Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Interesting Conversations With Fellow Plane Passengers

I went on a business trip to Vegas yesterday and had interesting conversations with my fellow plane passengers to and fro.

On my way to Vegas, I sat in a row with a very bling-ed out woman and a not-so-bling-ed-out man, both probably in their 40s. We started talking about how it was amazing that R-rated (if not X-rated) photos are allowed to be passed out on the Strip to pedestrians. I laughed and said that I witnessed an older man (probably in his 70s and 80s), giddily collecting the flyers as if he was a young boy collecting baseball cards. I thought the dirty old man was strangely "cute".

The male passenger then proceeded to tell us that he has one regret in his life. He said he wished he had hired a stripper/hooker on his dad's deathbed. Whoa! TMI buddy!! He said his dad was a "dirty old man" with tubes coming out of every orifice of his body and he probably would have enjoyed seeing/touching a beautiful young woman before he went. Okaaaay.

The other passenger and I started giggling uncomfortably. To break the awkwardness, I said something to the effect of, "On my deathbed, I'm not sure I want to see a naked man." The other passenger hastily added, "I want someone to bring me a big diamond. That would make me smile." We were able to change the topic from there.

But the man's comment did get me thinking -- what I would want on my deathbed? Having my loved one by my side is a given. But is there something more that could bring me joy in that circumstance? Can something that is bought allow me to go in peace? Hmmm... I'd have to think about that.

On my return flight, I sat next to a man who works for a local upstart company called Pathway Genomics. It's one of those companies that you send samples of your saliva to test your DNA for information regarding your ancestral path and genetic disease and conditions. The ancestral path test costs $199 and the health test costs $250.

My father suffers from dementia, which may or may not be a precursor to Alzheimer's disease. I'm so afraid of developing this condition that I avoid aluminum products. I am strongly tempted to partake in this test just to find out.

This got me wondering - Do I really want to know what disease I may be prone to? Would the results encourage me to be healthier? But if the disease has no cure, would I be unnecessarily devastated?

I've got some questions for my readers:
  1. On your deathbed, other than having your loved ones at your side, is there something you'd want?
  2. Would you pay $250 to find out about potentially inherited diseases?


Little Miss Moneybags said...

I can't think of anything I'd want to see "one last time" on my deathbed aside from my family. I prefer to have a "last time" without realizing it.

Would I want to find out about inheritable disease? Absolutely, without a doubt. Nothing seems to run in my family consistently, but if something like Alzheimer's or breast cancer did, you can bet I'd be finding out what my risks were.

The novel Still Alice discusses a woman with early onset and how her three children deal with figuring out whether they want to know their own risks. I read it for a book club and was really moved by it.

Christine said...

On my death bed I think I would want some homecooked lumpia and to be baptised. I am not very religious, but it would kind of be my mental backup notion that I would (hopefully) be going to the right place. Knowing me, I would probably get stuck in purgatory. ;)

And I am not into the genetic testing from saliva, but I am rather considering having a body scan done to detect clogged arteries, potential tumors, etc... Especially, since heart disease *cross my fingers* is prevalant in my family.

You post is good food for thought.

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-I wouldn't want anything really, just my close relatives at my deathbed. Not sure about paying out to find out about diseases,I'll pass on that one.

Ssmith28 said...

On my deathbed I want my last rights (catholic), but nothing would be more important that having my childrent there. (Wow I got all teary)

As far as the genetic testing. No. My mother has breast cancer and is positive for the Her2 gene meaning my sister and I are have like a 98% of getting breast cancer. We can test now and find out. But I am sorry-I am 8 mos pregnant and have a two year old. I do not want to stare at their sweet little faces and know a darkened future awaits me and them. I know the point can be arguable with available treatment and such-but I am too young to want to know just yet.

paranoidasteroid said...

I want a naked man there while I'm on my deathbed! That would be awesome. My mother would be appalled.

If there's something that runs in your family, I would get tested. In my family, it's mostly just bad eyesite and high cholesterol, so I guess I'll find out if I have those anyway.

DogAteMyFinances said...

Hmm, I think you just inspired a post for me. The problem with genetic testing in the US is that you have to be as healthy as possible to buy insurance if you aren't on a corporate plan, and even then sometimes.

So, I would tend to think these tests could really bite you in the ass in ways you don't expect. Or, worse, insurance companies could do them on you.

MoneyMateKate said...

My last solo trip to Vegas, my seatmate was a stripper who lived in NYC and was licensed to work the Nevada club scene. Conversation was wayyyyyy less cerebral, and full of juicy TMI!!

I submitted my DNA to the Genographics Project conducted by National Geographic - $99. But if they've collected all the samples they wanted (either 100,000 or 200,000 - can't quite remember), then maybe that's not an option anymore.

I have no deathbed wishes, other than to never experience the deathbed. I'd rather go skydiving and have the parachute fail. That would give me a deathsplat instead.

Abigail said...

I don't think there's a single thing, other than family, that I would want at my deathbed. What use are material things?

Oh, wait, scratch that: My Humpty Dumpty. I was born a month early, and so they hadn't had a shower for me. (Good thing, too, because apparently I was supposed to be a boy, according to my heartbeat!) So my grandmother raced into town and found a "Cumfy Dumfy" doll. He became something of a family member and I still have all the ones from my childhood. (Actually, we still give them as gifts to everyone we know who has a baby. They're very appealing to infants for some reason. So that would, I think, bring me a strange sort of comfort.

Miss M said...

Wow, never thought about it. I don't think there is anything I'd want. But the comments are interesting, Kate with her death splat, yikes. The mental image isn't pretty.

Shtinkykat said...

@ LMM: Thanks for letting me know about the novel. I may check it out.

@ Christine: Assuming I still have the ability to eat, I think I'd want my favorite food too.

@ SharonRose: Close relatives are always a good choice.

@ Ssmith28: I totally understand why you wouldn't want to get the test.

@ ParanoidAsteroid: Ha ha. I'm imagining your family members wondering, "Why is there a naked man standing there?"

@ Dog: These tests aren't funded by insurance and they're confidential. But then again, it raises the ethical issue of whether to disclose this information when applying for insurance...

@ MMK: Egads. That sounds way too painful for me! I want to go quickly but probably in my sleep.

@ Abby: Funny you should mention your Dumpty. I was thinking that I'd want my blankie!

@ MissM: I think this question stumps a lot of people too.

Money Funk said...

I was thinking they might beable to puree the lumpia and have it dripped through my feeding tube. ha!

And MMK, what a way to go. Least it would be quick! lol!

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