Thursday, July 26, 2012

You're 50 now. It's time to start plan 0.

Ken Murray hit a nerve when he wrote "how doctors die" last November. Now he's back with Doctors Really Do Die Differently.

Briefly, physicians are relatively good at dying. Maybe we just think about it more. Certainly we have a better idea than most civilians of what medicine can do (heart transplants) and what it can't do (run an effective code after respiratory arrest, prevent dementia, etc).

So I'm thinking now about plan 0.

No, not wills and living wills and the like -- Emily and I took care of that stuff decades ago and we've redone them several times. There's still work I need to do on digital archive plans and transferring domain names, but it's manageable.

No, not contingency plans for password and account information access. (Though, come to think of it, I do need to update the danged password archive. That's getting harder these days.)

Plan 0 isn't about those things. It's about emulating Molly Thunderpaws Squirrelbane. She lived to be an old dog, maybe a bit forgetful but good company. One day she's sick with some abdominal cancer. Heartbroken we feed her high cost lamb for her last few days. Which turned out to be 340 last days. It got quite expensive, since we obviously couldn't stop the therapeutic lamb. Cheaper than vincristine though, and tastier. Finally, her legs give out, friends gathered, and the vet made a house call. Perfect.

I have a bit of time to figure out plan 0, probably 30 years or so assuming a good morbidity compression strategy [1]. First I need to get euthenasia legalized, then I need to give the kids a financial incentive to bump me off, but not too much of an incentive ...

[1] Based on family history, health habits, current health, mortality curves and assuming medical progress continues to be very slow.

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