When will I die?

No one can really predict when they will die. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has estimated from data gathered from 2009 that the average life expectancy for a female in the United States is 80.6 years and 75.7 years for a male. The life expectancy for someone living in the United States is higher than the world average of 69.5 years for females and 65.0 years for males.

There are those who shudder just to hear the word death and there are also those who believe that to die is to rest, so it is not an issue for them to rest in peace. However, if we were to conduct a survey on who is willing to die at this very moment, probably only a handful will say yes (if ever there is someone who will really say yes!)

Although we all know that everybody will die, we are still afraid to think of our death. People are so engrossed with their own activities such as accumulating material possessions, knowledge and popularity that they forget to prepare for the coming of “their time.”

What is death?

It is the time when our heart stops beating and the connection between our body and mind is terminated. Some of the indications that death has occurred are when:

  • The person stops breathing
  • There is no pulse
  • Paleness after 15-20 minutes
  • A decline in body temperature
  • The limbs become stiff
  • The presence of a strong, unpleasant odor

The CDC reports that the top seven causes of death in the United States are led by heart disease, followed by:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Accidents

Moreover, the rates of accidental deaths due to car crashes and other road deaths are quite alarming, amounting to more than 100 cases each day in the United States (usually 45 to 252 per day).

How do people die?

There are different ways in which people die. Some die naturally, some accidentally, some self-inflicted and others due to chronic and acute diseases. When people die naturally, it is mainly due to old age. Those who die because of chronic and acute diseases go through pain and hardships – physically, emotionally, and financially.

Of the known diseases that cause death, cancer is among the leading physically, emotionally, and financially draining diseases. Mesothelioma cancer, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, is an example of a financially draining disease. Its financial burden includes medical expenses, loss of income, and the compensation for suffering from pain.

How much does it cost to die?

Research performed by Professor Konrad Fassbender, of the University of Alberta in Canada shows that it costs about:

  • $39,947 for a dying patient with an organ failure
  • $36,652 for an incurable illness
  • $31,881 for weakness
  • $10,223 for a sudden death

Do people really have to die?

Science says yes because our bones get older and weaker as we get older. The body starts slowing down in all its functions, feels weak, and requires more sleep. Other symptoms of a dying person include:

  • Difficulty in waking up
  • Cannot swallow foods well
  • Not wanting to drink or eat at all
  • No bladder and bowel control
  • Painful movement

Moreover, a person who is already very near to his final moments may:

  • Have noisy breathing
  • Have cold hands, feet, legs, and arms
  • Experience confusion and disorientation
  • Have loss of consciousness

Although it may appear that the person dying is always sleeping and difficult to wake up, it does not mean that he cannot hear you. Hearing is one of the last senses to be lost before a person expires. Doctors also advise to always talk to a dying person and hold his hand because this simple effort of caring gives him comfort.

When a dying person refuses to eat or drink, it is important that you do not force him, as it will make him uncomfortable. It would be helpful if you give him cubes of ice to sip to keep his mouth moistened. Doctors suggest putting lip balm or Vaseline to keep his lips from getting sore and dry. Lemon and glycerin swabs or water are also advisable in moistening his mouth and lips every one to two hours.

The loss of control of a dying person’s bowel and bladder is because of the relaxation of muscles in these areas. However, as the dying person gets nearer to his final moments, the amount of stools and urine they produce becomes lesser.

Their hands, face, arms, feet, and legs become very cool because of lesser blood circulation in those parts. To keep them warm, cover them with blankets and thick socks but do not use an electric blanket, as it will make them uncomfortable.

While no one really wants to think about when they will die, advances in health care make the possibility of living a longer life a reality for many. No matter how long you may have on this earth, it is important to enjoy and make the most of your time while you are here.

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