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Posted: March 22, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Thanking the age of modern medicine

The truth of the matter is that most of us have a great deal to be thankful for of all the discoveries that have made modern medicine a pure miracle.

If we hadn’t lived in this age of discovery many of us, based on our past family history, might not still be here on this great earth of ours.

I was thinking the other day that it hasn’t seemed that long ago that I used to think it was so funny that the first thing my grandparents looked at in their daily paper was the obituaries.

I myself, now as a matter of habit, pull up the obits on my local home town paper’s website and occasionally see an old classmate has left us. I grieve about that a bit and then move on.

I used to fear death until I had the opportunity to work with hospice a few years ago in Arizona.

In my two years with the program I saw and experienced things that made any fear or concern that I might have go away.

I spent countless hours with people that were for all purposes on their way back home.

I found out that it is not true that all people face their final hours seeking forgiveness or in peace.

They taught us in Hospice that you can’t change how a person is going to spend their last hours on this earth and that if a person had a mean spirit as a youth they were going to have a mean spirit as they grew and generally they weren’t going to change as they faced death.

I will never forget the time that we had a 1-year-old baby in the hospice house, the family was around the baby 24 hours a day but the child lasted. Someone had contacted the child’s grandfather who lived in Mexico, and in a few days a dusty, wrinkled by the sun,  mud caked older man appeared knowing no English, but we surmised he was there to see the baby. He walked in the room, picked up the baby and said something I didn’t understand and the baby died in his arms. The baby who was grey and contorted with pain had the look of a glowing angel.

I have talked to people who went back in their lives and described a happy time and place and did so vividly, that you felt you were there yourself.

I have held people’s hands as their eyes would brighten and they would tell me that one relative or another was in the room with us. I never saw anyone they did.

One time we had an elderly gentleman who was in a coma he was quite disturbed he kept moving his hand up his blanket in a peculiar way, one of my volunteers who was not a Catholic told me that it looked like he was trying to say a Rosary, we put a set of rosary beads in his hand and he calmed down immediately and soon he left us.

These are just a few of the stories that touched my life. We are fortunate as baby boomers, to live in this age. For sure things aren’t perfect, and from time to time we feel sorry for ourselves, but in the long run it’s great to be alive and full of energy in this age of modern miracle and medicals from God that we and He have created.

 

T. Pat Cavanaugh is the publisher of The News. He can be contacted at 770-787-6397 or pcavanaugh@covnews.com.

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