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The Unwanted Pacemaker
Advice and Help : The Unwanted Pacemaker
Stories about the problems that families live through as their elders age usually display a range of emotions. There are happy moments, too many sad ones, and often they are breakthrough where family members discover something about themselves and their loved ones.
One of the saddest such stories we have ever heard of was recently issued in the New York TImes, "What Broke My Father's Heart". Kudos to the Times, which has been publishing a continuing series of fascinating elder care articles. It details the plea of a mother to her daughter, begging her to help get the girl's father's pacemaker disconnected. The man, a former university professor at Wesleyan, had led a rich and happy life. But now with a brain imprisoned by dementia, he was only being kept alive by a pacemaker he never wanted in the first place. Read on, and prepare to weep. And then get started planning how you can avoid having this happen to you (not so easy, but possible with discipline, the right living wills, written instructions, and cooperative family members.