On reading this, I was struck by how often the difference between tolerable and unacceptable was a byproduct of whether or not the individuals concerned were willing to view the options rationally. Obviously, people who enter into end-of-life scenarios blindly fare poorly.
But I was struck, in particular, by the fellow who refused pain medication, fearing that it would leave him dependent. One can’t fairly expect that someone who is in a circumstance prone to rendering one confused and disoriented to make a lot of rational decisions, but that’s kind of the point of thinking these things through beforehand. No one wants to wind up spending their last weeks bored, sick and depressed, but the vast majority do.
And the people most likely to oppose such suggestions invariably have no exposure to the actual consequence whatsoever.
There’s still a long ways to go in terms of reforming hospice care and procedure.
Until that’s been accomplished, however, there is no substitute for checking the lay of the land periodically.