What to do if You’re Dying
Congratulations! You have a terminal illness. If you just found out you’re going to die a slow, painful death sometime in the near future and don’t know how to begin dealing with all the doctor’s visits, paperwork to fill out, and general bureaucracy of the shitty American ‘system’ of health, here are some tips to help you out while you slowly deteriorate.
– Assume your doctor doesn’t really give a shit about you. Because they probably don’t, but that’s something you’ll have to explore and find out on your own. Don’t immediately assume that they want the best for you, because this often isn’t true. It’s not that the doctor hates you, but there is a general air of indifference in many cases since so many patients milling in and out often dehumanizes them to the professional.
– Ask a shit ton of questions about your condition. This is part of assuming the doctor does not care about you. Even if you’ve found someone who seems to express a genuine interest and concern in you and your state, you must still engage the doctor in deep conversation about your condition. Ask everything and anything. Why are you sick, what are all the methods of treatment, how will they effect you, how do they normally effect others, is your condition better or worse compared to most cases, are there any new treatments available, what’s the next step if this type of treatment doesn’t work? Without questions, your doctor will leave out a lot of important shit you’re going to have to look up on the internet and freak yourself out about later that night.
– Stay on top of things. Doctors are busy people, and, remember, don’t really care about you. They forget and misplace things. If you’re supposed to go in for a blood transfusion, make sure before you go that you know the amount of blood you’re getting. If you’re being scheduled for an x-ray or some type of test, ask questions regarding scheduling to try and get an appointment earlier than the receptionist is trying to make for you; things often get confused and appointments are often lazily pushed back. Don’t let them control these aspects of your life.
– Explore options on your own. Look into treatment and read about the experiences of others. Take this information to your doctor and present it to him or her in the form of new questions; the internet alone cannot really help you, but combined with the help of a medical professional you can often learn remarkable things to help you along the way.
– Maintain a positive attitude. No one wants to help an asshole. Call people ma’am and sir and be polite to them at all times. Be extra nice to the morbidly obese desk clerk who never even looks up when you sign in. Always be kind and the universe will be kind in return, even in small ways.
– Weigh your options. Don’t let the doctors blindly prescribe a bunch of medication that’s going to make you grow a second head and start shitting blood on a regular basis. If you’re not comfortable spending your time confined to a hospital bed, consider hospice care and discuss that option with your doctor, who knows honestly if there is possibly a light at the end of the tunnel or just a lot more needles and eventually death.
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