Despite medical costs, the will to live is strong

Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 03:36 PM.

My 85-year-old mom has diabetes and heart problems stemming from a bout with rheumatic fever. She has COPD and such limited kidney function that she’s a candidate for dialysis.

Due to lack of function in her arthritic hands, she refuses a walker, though her knees barely function. One hip replaced, she still hobbles painfully. The other needs replacing.

Mom railed against the cost of medical care. "I will die before dialysis at my age," she said.

This week she learned she has an aortic bacterial infection. Without surgery she will die. She has decided, despite the odds and recovery time, to undergo open heart surgery to replace her heart valve.

The will to live is strong. Do any of us really know what we would do when facing the decision to die or submit to "unnecessary" medical procedures?

Barry Fetzer is a columnist for the Havelock News. He can be reached at 

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