Zeke Emanuel, well known oncologist, policy wonk, and eldest brother of Rahm (Mayor of Chicago) and Ari (Hollywood powerbroker), always has a way of garnering attention.
Published in the latest The Atlantic, Zeke pens a very provocative piece on when he plans on calling it a day. In his case, age 75.
From his mantle, the looming descent mark at seventy-five represents an age in which reflections of first-rate cognition and physical function from earlier years become too much to bear. His message: stop all care–acute, preventative, and chronic. The whole shebang. He elaborates elegantly, and with facts, on how he arrived at his position.
I cant say I am fully on board with his thesis (along with many commenters), but the crux of his position will seem sound to most doctor and science-oid types.
In addition, he becomes quite reflective at times–and for those of us who have parents enrolled in Medicare (where physician visits become the norm), the below passage struck a chord:
Unless there has been terrible abuse, no child wants his or her parents to die. It is a huge loss at any age. It creates a tremendous, unfillable hole. But parents also cast a big shadow for most children. Whether estranged, disengaged, or deeply loving, they set expectations, render judgments, impose their opinions, interfere, and are generally a looming presence for even adult children. This can be wonderful. It can be annoying. It can be destructive. But it is inescapable as long as the parent is alive. Examples abound in life and literature: Lear, the quintessential Jewish mother, the Tiger Mom. And while children can never fully escape this weight even after a parent dies, there is much less pressure to conform to parental expectations and demands after they are gone.
You will want to read and pass the piece on to someone you know. The essay will be a certain conversation starter.