Memento Mori

Bill Mattocks

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This morning, as I was driving to work, I had to slow and swerve for a young deer with a broken leg in the roadway. It was standing and trying to walk, but one of its front legs was clearly broken. I had to slow to nearly a stop, and I locked eyes with it. Fear and panic.

I pulled over and called 911 and reported it to the local police. They said they'd send someone right out.

I continued to drive to work. I possessed no means to help the deer, either by trying to fix it or by compassionately dispatching it. I don't know what the police chose to do after they arrived.

I was instantly transported back to 1981. I was a young Marine MP at Camp Pendleton, CA. I was standing guard duty at one of our northern-most gates, working the graveyard shift. When my shift ended, a van came from the Provost Marshal's Office with my replacement, and I got aboard to be driven back to PMO to turn in my weapon and stand down. I-5 bisects Camp Pendleton, north to south. As we drove south on I-5, we saw a car that had gone off the southbound I-5 road and into the ditch between north and south. We pulled over and ran over to the car.

The car had hit a tree, but the tree had bent and then broken; the broken trunk had impaled the driver from beneath the car. When I got to the driver's side, there was only the driver and so much blood. He was bleeding out from the groin area, impaled by the broken tree. His face was covered with blood and his eyes were rolling around. We locked eyes and I saw his fear and panic. We locked eyes. It was just like the deer. I was helpless to do anything for him. I tried to reassure him that help was on the way, but he was beyond hearing me and didn't acknowledge me. He just stared at me and died.

Being helpless and not knowing what to do is hard. Very hard. And it makes me feel deep guilt.

We train our minds and bodies to defend ourselves. But we will all die, and we probably won't know what day that will happen or how. Maybe how we live is as important as that we live.

Life is precious. Perhaps because it ends, not in spite of it.

That's all I have to say at the moment. Memento Mori. Peace to all.
 
This morning, as I was driving to work, I had to slow and swerve for a young deer with a broken leg in the roadway. It was standing and trying to walk, but one of its front legs was clearly broken. I had to slow to nearly a stop, and I locked eyes with it. Fear and panic.

I pulled over and called 911 and reported it to the local police. They said they'd send someone right out.

I continued to drive to work. I possessed no means to help the deer, either by trying to fix it or by compassionately dispatching it. I don't know what the police chose to do after they arrived.

I was instantly transported back to 1981. I was a young Marine MP at Camp Pendleton, CA. I was standing guard duty at one of our northern-most gates, working the graveyard shift. When my shift ended, a van came from the Provost Marshal's Office with my replacement, and I got aboard to be driven back to PMO to turn in my weapon and stand down. I-5 bisects Camp Pendleton, north to south. As we drove south on I-5, we saw a car that had gone off the southbound I-5 road and into the ditch between north and south. We pulled over and ran over to the car.

The car had hit a tree, but the tree had bent and then broken; the broken trunk had impaled the driver from beneath the car. When I got to the driver's side, there was only the driver and so much blood. He was bleeding out from the groin area, impaled by the broken tree. His face was covered with blood and his eyes were rolling around. We locked eyes and I saw his fear and panic. We locked eyes. It was just like the deer. I was helpless to do anything for him. I tried to reassure him that help was on the way, but he was beyond hearing me and didn't acknowledge me. He just stared at me and died.

Being helpless and not knowing what to do is hard. Very hard. And it makes me feel deep guilt.

We train our minds and bodies to defend ourselves. But we will all die, and we probably won't know what day that will happen or how. Maybe how we live is as important as that we live.

Life is precious. Perhaps because it ends, not in spite of it.

That's all I have to say at the moment. Memento Mori. Peace to all.
Ive seen many people died in clinical settings and I considered being the only person present in these last moments a great privilege. Ive always held their hands and said, with a smile and reassuring voice, something like dont be frightened, Im here with you and wont leave you. Youre going to a better place and youve been loved and valued while you were here. Dont be frightened匈m staying here.
 
Ive seen many people died in clinical settings and I considered being the only person present in these last moments a great privilege. Ive always held their hands and said, with a smile and reassuring voice, something like dont be frightened, Im here with you and wont leave you. Youre going to a better place and youve been loved and valued while you were here. Dont be frightened匈m staying here.
I was unable to do that and I do not believe in a better place. Dead is dead.
 
No, neither do I in the slightest, but I lied to hopefully give some sort comfort. Most are scared of oblivion 仄
oblivion interesting word. I suppose having a sense of oblivion and facing it would be scary. For some reason most do especially at the time of passing.
 
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I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.​

Mark Twain
 
oblivion interesting word. I suppose having a sense of oblivion and facing it would be scary. For some reason most do.
Oblivion - the state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening around one.
 
Oblivion - the state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening around one.
When I had my heart surgery, the drugs they gave me turned me off like a switch. I had no sensation of time passing, no dreams, no nothing. I was in my room prior to the surgery, then I was back in that room. I presume death is like that in-between time, minus the waking up part. The me that is me just stops existing. And why would it not? Nothing else of me will continue after my physical body stops functioning, so where would 'me' come from?
 
When I had my heart surgery, the drugs they gave me turned me off like a switch. I had no sensation of time passing, no dreams, no nothing. I was in my room prior to the surgery, then I was back in that room. I presume death is like that in-between time, minus the waking up part. The me that is me just stops existing. And why would it not? Nothing else of me will continue after my physical body stops functioning, so where would 'me' come from?
Yes, same with me when I was having a kidney stone removed. I awoke afterwards, in recovery, and asked, incredulously, Have you done it?!

Ill tell you what though, having anaesthesia induced with fentanyl is the most pleasurable experience Ive ever had! Everything in the room went wobbly like in cartoons and I said, Wow, is this available over the counter?
 
From a Steven Hayes book:
"Death is a gift given to us to remind us why we are here as a human being rather than a tea pot"
Of all the things that I mightve confused myself with, a teapot is not on the list!

Besides, I can think of better ways of being reminded Im a human being存uch as the progressive ability to fly.
 

I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.​

Mark Twain
The Mark Twain quote brings to mind Thich Nhat Hanh's thought-provoking book on the topic of life and death

no-death-no-fear-by-thich-nhat-hanh-bookworm-hanoi.jpg
 
So, is anesthesia like death or a coma?
Having experienced neither death nor a coma (yet), I have nothing to compare it to. All I can say is that modern general anesthesia is nothing like sleep, during which time I am unconscious yet aware of the passage of time. Modern general anesthesia seems more to me like a light switch. One moment you are on, the next you are off. When the switch is turned on again, it as if zero time has passed. You don't dream, nor do you feel rested.

The only thing I noticed after waking up from anesthesia was that my body ached from having been immobile and horizontal for several hours during my surgery. But I was not drowsy, woozy, or slow in waking up. Off and then on again.

I presume this is what death is like. Except you don't turn on again that I'm aware of.
 
Having experienced neither death nor a coma (yet), I have nothing to compare it to. All I can say is that modern general anesthesia is nothing like sleep, during which time I am unconscious yet aware of the passage of time. Modern general anesthesia seems more to me like a light switch. One moment you are on, the next you are off. When the switch is turned on again, it as if zero time has passed. You don't dream, nor do you feel rested.
Actually you can dream while under propofol anaesthesia. More worryingly, an old colleague of mine (Prof J. Andrade now at University of Plymouth) found you can learn stuff while anaesthetised! I think she used spoken lists of words! She concluded that operating theatre staff should be very careful about what they say during surgery such as, Good heavens, this patient is fu*ked/ugly/awkward/has a sexy wife/a proper twit! Also the sounds of saws and other equipment etc might be perceived causing post-operative trauma!

If I needed surgery, Id ask to have earplugs in situ for its duration.

The only thing I noticed after waking up from anesthesia was that my body ached from having been immobile and horizontal for several hours during my surgery.
Thats more likely due to something like succinylcholine, a depolarising muscle relaxant causing complete skeletal muscle paralysis so you can be intubated, artificially ventilated and is required for abdominal surgery in particular. When its injected ones muscle twitch all over the place , often against each other, causing micro tears just like weight training or dynamic tension exercises (remember those?)
But I was not drowsy, woozy, or slow in waking up. Off and then on again.
My father was an anaesthetist and after surgery he like to give a cocktail of drugs to quickly drag the patient into full consciousness, breathing and complaining a little about their pain, his philosophy being that this ensured they were alive and well. Hed control their pain after this. These days they favour a slow, steady rise back into consciousness.
I presume this is what death is like. Except you don't turn on again that I'm aware of.
Bill, when you shuffle off this mortal coil, youre more likely to find yourself being chased by tiny, screeching, horned and tailed red-skinned men wanting to poke you forcefully with hardwood cocktail sticks while boy band music is blaring out around you and the smell of a broken sewer invades your nose.圩or all eternity
 
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Bill, when you shuffle off this mortal coil, youre more likely to find yourself being chased by tiny, screeching, horned and tailed red-skinned men wanting to poke you forcefully with hardwood cocktail sticks while boy band music is blaring out around you and the smell of a broken sewer invades your nose.圩or all eternity
If I experience anything at all after my death, I will be quite put out.
 
Love those NDE stories of veterans from their wartime experiences - it would be fun to know what people like Gyakuto and Bill would say if they discovered life continues after death



 
I was always taught to refrain from talking about religion and politics outside of a private or topic specific environment. Keeps everyone a little more civil.
 

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