Not long ago, I was in the animal hospital with the last and most lively of my Rottweiler gang, Megan.
She was closing in on the happy hunting grounds and I was there to say when. Balancing dignity with a finances, even for canine care, is not easy. With each deferral of the inevitable came the bill; in this case about $1k a day for superior care and technology (I could have opted for more technology and cost, but kept it practical, at least I thought). When it was over, we spent more in the final four days of care than we did in the preceding 11 years. For virtually the same result. A wonderful experience with a great dog that gave us a ton of happiness and four days of pain.
Thats when this came across my smartphone:
The New York Times Prime Number 197: The amount, in thousands of dollars, that the typical married couple at age 65 should expect to spend on uninsured health care costs over the rest of their lives, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. This total includes insurance premiums, out-of-pocket costs and home health care costs, but it does not include nursing home care. Including the cost of nursing home care, typical lifetime health care costs shoot up to $260,000, the center estimated.
Ok, people are not dogs. And vice versa. For one thing, people have a say in their care when conscious, while dogs can only rely on the incredible messages in their eyes. But for me, it leaves a good lesson in dong what is right, responsible , and sensible.
So whats it all about? In a word, hospice. For dogs and people.
It’s the ability to realize end of life and deal with it in dignity and balance. To live lives that are not based on the number of breaths we take, but the number of times our breath is taken away. And to not selfishly chase the “miracle “of a few more days at the cost of a lifetime of savings wasted. There is a wonderful hospice movement that continues to grow in scope and service in the US. I think it is important and deserves support and fostering.
Look, I know well the incredible boil of issues that is healthcare in America today. This is just one stab at a part of the problem. But it’s a good stab I think. Love to know what others think…