Just Because You Can Do A Thing Doesn’t Mean You Should

Perhaps it’s just me and my near-death experience in war; knowing full well and carnally the fatal outcome of this life; but I see this mighty medical struggle for survival as absurd. Spare me the magic beans and tonic patent elixirs. I know many people who’ve had various types of medical procedures regarding the heart.

The heart is but a fleshy pump, and stents and bypasses and even a total replacement only serves to prolong the agony that is the decrepitude of life.

While such heroic procedures often strengthens the heart it does little or nothing for the rest of the body; just buying you a little more time. While the heart is mechanically unclogged the rest of the body is still slowly damaged by the same plaque clogging the veins, arteries and microscopic capillaries meant to circulate the blood with its attendant oxygen and nutrients. While the heart beats strong the aging patient goes through a series of gradual systems failures.

While cardiovascular procedures may save the heart, it may as well be kept in a jar for all the good they do for the rest of the body, and especially the brain. While the heart serves the brain, saving the heart does not save the brain.

The heart beats strong while everything else gradually fails: the muscles and joints; the kidneys, liver, and spleen; the eyes and ears; the neural circuits decline for a loss of coordination and balance. And, piecemeal, the brain slowly dies.

While cardiovascular procedures don’t always preceed hip or knee replacement surgeries, they generally do; but is it really worth all the pain and suffering when the end is so clearly known?

Is a heart attack or stroke a better way to die than a slow growth cancer? Is a shitty life better than no life? After you’ve had a cardiovascular procedure, you’ve got a lot to look forward to; and not much of it good.

By my count, my father had three heart attacks and four strokes before he finally passed. For the last year of his life he was blind due to all the sclerotic capillaries bursting in his eyes and flooding them with blood. The capillaries of the eyes are not distinct from the capillaries of the brain, and deteriorate at the same pace more or less; so that various sections of the brain die off piecemeal, here and there. I believe my father suffered greatly from senior dementia as many so often do; gradually losing his memory and his humanity.

Modern medicine can repair or even replace the human heart. But nothing lasts forever; and ultimately, it is a losing battle; and just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should.

Are you sure you want to have a baby?

About The Twentieth Man

Age 69
This entry was posted in Capitalism, Drugs, Expository Writing, Observations, Personal History, Plain English. Bookmark the permalink.

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