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posted: 12/10/2013 5:00 AM

Living, dying with dignity is goal

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With a great deal of empathy, I read Randy Gollay's Nov. 10 letter, "You cannot know when your time is up." He has gone through a lot, but he appears to be a real fighter and will, hopefully, be around for a long time.

It is true that we don't know exactly when our time is up, but in some instances, perhaps rarely, we can come reasonably close. While Mr. Gollay has dealt with three potentially fatal health issues, I am more fortunate because I am dealing with only one.

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When I was told that I have a very serious heart condition and that open heart surgery was the only way the odds favored living longer than the next year or two, my first thought was, "What about my quality of life during that gift of extra years?" After all, having regular appointments with six different specialists is a testament to the health problems this 79-year-old+ body is enduring.

I realized that the journey of open heart surgery and a very prolonged rehab mainly served to make me available for all my other potentially serious health problems later on. I decided it's a road I don't want to travel. My quality of life would plummet, and that's not my idea of "living." I'd rather take my last breath with the dignity of living at home with my family and my dogs without tubes and machines keeping me alive.

Although I don't know exactly when my time will come, I do have a pretty good idea. Odds are I'll be around for my 80th birthday in April, but the odds aren't good for my 81st. To paraphrase Alfred Lord Tennyson, "God's finger will touch me and I will sleep". I'm OK with that.

Len Brauer

Palatine

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