June 19, 2002Death & Dying
GREETINGS AND SALUTATIONS from Arnold's Way!
The mouse roared--the cat fell asleep.
Night strains of darkness.
Puff the magic dragon - gently wakes the midnight air.
It was the ugliest of truth. A desperation of last shot.
The signal went awry. Being dependent on somebody
is not the greatest call.
The words come to me, out of hope, out of desperation, out of not knowing what to do.
The subject of this week's newsletter is on death and dying. Not a subject I particularly wanted to write about. But, for whatever reason, it was handed to me on a silver platter.
My mother died on Thursday, April 25th, on the day she was admitted to the hospital, although her official death was 60 hours later. She was in one of those "no win" options; either to have an operation or suffer with her pain. In trying to explain death by choice, in trying to explain death by medical gross negligence, there became the choice we have to live by. I actually saw first hand, how a hospital working from the gentleness of how much they care, to making a decision filled with doubt. First, whether she needed an operation or secondly, whether a 93 year old woman's body could withstand another bout with invasive surgery, and thirdly, knowing once she went under the knife she literally had no chance! WHAT AM I trying to say? My mother was admitted to the hospital at 8:10 p.m. In pain yes, but cognizant, she had all her senses. She was afraid, yes; - she did not want to die. She was surrounded by her loving family - my wife, children, and I, all giving her loving support. So, she can be at peace with herself as well as us with each other. We were told she will die soon - maybe a day, maybe 2 days, maybe a week. But, she will die with grace, with honor, with no tubes running inside or outside. Unless, as stated by her surgical physician, and these words I will never forget! The surgeon spoke quietly, with passion, with care, as if he knew of a better way - A window of opportunity, however small, there is hope. It is on that statement that my mother chose the operation, however small - the window of opportunity. She never had a chance with her bad heart, with her frail body, with being over medicated.
She never regained consciousness. She was put on the ventilator to help her breathing. She was put on the antibiotic solution to help fight the infection. She was put on L-dopamine to help with something. She was put on a liquid diet, all these tubes - all these medications. I watched her face. I felt her hands. I saw her eyes. Every bit of life force was being drawn from her body. Her immune system, what little she had, was taken away from her, like a giant rumbling train that takes no passengers.
Once her immune system left, her body was compromised. Her hands once strong, were becoming ice cold turning to purple. These were her defense mechanisms because all the medication was eating away at her body, the so-called window of opportunity. Her body went into spastic shock, a strong message of toxic overload. In the almost comatose state my mother was in, it made one last valiant effort to fight off the constant flow of toxicity that was slowly dripping into her arms, into her mouth, into her almost lifeless body. Her reward - was another valiant effort this time of a team of doctors and nurses who put more medication into her. More dopamine, more antibiotics, more whatever was deemed necessary to restore her lifeless body. This valiant effort continued for three hours. My mother never had a chance to say goodbye, to say her last words of love to those that meant the most to her. The family was whisked away and brought back after this so-called last revival.
I saw her - it was death. A gray sullen aura surrounded her. The tubes were slowly being taken away, one for dopamine, one for antibiotics, and one for feeding. The day was 16 hours later. At that point it was a question of time. There was no hope. There was no chance; all her vital organs were in my opinion over-medicated. The next day she officially died. The window of opportunity, the operation, with horrendous results, probably made the hospital from 10 to 40,000 dollars. Not bad for 2 days work.
It is on that note we begin our newsletter. It is on that note that we begin our research. It is on that note that I give warning to all children, to all parents, to all loved ones - take warning. What does that mean? According to New England Journal of Medicine, in 1984 stated, "Standard hospital procedures damaged 98,609 and killed 13,451 in New York State alone. These are the reports I'm reading. The evidence clearly states these figures on a national scale. According to God's Way to Ultimate Health by Dr. George Malkamus, medical mistakes and malpractice might have harmed 1.4 million Americans, killing about 186,000 in one year.
I stand in silence. I stand in ignorance. Not because what I don't know, but what I do know. I am aware of all these facts. I watched my mother die, not in years, not in months, not even in weeks, but in 48 hours! I watched from being totally cognizant, aware of her pain, aware of her choices, aware that time is near. It was one of those things that each one of us is faced with. There are issues of life that are issues of death. It is a moment to moment choice.
My mother chose medical. She did the right thing for herself. She believed in the system to protect her, to guide her, to head her down the path of health. So........
I close my eyes and think of the surgery. She had no other choice. She would
have done it again, knowing the consequences. I close my eyes and think of her
after the operation. The soul of her being was satisfied. She was on the
ventilator. A blue breathing apparatus-good air in, bad air out, minute by
minute. I held her hand, my daughter held her other hand. She stayed with her
for the whole 48 hours. The power in that presence of love, constantly flowing
from us to her. I had made peace with her long ago and I enjoyed the moments
together. These are not words of repentance or forgiveness, or even just airing
my thoughts out. There are no rights in the way we live! I am on a mission, day
in, day out. Whether it makes sense to any other person other than me really
doesn't matter. The window of opportunity awaits every one of us. For joyful
bliss brings milliseconds of joy. A body wisdom is beyond scientific data that
speaks of facts and figures. The body wisdom rises triumphantly against the
media sniffing out the latest in medical break throughs. There are bullets that
have to be dodged. We open our eyes and see the results. America is a sick
country. There is no doubt. It is made of thoughts and consciousness and visible
support for clarity and purity. The words are written in stone. My mother, 93
years, lived that code of justice. The people around me live under the same
guise. That what appears, what is seen, what is believed is actually real. Can I
as an individual change that consciousness? There is no right, so, I write my
weekly newsletter. My mother in her own conscious way raised me that way, always
herself, always doing the so-called right thing.
She ate the good breakfast, coffee in the morning. I frantically search for my coffee research book, telling all the side effects of pouring boiling hot H20 down ones throat loaded with the coffee stimulant. I can't find it, does it really matter, would those who love coffee stop upon hearing what I think is true? Or, would they continue drinking because in the big scheme, everyone does it!
Starbucks where are you? In fact, at one point, I even sold coffee. I loved the coffee business. Back in 1992, a scant 10 years ago, I was selling coffee wholesale at 2 1/2 cents a cup-and I was making money. The end price at that time was coffee for a dollar. Talk about mark up! Back then I too would not want to hear anything that would infringe on my income. So, my mother drank the coffee day in and day out. She developed a weak heart. The number 1 & 3 killers in the United States is heart attacks and strokes. There are no accidents. How can we as a nation, as people, continue drinking coffee day in and day out when there is scientific evidence of a strong correlation between coffee and strokes? This information is conscious knowledge. But, what about the taste, the social activity, that surrounds a cup of coffee? This has value. I sit alone. I drink H20, I drink carrot juice, I drink wheat grass. Do you know how many people think this way? Not many. Who is right? We live with our decisions day in and day out.
I think of my mother making breakfast, practically the same breakfast every day. She would not have it any other way. It was a day of solemn introspect, my thoughts wander. I envision the toast, the butter and the jelly-all neatly packaged, all brightly colored, all honored; things that I would never put in my body. She would not have it any other way.
Nutrition and Athletic Performance by Dr. Doug Graham, speaks boldly about what is in wheat. Besides the flour and H20, this is a synonym for glue, the same yucky stuff that clogs our brain, fills our tummy, creates allergies, and stiffens our joints. A food Dr. Doug Graham strongly associates with the narcotic opium. But, this is the way we are conditioned to eat. It's not only in the bread that we eat, but the cereal, the spaghetti, the cake, the list is endless. A walk in the park-we are surrounded by thousands of wheat choices. The soft pretzels, hot dogs on a bun, Oreo cookies, ice cream cones, all delectable treats, that we, as people, are trained to eat. In fact, according to Dr. Joel Furhmon's scientific evidence on sickness and disease, 94% of all Americans have the yearning for these processed foods. The results from this type of diet speak for itself. But, to mean something to somebody to create change is another matter.
I reflect on Sunday morning when my mother talked about her breakfasts. As if it was the highlight of her day. It brought her joy. It brought her involvement in a social gathering-I listen quietly, not saying a word. I was right, she was right. She took the pills for her heart, she took the pills for her high blood pressure, she took the pill for her thyroid. She took the pills that the doctor recommended, six or seven a day. It was the right thing to do.
What I know, what I believe-all drugs are poison in my opinion. I would never, ever, in any circumstance, take any medication, under any circumstance! These were my mother's beliefs. I look around and I see these same beliefs prevailing in the restaurants. I see the choices on the menus; I watch TV and see all those so called healthy choices. I read the ingredients, a chemical jubilees design for human consumption. I sit quietly as she rambles on. I eat my lettuce, tomato, and lemons. Am I the sick one, each of us with our own beliefs, each of us supposedly right, each strong in their conviction? I continue to eat, my mother, week in, week out, talks of her daily breakfast, the eggs, the bacon-all that saturated fat. All that animal fat, all that rat food loaded with toxins, all those books written against the meat industry. Dr. Neal Barnard, doctor in charge of Physicians for Responsible Medicine, writes book after book, lectures all around the country doing whatever it takes to communicate about the destructiveness that meat causes on the human body. The champion for meatless society advocates just that, each book, each page, each word. So are the words of other strong believers-strong believers, strong people, who have an understanding of the ills of our society. We're not at choice of our actions-those who carry the torch, let it ferociously burn. The security of ourselves is the overriding factor for the security that exists around us. We walk in humble appreciation that the greatness from within can expand to the greatness for the outside.
As a child I was blessed not for what I had or didn't have. I was blessed not with material possession, not with a loving caring family. I was blessed by my existence. I had known from the earliest of moments that being alive is the greatest gift my mother gave to me!
On that note, I end as I begin - thank you for your time.....
Are a composite of my thoughts, learning, and seeing.
My gift of life--the universal energy that has created the world for my presence.
My mother who gave me the gift of life......
These words, these thoughts, these treasures of what life has brought to me, I dedicate to her......
From her loving son,
We are now receiving customers at the store. We signed a 22 year lease, so we are ready and looking forward to serving you with food and information.
Check out our Raw Food Yoga Retreat at Eagles Mere Lodge. The last one was a rousing success. Spaces are limited, sign early. $50.00 non-refundable deposit holds your spot. September 27th, 28th, and 29th.
June 28th 6:00-7:00 P.M. Raw Food Cuisine presented by Raw Food Chef Benjamin Rachunas $15.00
Matt Goodman, June 28th 7:00-8:30 P.M., $5.00 discussion only. Matt will share his story on how he reversed his illness of MS on a raw food diet after suffering for 8 years.