You may be uncomfortable attending funerals at funeral homes in Adelphi, MD, because death is a subject that you try to avoid thinking about, talking about, or having to deal with in any kind of tangible terms.
You are not alone. Many Americans have a denial mindset when it comes to death. This is exemplified by the fact that many people in the United States don’t have basic end-of-life documents like medical powers of attorney, living wills, or wills.
Creating end-of-life documents means thinking about your own mortality. It means having to come face-to-face with the reality that one day you will die and be no more. People in the United States are very uncomfortable with facing the truth about death being the end result of life.
Our denial of death is also seen in the American approach to medicine. Advances in medicine have made extending our lives a natural way of living, and many people will do anything to put off death, even if those life-saving measures ultimately diminish the quality of their lives.
Most Americans take a lot of medications to stave off death. These medicines attempt to regulate blood pressure, keep blood sugar under control, protect the heart, and keep depression and anxiety in control.
Additionally, many people in the United States also take supplements or use things like essential oils that hold out unsubstantiated promises of longer life with fewer ailments and diseases that can threaten lives.
Most of the medicines have serious side effects, and often the cure is worse than the ailment or problem it is supposed to treat. A good example of this is Taxotere, a chemotherapy drug that has been commonly used in the United States to treat metastatic breast cancer for several decades.
While Taxotere was somewhat effect in treating Stage IV breast cancer, it had some debilitating side effects that the drug manufacturer knew about but didn’t disclose. If the drug manufacturer had disclosed the side effects, they may not have gotten FDA approval for Taxotere.
However, because drug manufacturing is very profitable, the company was more interested in getting their patented drug on the market than they were in the overall health of the people who would be treated with the drug.
Had the side effects of Taxotere been disclosed, some of the worst of them could have been treated quickly and easily, with no long-term harm to the patients.
This is but one example of how the attempt to prolong life actually, in the end, destroyed the quality of life.
Surgical procedures to extend life where death will be inevitable without them are also routinely done in the United States, and the outcomes are often not as good as the patients and their families had hoped.
Americans routinely die during these life-saving medical procedures, especially those involving the heart or the brain. If they don’t die, it is not uncommon for serious health emergencies, such as strokes or aneurysms to occur shortly after the surgeries.
If the strokes or aneurysms aren’t fatal, the patients are, at a minimum, disabled temporarily or, in the worst cases, permanently. These disabilities may include paralysis, speech defects, and brain damage.
We as Americans should consider how we see death and what that is costing us in terms of our health, our happiness, and the quality of life that we all desire.