Thursday, February 21, 2013

Believe it or not, you will eventually die

Everybody is going to die some day.  You cannot get around it.  As you get older your cells continue to replicate, and every seven years you have a new body.  Your body is basically cloning itself as you sit here reading this.  And successive clones are basically copies of clones.

So as you continue to make copies of clones, the later generations become flawed. That's how we develop wrinkles.  That's how our organs get weaker and cause us problems.  This is how cancer is caused.  As we age, we get old, wrinkly, and our bodies start to fail us.  We get weak.  We need canes. We need glasses.

To stop aging, you would have to stop this replication. Or, at least you'd have to figure a way to perfect the replication process.  So, as it is today, there is no such technique.

So, the alternative is that we will all get some disease and die of it, unless you get hit by a mack truck.  If you live long enough, you will get Alzheimer's, or cancer, or heart failure, or kidney failure, or emphysema or some disease that will slow you down and probably eventually kill you.

And, whatever of these disease you will get, you probably already have the gene for it.  If you smoke, you will increase the aging process, and you will get wrinkly sooner, and you will get the disease that will kill you sooner.  I think that's why so many COPD patients wander through ER doors these days.

In 1900 many of the diseases we have today were almost unheard of, and the reason is that we now live long enough to get these diseases, which in a way makes it good that we get these diseases.  Cancer rates are skyrocketing due to all the people who smoke, but they also rise because people live long enough to get cancer.  Same with emphysema. Same with Alzheimer's disease.  Same with Dementia.

And what kills most of us is pneumonia.  You get it when you're young you can fight it off.  When you are young you take deep breaths without even thinking of it.  But as you age, as you get sick, you take fewer deep breaths.  Germs get trapped in your lungs.  You get pneumonia.  Your body is older, weaker, and the pneumonia has a greater chance to consume you.

The problem with our society is many people get a false perception of the end.  Many of us think there is some magic pill that will make us live forever.  I hate to break it to you: there is not.

So, if you are wise, you will know this.  And then you will make a smart decision as to how you want to end your life.  Do you want to end it with a tube in every orifice, in a hospital, dragging on forever? Do you want to end up dyspneic and in pain, losing limb after limb, in a body that has no mind?  Or do you want to go out with grace and dignity in a recliner in the comfort of your own home?

You decide.  Just know: you will die.  How do you want to do it? .  That is the question you must ask yourself, and discuss with the people you love.

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