Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What happened to Aunt Olla?

On dying on the road

from Country Scribe by Eric Bergeson

Thanks to those of you who kindly volunteered to go along to the eye doctor today given Olla's expressed desire to die while driving in the countryside. Wait, only one person volunteered (thanks, Sheila) and several professed no interest.

I have to admit I thought over what I would do if Olla became ill in the car. I have always wondered that, ever since I spent ten years driving Grandpa around to places convinced that he was about to die at any moment.

I bounced the problem off the nice receptionist at the eye doctor. She said, "whatever you do, don't call the paramedics."

I asked why. Well, she had been in the situation. A man came in the clinic and said, "Could you come take a look at my wife? I think she's dead."

Sure enough, there she sat in the car in the parking lot, deader than a doornail. But what to do? Do you call the paramedics?

Since the woman was clearly done for, she decided not to, for her paramedic friends had said that if somebody's dead already and you call them, they are obligated to try to revive the person no matter how hopeless the situation or peaceful the death. If you call 911, it gets to be a big scene--even if the death was entirely natural and quite easy, as it was in the case of the woman in the car.

So, I decided that if somebody keels over in the front seat of my pickup and if they are over ninety and have had a good life and seem at peace with dying, I am just going to take their pulse and if there is none, I'll head over to the funeral home.

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