Died Peacefully…

Blogs are often filled with common and uncommon rants. Perhaps how we end up in the wrong lanes at the toll booth. Or maybe the wrong line at the market. We got behind the gentleman with 19 items in the 15 or less lane. He has coupons and he wants to pay with a combination of debit card and change.

I enjoy a good rant.

The blog doesn’t often raise life or death issues… unless you are older. If you are older nearly everything becomes life or death. It’s just a fact of life, or death.

I’ve been pondering the phrase “died peacefully in their sleep”. How do we actually know that? Sure, there appears to be a lack of trauma. No visible claw marks or bites, no amputated limbs. All we really know is that a person went to sleep and then didn’t wake up in the morning.

It is the classic “death”, desired by nearly everyone. I propose that what we are really asking for is a painless death. After a lifetime of reacting to a hot oven, we want to avoid any future pain, including death.

Well, there are many examples that meet that standard. Anything that comes at you faster than the nerve signals that go to your brain. An asteroid hitting your head, a nuclear blast, a plane crash (mostly), there are hundreds of examples.

Another less widely known fact is that some trauma to the body causes the body to shut down in the area, cutting off nerves and blood flow. Being eaten by a lion might not be a painful as you think.

Most of us are certain that dying in your sleep is the least painful way to go. I think we have gotten to used to the light switch analogy. You go to sleep and a switch is turned off, and then you don’t wake up.

I don’t know. I just had an apnea sleep study. Most apnea is just a blockage of the airway while sleeping. Easily fixed in a variety of ways. Some apnea can be a central switch in the brain that forgets to turn on the breathing process.

In my mind that might not be so painless. Suffocating is not a happy time, my experience is that it is filled with panic and unease. Perhaps it’s different if you are sleeping, but no one knows for certain.

I think it is better to simply say, “he died in his sleep last night”. “Peacefully” is dying before you know what’s hit you.