In this blog I might sound like a jaded, cynical crusty-hearted bastard. And I am. But I still feel a lot of sorrow in this job; I just hide it well.
Of the many things that make my heart ache, one of the worst is dementia. I can't even imagine what it must be like to watch a loved one slowly lose themselves over the course of years. To become a shadow of who you once were is horrible. I think of all the life adventures I've had, of the fun and laughter and pure living I've experienced and have yet to undergo...to think that could just go away and I'm left with nothing?
I've written before about the idea of end of life euthanasia and mentioned the passing of the original Dr. Death, but a new article on the front page this week has made me revisit these feelings. Remember that guy, Jim Crabtree? He was in the news last year when his father murdered Jim's wife and mother then committed suicide. There was a lot of opinion both ways, but Jim talked about the huge strain it was to take care of a wife who didn't know him anymore, and two elderly parents who were also ill. He related how people have come up to him and talked of how envious they were that, while a violent end, he was spared the horrendously slow end of the journey of Alzheimer's.
This might not win me a lot of fans, but after seeing the ravaging effects of dementia first hand, both on the patient and their caregivers, I think I side with Jim here. For a dementia patient and their caregivers, death really is the final blessing.