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The following is a post by a fellow believing blog friend. You can follow his blog at: Truth From the Hip.
Yesterday I was informed that a man I dialyze with was ending his treatment. In effect what he is saying is good bye. Yesterday was his last day for dialysis. I don’t know how old Rick is but he is far too young to say good bye to. My understanding is that sometime back he had made the decision that when he could no longer take care of his mother he would discontinue his dialysis. Recently, he was forced to put his mother in a nursing home so, to him, the time had come. I don’t know a lot of the details behind his decision, but even if I did I doubt my reaction would be any different. It makes me sad. Sad to think that life could be so bad as to consciously say, “I’ve had enough. I don’t want to live anymore.”
While this type of thing may seem shocking to some it is not uncommon in dialysis circles. In fact, death in general is not uncommon and many patients choose to end their own lives. In the past 6 weeks or so I have had to say good bye to at least 5 or 6 people in my facility alone. It seems as though when you check in for treatment you look around and wonder, “Who’s next?” But this is different. Rick is one of those who chose death. While his physical death will not be immediate, it won’t take long. It never does. What, a week? Maybe 2? Maybe 3 at the most? Does it matter? Because once we hear that Rick is gone, it is forever. I respect his free will and his right to make decisions for himself, but that doesn’t mean I have to think it is the right decision and it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I wonder if Rick fully understands the eternal implications of his decision? Rick and I were never seated side by side and I was never really able to talk much to him other than the cursory “hi” and “bye”. But I liked him. He is a nice guy.
As a Christian my thoughts naturally drift toward wondering, even though he says he is at peace with his decision, does he really know where he’s going? Or is he so tired of the life that has been handed him that he no longer cares. Maybe he is not eligible for a transplant and figures, “What’s the point?” As I said, I don’t know any details of his life and probably never will know. And trust me, going in for dialysis treatment 3 days a week is no picnic. Quality of life slowly deteriorates over time regardless of the degree of your renal failure. The only cure for renal disease is a miracle or a transplant. Maybe Rick believes both are out of the question.
My transplant is only 14 weeks away. I see light at the end of the tunnel. I am still believing for a healing miracle, but if for some reason it doesn’t come I can still see relief in my near future. Rick obviously can’t see it. There is no relief in his eyes. Perhaps he thought, “We’re all gonna die sooner or later. It’s inevitable. Might as well go now.”
As I left DaVita I stopped by Rick’s chair to say good bye. One of the patient care technicians was working on him so I only stayed for a minute. I shook his hand and then held it. I blessed him. He smiled and said, “Thank you.” As I left I walked by a table that had been set up with some “goodies” that I was told Rick enjoyed eating. I stopped, stared at it for a moment and walked out without partaking. I was sad and not in the mood to eat at Rick’s expense. My friend had made the decision to die. That’s not really something I wanted to commemorate by standing alone in the foyer shoving food in my face.
Not my idea of a good time…