11 June 2009

Wastage and choices

So-we're getting a hold of Mom's after-death finances, and bluntly, they don't look all that pretty. There's some money coming in-policies, annuities, and the like. Certainly not a great amount but a lot more than some, I suppose.

I know she's going to need some sort of assisted care-the eyesight is failing, the heart is not in good shape, and diabetes is working its nasty ways on her. The heart has a pacemaker/defibrillator attached to it. Bloody thing will probably keep on ticking enough to leave her in some misery for the rest of her days.

Like so many other things, I don't know what the hell we're going to do right now. She wants to stay at home for a bit longer, and that would buy time to get things cleaned out and get the place sold-that will ease things a bit.

You'd think that living in one of the prosperous countries in the world, we could do a bit better for our elderly-some affordable, decent home care would be a start.

That said, we all make choices in our life-some good, some not so-and a lot of times we don't know whether the choice was good or bad until late in the game. My stepfather gave to every organization under the sun, some of which were a bit dubious. Mom was always one to buy jewelry-a lot of it from the shopping channels but a fair amount from the local jeweler-some of it good, some junk. Might have to mine that trove and see what's sellable. They were both big on going to the casinos. Now there's a pile of jewelry and a lot of casino play cards lying around(Hey, I said we weren't exactly the nobility).

Such a waste in a lot of ways. All that money pissed away. I do know there are some decent pieces in the jewelry stockpile, but I think ready cash would be good right now. A yard sale and/or auction will put cash in the coffers.

On the gripping hand (for the Niven/Pournelle fans out there), no one is guaranteed a certain amount of time here. A person could scrimp, save, and lead an austere life, and plan to whoop it up when they retire-only to drop dead at their desk a week before retirement. Also a waste.

So what to do? Again, like so many things of late, I don't have a good answer, but I know that I'd rather do than have. If finances allow, I'd rather take a trip (if only for a day) than go out and buy something I really don't need. Like so many other things in life, I guess it's all about balance.

Perhaps on a tangent (or not), this has made me think about life, and how we view it.

I always see people talk about 'the sanctity of human life'. We have this desire to keep people alive at all costs-understandable.

But I believe in 'quality of life' over 'quantity of life'. Answer this, kids-would the Earth be better off with 3 billion citizens, all with at least the minimum to survive and thrive, or are we better off with 7 billion fighting over the scraps?

I guess what I'm getting at is that, although we all think Dr. Kevorkian is a nut, perhaps his ideas on euthanasia aren't. If someone wants to put an end to the pain of a terminal disease or release themselves from a miserable and inexorable physical decline, who are we to tell them they can't have a peaceful and dignified end? I don't pretend to have all the answers to the moral and ethical dilemmas this would bring up, but I think there might be more than a few people that would choose the final option if given a choice.

We euthanize our pets when they get to a point where they can't function-and call it mercy. Wouldn't it be mercy to give a person the same option as well? We see the hollow shells of what were once vital people, and we can't see fit to do what we'd do to the family dog. The opportunity should exist, in some form, to allow people to go out 'on top of their game', if that's what he or she wants.

I suppose these last few posts have been heavy of late. C'est la vie. If you read it, you stand the chance of following ol' Yankeedog on 'some damn-fool idealistic crusade'. Or not. That sounds like too much work.

OK, then-as usual I'll part on a lighter note.

These guys are coming to the area for a local summer festival. Now, Geelong, Victoria, is a long way from Burlington, Iowa, but hey-like, ten bucks is ten bucks, right? A couple of vids from around the time I was learning to drive. Yes, we had these tunes cranking on the ol' Chevy Citation as we cruised town (unskillfully, I might add) doing Driver's Ed. I'd bet some of you remember these.

Yes you do! Don't lie to everyone!

Still like these tunes, even with the bad white-guy choreography.

yankeedog out.


  1. YDog I'm of the opinion it's your life end it on your terms. My Gran used to say "it's a bugger getting old" and I can't disagree.
    I think we'll get there in time, though it may take a lot of it.
    Good luck with your Mum.

  2. Thank you, sir, for I will need it.

  3. When your time is up it should be up to you that you want to die if you are still of sound mind, but it is a hard choice for both your family and friends to understand that you have had enough and it is really time to be gone from this earth.

  4. Stu-Reckon so, but in a lot of cases it should be pretty obvious to all of the people that care. Like I said, there's a lot of moral/ethical stuff involved before assisted suicide becomes a serious life-ending option.

  5. I won't start on euthanasia as I have a fairly long and conditional approval of it.

    The decisions on the next moves for your Mum are a tough one and I don't envy you. I remember my Mum trying to find a place for my Grandmother and it was very difficult.

    Good luck!

    At least

  6. Naut-Yeah. I don't know what kind of nursing system y'all have for your elderly-sounds a lot like ours, which ain't anything to write home about.

    We'll do what we must.