Why I’m Thankful My Grandma Died At Home

by William Skink

My Grandma passed away on November 5th at home surrounded by family. The reason she was able to die on her own terms is because she planned for the inevitability of her death. I wish more people had her courage.

After my Grandpa died, Grandma moved into a small, single story house. She didn’t call it “aging in place”, but that is what she set herself up to do. When she was hospitalized the last time to get fluid drained, she said no more hospital.

If my Grandma hadn’t faced up to her imminent death with the courage of acceptance she could have ended up dying alone in a nursing home, or watched over by a stranger at the hospital. I’m so happy that didn’t happen to her.

The for-profit medical industry had already done its damage to my Grandma many decades ago, when she was just starting her family. She experienced extreme nausea during her first pregnancy with my dad, so she took medication to “help” her during her next pregnancy. The medicine killed her baby.

I did some research and am fairly certain it was Thalidomide that caused my Grandma to have two miscarriages. The effect of this drug was a big scandal over half a century ago. From wikipedia:

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the use of thalidomide in pregnant women in 46 countries resulted in the “biggest man‐made medical disaster ever”, resulting in more than 10,000 children born with a range of severe deformities, such as phocomelia, as well as thousands of miscarriages.

Thalidomide was introduced in 1956 and was aggressively marketed by the German pharmaceutical company Chemie Grünenthal as a medication for anxietytrouble sleeping, “tension”, and morning sickness.[3][4] It was introduced as a sedative and medication for morning sickness without having been tested on pregnant women.[5] While initially deemed to be safe in pregnancy, concerns regarding birth defects were noted in 1961, and the medication was removed from the market in Europe that year.

When making money is more important than human life, this is the kind of shit that happens.

And now you expect these profit-driven pharmaceutical companies to save you from the Covid?

There is not much in our society that is more obscene than how the profit motive interacts with death. From the hospital to the nursing home, the process of aging and dying hoovers up money so fast, only the very wealthy can afford a drawn-out period of decline.

The best thing for an old person to do in our late-stage capitalist system is to die quickly.

While the systemic goal of profiting massively from death feels like a serious problem to the humans navigating this inhumane system, it’s actually working as intended, and as long as the corporations that hoover up these death-profits donate liberally to both corporate political parties, their profits will be safe and secure.

This is just one of the societal atrocities that will continue regardless of which sexual predator is living in the White House.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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2 Responses to Why I’m Thankful My Grandma Died At Home

  1. Djinn&Tonic says:

    Condolences. Damn. Good sleuthing…

  2. Tim A says:

    I had a friend who worked in Great Falls and he also had the same gripe. He said something like 50+% of the medical costs are end of life. My grandpa is 87 and in the rest home next to Home Depot. He’s basically been isolated alone since March. It costs $6k per month for his care. We’re so lucky he worked his whole life at Champion/Stimson and has a pension to cover his care, otherwise our family would be super fucked trying to pay that much. My mom took care of him for 4 years straight in his own home for no money until she finally couldn’t do it all anymore. 🙁

    More Rwandan refugess! That’s what we need! Did you see they built their Habitat house in East Missoula in the middle of trailers? Can you imagine watching rich white people come to tear down your neighbor’s trailer, put up a $300k new house next to your trailer and moved Rwandans in? Obviously if you have a problem tho, you’re racist. Can’t imagine why Democrats are losing regular people…

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