell. I am the oldest of my siblings and while my brother and sister seem satisfied with the fact that father lives, I could tell mother is really worried.

The reason why I am telling this story is..... that I didnt want to go to see father either. Not because I would feel pity for him, or because the image would burn itself into my brain permanently, but simply because I was scared. I was scared what I would see and how bad things really are, because mother tried sounding positive for us children, but I was old enough to know that things look bad.

In the end I had to go, because mother told me, that father is asking for me. Strangely enough he didnt ask for my sister or brother.... nor could he remember what he said the day before (he had bad memory lapses too), but he remembered that I havent visited him and asked why.

I felt really bad after mother told me. I felt I shouldnt have waited until father asks for me, I should have gone sooner. And so the next day I went to see father and I understood why mom was worried. He was eerily cheerful, talked about this and that, the instant chocolate from the vending machine in the corridor and what he can see from his window and looked like he cant hold one thought for longer than a minute.

In the end, father recovered.... and I tried to push it out of memory, that because I was scared, I didnt want to go to see father in the hospital. If it happened today, I would visit him every day, just like mother did.
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Old 2012-03-15, 14:17   Link #25
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Northeast USA
Age: 32
Originally Posted by Kakashi View Post
I've never had to experience visiting a close friend or relative who's terminally ill, but whenever I think about it I feel like I would tear up. I'm wondering if it's better to show emotion like this or if this is the last thing the person needs?
It probably depends on the person and scenario. I think there are too many variables to make a generalization, but here are two views that I have on it:

For some people, it would probably be something good. It would either show how affected you are by their condition, or it might also push them into accepting the gravity of their situation if they were in denial about it before. That can be therapeutic.

On the other hand, it could just make them more upset. I'd feel awful and even guilty if I were in the hospital and my wife cried her eyes out every time she saw me. For chronic things in particular, people benefit from positivity. That doesn't mean sweeping it under the rug and pretending like it doesn't exist, or pretending like it's not a big deal, but keeping it together and staying focused.
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Old 2012-03-15, 14:54   Link #26
Obey the Darkly Cute ...
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: On the whole, I'd rather be in Kyoto ...
Age: 60
I find it useful to realize that we're *all* dying - just at different rates. The world is trying to kill you as soon as you're born. Anyone and anything you know is transient - focus more on the moment and enjoy it, support those having a rough moment.
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Old 2012-03-15, 15:18   Link #27
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Age: 34
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Uhh, what?

Who the fuck cares about such things when it comes to such matters? The point is they need someone to care for them to the very end and be the ones that can see them for who they are even in such a state. They need someone to not regard them as pathetic, after all-- it's the very basis of human relations. You know what sucks more than being looked down upon? Dying alone. Dying in the hands of strangers that will throw you in the trash once you hit the bucket and then a hole in the ground. Or maybe burn you to ash.

Such measures such as pathetic or strong are just arbitrary and meaningless.

If I got hit by a car and was left lying helpless on the street, I don't give a fuck about what others think at the moment or how bad it looks. I'd like to be treated like a human being, as an equal, as long as I didn't do anything bad to you like kill your dog or something. And you know, pick up a phone and call 911. Same applies on the death bed. These issues are just petty ones of the living. Leave them at the door. Leave your own feelings too and don't make decisions for other people.

Besides, if I worried about how pathetic I look, I'd have killed myself already. :3
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Last edited by Archon_Wing; 2012-03-15 at 15:31.
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Old 2012-03-15, 16:28   Link #28
Deadpan Snarker
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: The Neverlands
Age: 40
If the direction of this thread is about the 'pathetic state' of a person then I certainly have a memory I'd rather not have experienced

-Story time

My mother contracted in '08 what appeared to be stomach flu, which -after long waiting for examination- turned into Inflammatory bowel disease,
where after finally being admitted to the hospital after a period of months (she had lost a lot weight by then, she couldn't have been more than 45Kg at that point)
during the CT it was discovered she had an acute case of Gastrointestinal perforation

The infected/damaged piece of her large intestine was removed and she went through a succesful operation

...or so we thought

In recovery a few days later (she was somewhat wheezy the day before, but having had Asthma all her life it was considered 'acting up')
Her bloodpressure and respiration crashed during the night, she had to be brought into emergency surgery and another pice of her intestine was removed

When we arrived at the ER, we were told she was diagnosed with Sepsis
they had to put in a lot of fluid to keep her bloodpressure up and she was on dyalisis and respiratory asistance for she was unable to breath herself

Now for those who know how a drowned body looks after being submerged in water for a few days
Imagine that connected to hoses and machines

But the fun doesn't stop there

Though the bloating subsided, a few days later her bowel became inflamed again.
They had to operate again and by now they removed so much of her intestine
that it was already a fact she would need a stoma for the rest of her life, and probably a special diet
A few days after they took an EEG to try and find out why she didn't wake up
it showed 'some' damage to the brain, but undetermined at that point

They forced a wake up, which, well
She had her eyes open, but there wasn't much indication that there was 'anybody home'
She reacted to sounds, touch, but no 'real' interaction
When she finally had a CT, it was discovered that she certainly was permanently blind and her whole cognitive abilities seemed to have been damaged

What 'was' my mother, had become an emaciated, incontinent, blind vegetable

In the end, when another fever indicated problems in her abdomen and blood again, still not being able to breath on her own and the 'future' she was facing,
it was decided to 'pull the plug'

Her suffering ended with her worst fear: having suffered a heavy asthma attack when she was younger, she always slept just a few hours a night,
frightened of another attack and that she would suffocate
So when respiration was ended, her nightmare became reality
No last words, no meaningfull stare, just a heartmonitor showing lower numbers till zero and a chest stopping its erratic heaving

She died surrounded by family and friends, thanks to Pathetic medical bureaucracy

Now I can only speak from my PoV, because in the end, whatever I did that my mother experienced
(Though I hope from the bottom of my heart that she never really achieved any consciousness during that time) doesn't matter anymore

Except for soothing words, the abundance of hoses and wires prevented much physical contact

Every visit to or call from the hospital was an emotional rollercoaster
Where one doctor was hopefull, another was not, every small gain like stabilizing bloodpressure or seeing her awake were thrashed by the aforementioned 'crashes'

I couldn't do anything than pity the state she was in, I was powerless and had to leave things in the hands of the medical proffesionals

All I can say about "justification"
What the hell is there to justify being there for the person you care for/cared for you?
There is no question about "needing" or "wanting" to be there,
Nobody wants to see their loved ones suffer, and you don't need to be there because they can suffer just as easily by themselves

you just simply SHOULD!
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Old 2012-03-16, 03:20   Link #29
Ineffectual Loner
Join Date: Mar 2011
No. I wouldn't visit someone if I knew their state would be anything but admirable. Comatose would be the best for me, I can deal with that. But everything else like being attached to some machine? No.

My life is plagued with regret and bitterness. I want to remember the few people I care for who they were, not who they were at one time. I can live without visiting someone in such a state if it'd give me peace.

The only conflicting case I'd have if it was my mother or my partner. Otherwise, I'm certain I wouldn't visit.
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