Let’s Talk about Death, Baby

Let’s Talk about Death, Baby

This post could potentially make people that know me or love me uncomfortable, because I’m going to talk about my eventual demise and my wishes about what should happen when that time comes.

***

When I was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I had some pretty typically terrifying thoughts about my mortality. But I’ll tell you a secret: that was not a new thing for me. In fact, when I was in second grade, I had severe death anxiety that kept me up nights and, now that I reflect on it, probably had my parents pondering whether or not therapy would help me.

“I was thinking about John Henry,” I said hugging the toilet in case I puked. “We learned about him in school. And then I remembered I didn’t want to go to church last Sunday. AND MOMMY I DON’T WANT TO BEAT A MACHINE AND THEN DIE AND GO TO HELL.”

So yeah, I was obsessed with dying and rendered sleepless for a few weeks during my eighth year of life, but eventually I calmed down.

***

And I’ve totally chilled out about dying of a brain tumor too. That’s because I realized something: I never have known when I was going to die. And that makes getting up every day with a brain tumor kind of normal. In a way.

I could have died in 1993 from a freak explosion in my kitchen involving a microwave and a couple of forks, but I didn’t. I could’ve died in 2002 from beheading, but I didn’t. I could’ve died yesterday after being poisoned by a bad batch of chocolate chip cookies, but I didn’t. None of these things happened, but they all could have.

Bottom line is that I still have no idea how many days I have left. So blogging about what I want to happen when I die shouldn’t be read by you, dear reader, as my thinking the end is nigh.

I have no more clue today when I will die than I did when I was an eight-year-old kid being terrified by church people about hell. It’s just I’m practical enough to think it could be helpful to have this sitting here so my family doesn’t have to deal with grief and worry about maybe pissing off my ghost.

***

1.) Do What Comforts You

I don’t really care whether I’m cremated or buried or given to science. So put my ashes on the nightstand or mail them to Rodney Davis (if applicable) or bury me in one of those pods that grows trees. Just don’t spend too much money whatever you pick.

2.) My Social Media Accounts

Leave them up or archived or whatever, if you like. But if I have some kind of automatic posting thingamajig set up on a site where my accounts are still updating themselves after I die, please turn that shit off. That’s just creepy. (A few years back I was haunted for a while by someone whom I learned had passed away. She had some automatic Tweets going every day. I was tortured by the question Is it rude to unfollow a dead person? for weeks.)

3.) Remember I Had a Brain Tumor

People are bound to discover things about me after my death that I wouldn’t have necessarily advertised while alive. Embarrassing things. Mortifying things. Mean things. Ignorant things. Shameful things. Please blame them all on my brain tumor, even if they happened years before my diagnosis. I mean, truthfully, we don’t know how long that thing has been there, and I feel like I deserve the benefit of the doubt.

4.) Have an Informal Get Together

Go to a restaurant or rent a shelter house at a park or something and eat food and tell jokes and hug each other and show a slideshow of pictures from my life instead of staring at me under horrible lights in a funeral home. Unless staring at me under horrible lights in a funeral home makes you feel better. In that case, see point 1.

5.) Don’t Feel Bad About Getting Rid of My Stuff

Keep what you want and donate, sell, or pitch what you don’t. Unless hoarding makes you feel better. In that case, see point 1 and then call A&E.

6.) Let Me Go

Look, I know this blog post isn’t a legally binding document or anything, but I’m not really feeling up to the task of drafting legal documents right this second.

I don’t want to be on life support for years or even months if the tumor gets bad or I end up in some auto accident that leaves me unable to breathe on my own.

The daily stress of pull-the-plug-or-do-not-pull-the-plug is not living for my family or caregivers, and it sure as hell ain’t living for me. And whoever is around to make that decision, if it comes to that, should be supported by every member of my family.

7.) Someone Take Care of My Pets

Depending on the circumstances, it may be obvious who will take care of my pets. Or it may not be. What is 99.9% certain is that I will have at least one pet at the time of my death. I can’t not have a pet. Anyway, I don’t want that pet going to a shelter during its time of grief.

That’s all I can think of right now. I reserve the right to amend this post at any time. Feel free to bookmark it for future reference.

Who Needs a Stinking Income Anyway

Who Needs a Stinking Income Anyway

Ever since my congressional representative, Rodney Davis, voted in favor of the disgusting AHCA yesterday, I’ve been in a pretty foul mood. Like I need one more thing to worry about.

Then I woke up this morning, checked my bank notices, and realized I’d received my last paycheck from my employer until I am able to work again. (If that’s not scary enough, that paycheck was only half of my normal paycheck.) And I entered full-on panic and depression mode about three seconds later.

***

I had this thought back when I was a new hire at my employer in 2013 that perhaps I was a little older now and perhaps I couldn’t afford to be all nonchalant with my benefit selection. So I had them deduct some money for a short-term disability plan from my paycheck. That insurance covered me for a few months, but it’s already run out.

Time flies when you’re having fun learning to walk all over again.

***

Anyway, even though I knew this day was in my future, I’d been avoiding obsessing over it. With things like this, there’s no planning—only worrying. And well-intentioned people kept telling me: You just have one job right now.

Yeah! I thought. Get better. That’s your only job. I went along with it. I mean it was and is kind of true. Brain tumors and their complications are not exactly a side gig.

But I can’t really ignore this no-income thing anymore.

So, after I saw the meagerly payment that posted to my checking account, I started my impending financial crisis meltdown.

I also started the Social Security Administration’s online application for disability. And then I did something I haven’t done in years; I took a nap as a coping mechanism.

Response from Rep. Rodney Davis Re: Medical Marijuana

Response from Rep. Rodney Davis Re: Medical Marijuana

Just dropping in on a Saturday to say that Rodney Davis did eventually respond to my letter. For Senator Durbin’s response and more background, see the post: Make Medical Marijuana Legal in the US: An Open Letter to Senator Dick Durbin.

That Davis (or his staffer, rather) decided to go with “Mr.” is amusing, but basically of no import. Much as I hate to agree with Davis, I gotta say this part gets my approval:

“I believe we shouldn’t handicap the doctor patient relationship and that doctors should be able to provide the best possible medicines for their patients on a case by case basis – including medicinal marijuana.”

Wish he had the same hands-off approach to uterii, but that’s another topic for another day.

I’m also glad to hear that he voted in favor of prohibiting the U.S. Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. But it’s still necessary to outright legalize medical marijuana at the federal level, since a major problem with the discrepancy between state and federal laws prevents doctors and administrators from recommending cannabis to patients.

They can pass legislation take away rights in a heartbeat, but granting them or giving them back is next to impossible. Why is that, I wonder?

September 9, 2016
Mr. Emily Suess
XXXX X XXXXXXX XX
XXXXXX, IL XXXXX-XXXXDear Mr. Suess,Thank you for contacting me regarding legislation related to marijuana.  It is important that I hear from constituents in my district and I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.

As your member of Congress, I have supported efforts to allow industrial hemp production.  Additionally, I voted in favor of an amendment in the 113th Congress that would prohibit the U.S. Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana laws and I cosponsored H.R. 5226, a bill that would remove therapeutic hemp and cannabidoil from the definition of marijuana, and allow it to be used to treat children and individuals with epilepsy.

Furthermore, too many of our veterans are suffering from PTSD and sadly, an unacceptably high number of our veterans have taken their own lives.  I believe we shouldn’t handicap the doctor patient relationship and that doctors should be able to provide the best possible medicines for their patients on a case by case basis – including medicinal marijuana.

Know that I appreciate your comments regarding marijuana legislation and I will keep them in mind if legislation regarding this issue comes to a vote in the full House of Representatives.

Please let me know if my office can be of assistance to you in the future.  If you would like to stay informed on what is happening in the 13th District, I encourage you to sign up to receive my e-newsletter by visiting https://rodneydavis.house.gov/contact/newsletter.  It is truly an honor to serve you in the United States Congress.

Sincerely,

Rodney Davis
Member of Congress

RD/JB

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