On Monday, I took my workout to the next level. While I am happy to say that my arms are as beautiful as a Michelangelo sculpture in their efficiency, the state of my legs three days after this workout make me feel like I've aged forty years.
I have trouble sitting down in low profile chairs, and pretty much every chair in our house is low-profile. They're pretty to look at, but secretly torture devices. Stairs are my archenemy. I nearly broke into tears when I realized I forgot to fill my water glass. So the workout also made me a bit dramatic, and when I get a bit dramatic, I start thinking about death. Doesn't everyone?
I worked in a hospital for four years. Two different hospitals, in fact, covering the entirety of both hospitals as a medical social worker. I worked the ICU, traumas, the heart hospital, the surgery recovery floor for over a year, OB-Gyn (truly the hardest floor), the Emergency Department, etc etc etc. Everything but the psychiatric floor, but I'd spent two years counseling kids in their homes before moving to healthcare, so I figured I'd paid my dues in clinical.
When I worked at the hospital, I saw a lot of people in worse pain than I'm in right now. Working there made me think about things most Americans don't think about every day. For example, these past three days, I've been thinking, "When I'm 75, am I going to have to move into a nursing home because I can't get upstairs to play computer games?"
(I have my priorities straight, see? Not get upstairs to Go To Bed. I can't get upstairs to Play Computer Games. The fact that I called them Computer Games pretty much puts me in the over 60 bracket anyway, in Internet terms.)
So, I told my friends that if I ever naturally get to the point where stairs are unnavigable, I want to go out in a blaze of glory only matched by Fast & Furious. All 6 movies. Like with a car chase, airplane, parachute, and heavy repeating machine gun, and just like the movies, with no civilian casualties. If we can get a truck in there that shoots fire like in the remake of Death Race, I would be really happy.
No need to film it, I'm not looking for a snuff film, but if I'm going to die, I at least should have fun doing it, right? This isn't a suicide plan, for anyone worried about me, it's far too elaborate and too far flung in the future to be that. It's just musing on how I saw far too many people in the hospital sent to waste away in nursing homes for months before they died, alone, with only strangers to keep them company.
No, I want to go out at high speeds and on fire. That should be everyone's right.
I am, of course, only slightly kidding. Everyone should get to die the way they want to, but I don't advocate suicide. I do, however, advocate people's right to die with dignity. When I do die, I want it to be on my terms, not stuck with tubes and hoses in a smelly hospital bed away from the window screaming for my nurse. Which is why there are things like Living Wills, Power of Attorney paperwork, and Do Not Resuscitate orders. These are important pieces of paperwork everyone should fill out.
Not everyone will agree with me. I've seen both sides of the argument happen right in front of me in a hospital room. It's hard to watch a family member die, even when your wishes for their end of life care is different from their own. Dignity is a hard thing to come by in the last days of life, when we're often reduced to our basest instincts and effectively become infants. That's why the paperwork is awesome. While I know I'll probably never get my car chase, airplane, parachute, or heavy repeating machine gun, I can at least try to make things easier on everyone around me, and myself.
But I'll go out thinking that trucks that shoot fire are awesome, for always.