First, she knew this was coming but there's some other things I want to wrap up.
First, she knew this was coming. She closed her store the week before she went into the hospital (and had been trying to sell it for months).
She told lots of people she was tired and thought something bad was going to happen. She even, after having the first proceedure completed successfully, thought she cheated death.
But, she had some wacky beliefs. It's why I wasn't very close with her. She was VERY into alternative medicine and didn't believe in doctors at all.
That belief might have cost her some time here. We'll never know for sure.
One reason I wanted to share this is if you aren't feeling well, go see a doctor, even if you don't have health insurance. It might save your life.
Dave Winer told me stories similar. We all get stubborn and don't want to hear bad news. So we put off that kind of stuff until absolutely necessary.
In my mom's case she had more than a liter of fluid around her heart that had been getting worse over a matter of months.
Not going into the doctor made that initial heart condition much worse than it would have been had it been caught early.
Coming back from Montana I sat next to a lady who was reading a best-selling book on alternative medicine. I almost talked to her about my mom but decided against it. My mom wouldn't listen to reason. I got the sense that this lady sitting next to me believed strongly in alternative medicine too and so wouldn't listen to reason either.
But, I read over her shoulder some of the book. The author (who I won't name here, cause he's already preyed on too many) takes a decided anti-corporate stance.
That anti-corporate attitude makes it easy to prey on people, particularly older people who are scared of the Walmarts and Microsoft's and other big companies.
I don't know how to solve that. More will die cause of the fear of the doctor. Of the corporations. Of the hospitals. Of misunderstanding scientific principles. Of not believing true experts. (Hey, I'm not one, so don't believe me, but don't believe everything you read in books or on the Internet either).
One of her doctors, on hearing this, said he always listens when people say that they think they are going to die soon. He says that actually comes true a lot of times, so he takes that very seriously and looks harder for problems.
Over the past two weeks I find myself wondering "what if?"
Seemed like something good to remind everyone else of too.
Oh, and whether or not you believe in alternative medicine, at least do what my mom did. Have a will drawn up. Make sure everyone knows where your bank accounts are and what you want to happen in case something bad happens in the hospital and the family needs to decide on your behalf whether you should be kept alive or not. One other thing I wish she had done? Made it easier to find all of her friends and family's phone numbers. That reminds me to do some cleaning on my contacts and printing them out.
Anyway, some things to think about.