Would you prefer to die in a hospital or out alone in a tent?

7:58 a.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
225 reviewer rep
1,180 forum posts

This is a good topic but here's a more interesting question:

 

Would you prefer to die in a hospital or out alone in a tent in some wilderness?

The premise of the question, "If you had only one trip before you died" can be augmented with the above question, and it then becomes: When I feel death approaching, would I have the courage to head out into the woods and sign off next to a waterfall or up on an open bald?

9:28 a.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
200 reviewer rep
4,080 forum posts
Re: If you only had one more trip before you died....

I would really like to hike the length of the Grand Canyon like Colin Fletcher did in his "The Man Who Walked Thru Time" book. But videotape it for all to enjoy!

As far as dying either in a hospital bed or in the woods, I would prefer the woods. Somewhere calm and peaceful, with a good view!

10:46 a.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
501 reviewer rep
2,995 forum posts
Re: If you only had one more trip before you died....

Would you prefer to die in a hospital or out alone in a tent in some wilderness?

Well, having spent this past winter watching my father die, reading a lot about death and dying and how those natural occurrences are treated in this country, and becoming more familiar with hospice, I'd definitely prefer not to be in a hospital.

I'd just want to be someplace comfortable and comforting, for me and perhaps my closest family and friends. That might be at home or outside somewhere close by and familiar, it would depend on the circumstances.

However, I don't think I'd specifically wander off to die alone in the woods, since I wouldn't want to cause worry or trouble for my family and friends and the people who might have to search for or recover my body (whether I wanted them to or not). I'd prefer to go out with as little impact as possible.

However, I can think of worse ways to pass on than in my sleep in my tent, at the age of 100, after a great day in the wilderness.

4:02 p.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
200 reviewer rep
4,080 forum posts
Re: If you only had one more trip before you died....

I had a good friend who died in his sleep in his tent camping out near Jackson Wyoming. Seems he asphyxiated after going to sleep after putting shoe goo on his boots. His tent was reported camping within the city limits but was not checked out until he had been missing for a week. He was found dead in his sleeping bag with his boots beside him. That was about 13 years ago.

4:30 p.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
200 reviewer rep
649 forum posts
Re: If you only had one more trip before you died....

Tipi Walter asked

Would you prefer to die in a hospital or out alone in a tent in some wilderness?

For me the answer would be out deep in the wilderness someplace.

4:36 p.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
501 reviewer rep
2,995 forum posts
Re: If you only had one more trip before you died....

I'm sorry, Gary. That is a sad story.

I amend my answer to dying of natural causes at a very old age.

6:13 p.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
3 reviewer rep
170 forum posts
Re: If you only had one more trip before you died....

I'd like to either back pack through the Black Hills or head back to the Olympics and the High Divide there. I took a detour through Rapid City and the Black Hills a few weeks ago while transferring from Michigan to California and fell in love with the place.

My dad passed with about three days notice which was much easier on our family than a long illness. I would prefer to be out in the middle of the woods when the buckey finally kicks me.

10:17 p.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
84 forum posts
Re: If you only had one more trip before you died....

Perhaps I would like to hike the length of Vancouver Island, or perhaps the Pacific Crest Trail?

For those who have lost friends or family I am sorry for your loss.

Alicia perhaps this part could be opened up as a new topic?

“Would you prefer to die in a hospital or out alone in a tent in some wilderness?”

Over the last two years I have lost both my mother and my father-in-law.

I think that I would prefer to pass away in a hospital, or as Alicia says “someplace comfortable and comforting.”

At this point I don’t see it as much about the courage to go out but more respect for others who might or would find my remains. Locally, (within a hundred miles,) over the past few years hikers, people out walking their dogs, that kind of thing, have come across the remains of people who had past away in the outdoors. For most it has been traumatic experiences that they have to live with after. A fare amount of time is taken up by the police, emt’s, as well as the various search and rescue people investigating such places. One individual comes to mind that had the fortune or misfortune to be found and identified twice by the RCMP over a number of years. His story was that he had gone missing, reported missing, a portion of his remains found and identified as probably belonging to him, (before all the DNA and science stuff) taken of the missing person list. Recently a couple exploring a piece of property before buying the property found his remains and contacted the RCMP who identified him a second time.

No I think that I would prefer quickly, in a hospital or someplace comfortable and comforting. At least in a hospital there are people trained to help, medical practices that can help to make you comfortable as well as the medications that could take the edge off almost any pain. Family or friends if they chose to be around, as opposed to those who would be there thinking it their duty.

11:17 a.m. on June 26, 2009 (EDT)
TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
1,242 reviewer rep
257 forum posts

Great for me...lousy for the recovery team!

3:04 p.m. on June 26, 2009 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
316 reviewer rep
664 forum posts

This brings to mind the strange case of Guy Waterman, who made that decision quite deliberately. The story, more or less from Guy's side, is told in the book Good Morning Midnight by Chip Brown. Guy went up Mount Lafayette in New Hampshire's White Mountains one winter day and lay down and died. His wife of many years, Laura, was in on the plan, let him go and waited a day or two before notifying the authorities. It would be much simpler if he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, but instead it was the culmination of a lifelong battle with depression, which might well have been treatable, but he did not want to live out his life on medication. Post-analysis seems to be divided into (at least) two camps, one with a kind of respect and awe that he could be so decisive and forthright, the other more of "how could he do this to her?" (and their many friends, some of whom had to bear him off the mountain) point of view. I tend to fall more towards the first pole, but my wife, who crossed paths with the Watermans a couple of times, is more in the latter camp. Laura has written her own memoir, which I haven't yet read.

So, this too could be great topic for a new thread: what do you all think of Waterman's suicide? (Or has this already been done??)

The tent/hospital dichotomy is a bit artificial. On the face of it, I'll take the tent, but there's a big 'it depends' element there. In the pure case that I could know that my time was up and I had the presence of mind and spiritual strength to go forthrightly, definitely the tent, although I think any surviving family should have the right to be with me. But there is a whole universe of other more complicated ways to go, many of which land you in the hospital bed (whether you want to be there or not), or maybe some third place in between (Alicia's version, maybe the best solution in many cases)? Then there's always skiing yourself an avalanche fracture and going out in a blaze of powder...

4:00 p.m. on June 26, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
580 forum posts

On the suicide issue:

When my daughter was 19 she took her own life, in her bedroom with a firearm. Within seconds we were there. Of course our presence made no difference, but I've always been glad that she did it at home, in comfortable surroundings rather than deep in the woods where we would not know for months or years. A couple we know lost a nineteen year-old son that way - suicide in the woods - and didn't know anything about his disappearance until the following spring.

Now, as to dieing, anywhere but a hospital. Put me in a dumpster to die, drop me in a river, just not a hospital. As for dieing on a remote bald...how would I ever get to say some great last words?? : )

6:16 p.m. on June 26, 2009 (EDT)
153 reviewer rep
460 forum posts

This may sound horrible, but last year nearing the the end of the Season for the Park job I was planning on expiring in my tent. I even posted the same on my Ad on yahoo personals. It was morbid! My theme song was "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YE9t6MjUhT8

I said years ago (while still living in Akron Ohio) if things did not work out for me in Wisconsin I would head to the Missouri Ozarks and simply sleep eternal sleep, in my tent of course. I much rather perish in my tent then in some place my soul hateth. So far the desire to live has been in place, Praise God. I am hanging in there. :)

7:08 p.m. on June 26, 2009 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

Those of us who have, as a part of our employment, had to recover decomposed human remains and SEEN the effects of this upon family members and friends have a little bit different idea about this issue. My wife was an "outpost" RN some 35 years ago in the Yukon and Northwest Territories and my younger brother is a "paramedic" here with extensive training and experience in rescue/recovery of lost hikers, skiers, climbers and so forth.....they do not seem to agree with the rather romantic attitudes expressed here.

I had a collegue, over 40 years ago, in the BC Forest Service who was the "junior" in a Ranger District and got the task of going out, in the heat of August, to assist the R.C.M.P. with finding and removing the corpse of an old trapper from his cabin, after he had decerebrated himself with his .303 several days before....I can go on with factual stories like this of my own experience, but, will not for obvious reasons. That said, I think a hospice or home death with medical attention is FAR superior to dying in a tent in the bush.

8:13 p.m. on June 27, 2009 (EDT)
153 reviewer rep
460 forum posts

Those of us who have, as a part of our employment, had to recover decomposed human remains and SEEN the effects of this upon family members and friends have a little bit different idea about this issue....they do not seem to agree with the rather romantic attitudes expressed...That said, I think a hospice or home death with medical attention is FAR superior to dying in a tent in the bush.

Dewey,

Here is another "rant" from me as ye call it.

There is nothing "romantic" about death. As I once heard it put so eloquenty "death is a selfish lover".

Many prefer to live out their last days in a tent for the obvious reason expressed here in the previous post. Most rather leave this world in the comfort and serenity of their tents in the place that meaneth the most to them: in the forest.

Your alternative is only for the Knute Larson's of the world. Afterall he was very wealthy.

5:56 a.m. on June 28, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

LOL....Not me. I'll be kicking and screaming in the hospital with a team of Dr.'s....and any one of you that goes anywhere near that plug......I'll haunt you forever!!!!!!!

tm

11:09 a.m. on July 2, 2009 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
501 reviewer rep
2,995 forum posts

ovemywaders, I'm very sorry for your family's loss of your daughter. I'm sure it is a loss that you all feel deeply in many ways.

BigRed, I'd also been thinking of the Waterman case. I wouldn't follow his path, for the many reasons already outlined above. I would not want my death to have harder consequences on my family, friends, and even strangers. But, I can't pretend to know how he felt dealing with a lifetime of depression. So, I'm sympathetic to his emotional state and sorry that he felt that was the only, or best, option available.

That said, I'm equally sympathetic to his family, friends, and even strangers who've had to deal with the consequences of his decision. So, it's not an either-or situation for me. I'm just sorry that his illness had such far-reaching consequences for many people.

I think this topic has been very interesting. Many people are afraid to even imagine the context of death, but it's an eventuality for everyone, whether we like it or not. I'll also be fighting till the end, but when the end was in sight, hopefully I'd be able to make choices to ensure a comfortable, positive end.

12:26 p.m. on July 2, 2009 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,329 reviewer rep
5,255 forum posts

As one of the consequences of being an Old GreyBearded One, I have seen the passing of many friends, relatives, climbing and hiking companions. Currently, we are dealing with the imminent passing of Barb's favorite uncle, who fell a few days ago and suffered a concussion that was not diagnosed properly for several days (a concussion involves bruising and bleeding of the brain, which is often signaled by headaches due to the pressure building due to the fluid buildup, but in this case was masked by the atrophy of the brain with age - he is 95 yo). He has 2 daughters, one of whom is in a full-time care facility. This is one of those "no choice, you end in the hospital" cases.

Just a couple weeks ago, a climbing partner died in a car accident on his way to a weekend of climbing (Brutus, who I posted a note about in the Climbing forum). Not in the wilderness, and not doing what he loved so much, but it was apparently instantaneous. 10 years ago, John (aka Zippo), a climbing partner and an active participant on the original rec.climbing.useful website that spawned Trailspace died from hypothermia while climbing Shasta - doing what he loved, but not at a time and place of his choice. That one involved a major search effort (Brutus was one of the group that eventually found John 6 weeks later).

Over the last 15 years, Barb and I have lost parents, all in hospital and hospice situations. I have lost mentors (both professional mentors and climbing/outdoor mentors) and friends, some while climbing or doing something else they loved, most, though, spending their last days in a hospital or hospice situation.

Sometimes you get a choice, or make a choice. But mostly it happens when it happens with no choice on your part. No matter what, it is always hard on others, whether they be loved ones who are close (spouse, child, siblings, or, perhaps worst of all emotionally, a parent whose child dies before them), or the police, paramedics, firemen, search and rescue, who have to find the remains, perhaps extracting them from a burned-out building, twisted wreck, or finding only the skull somewhere in the wilderness (like the "Jane Doe" who was finally identified 2 years after her skull was found in the mountains not far from here).

Some of the people, like Guy Waterman, choose to go off somewhere do so because they feel they cannot suffer any longer, whether it is a physical problem (perhaps very painful) or an emotional one (others in Waterman's family have ended their lives as well, based on a couple books I have read). But even when this path is taken because the person feels abandoned and alone, with no one caring, it always turns out that there are others who did care. And those who have to search for and recover the body suffer as well, even when they have been trained and professionally for just this task.

Remember, choosing a hospital or a tent does not just affect you. It affects many others as well. I do not want to suffer a long and painful passing, of course, or spend months as a vegetable - I do not think anyone does. That's why I have a DNR in my wallet and on file with my doctor. I would rather practice LNT in passing as I do in living. A hospital produces one of the least messes to clean up, but so does disappearing into a crevasse (except that involves great risk to searchers).

In the end, though, there probably will not be a choice. What will happen will happen, and will probably be unexpected.

7:05 p.m. on July 2, 2009 (EDT)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
983 reviewer rep
3,470 forum posts

I have been reading this thread with interest and giving it some thought. I also wish to express my sorrow for those who have lost loved ones and dear friends.

My parents are still alive, my mother has Scleroderma which is an auto immune disease that affects the muscles, joints, and finally the organs. It has been very hard for me to watch the long painful ordeal she has suffered through the past 14 years. Most people who die from this disease in the hospital are on heavy doses of morphine. Both my parents have won my respect many times over and in so doing have set the bar high. I do my best to honor my mother and father. I will remember how they lived more than where they died I think.

I have lost two friends...very close friends, who died in combat fighting for a cause they saw as greater than themselves. This was a personal conviction of theirs, they were not just sheep following orders. As best we know their death was instant. They died with honor, protecting the lives of those who could not defend themselves, something that too few people understand anything about these days thanks in large part to media outlets driven by their own insane and twisted agendas. I did not realize how slanted the news is until their death and I saw the arrogant disrespect and deception at play by the media. I will remember how they lived, and their great commitment to freedom for all people more than I will remember the spot where they died.

After much thought, I do think that if I have a choice I wish to die with medical care, in a way that gives my family as much closure as possible. Mostly I wish to have had a positive impact on my family and society, to have been able to impart a sense of morality, and a desire to help others. I wish for those who I am not aligned with philosophically to say I was fair in my discussions and debates and always took the high road without stooping to character attacks and spreading lies for a lack of substantive discourse.

I wish to die at peace with the way I have lived my life, whether rich or poor, famous or not.

I want to die with dignity and honor. Where I die is not as important

7:21 p.m. on July 2, 2009 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
501 reviewer rep
2,995 forum posts

I wish to die at peace with the way I have lived my life, whether rich or poor, famous or not.

I want to die with dignity and honor. Where I die is not as important

Nicely said.

7:28 p.m. on July 2, 2009 (EDT)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
983 reviewer rep
3,470 forum posts

Sorry for the editing guys, I just had to add a few things.

9:31 p.m. on July 3, 2009 (EDT)
314 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts

For me, home, wherever that may be. But I'm in no hurry, and have maybe 30 yeas left. So I'll let the chips fall where they will. Untell then live life and hike where I will.

9:54 p.m. on July 3, 2009 (EDT)
200 reviewer rep
649 forum posts

Trouthunter

I want to die with dignity and honor. Where I die is not as important

A-Men

12:19 a.m. on July 4, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
19 forum posts

My father passed away about this time last year. Cerebral aneurysm--dead before he hit the floor. While it was socking and sad, I'm glad I didnt have to watch him wither away into nothing. Even though I miss him terribly, I'm glad we were on really good terms and I got to tell him I loved him a few days before (a lot of times that isnt the case with sons and fathers).

Will I be that lucky? I have faith in medicine to do good things, but I'm also a realist. If it's terminal, I'm going out on my terms.

I have been to distant lands and seen people die and the one thing that haunts me the most is that some of them had nobody to hold them or be with them when they passed.

I just hope I get to do all things I want to do and make a positive impact on the people I love before it happens.

If I can dictate the terms of my death, I hope it is peaceful, with my wife holding me, having lived a satisfying life. If it's in the woods, so be it. I can say it won't be in the hospital if I can help it.

July 29, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: Old Woodsmans Newer: Mantracker!
All forums: Older: Dana Astralplane - $200 + s&h Newer: Silicone Seam Sealer Remover