Fear of Dying
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Fear of Dying
Comments by Rod Preece - 13 Dec 2004

Perhaps a very common occurrence in the threat of death may be rather more mundane than some imagine. I am suggesting that when the threat is sudden, as with, say, a brain hemorrhage, the afflicted person may well have no real consciousness of his or her predicament.

When in my own recent illness my wife was informed I had little chance of survival and would probably die within five days, fortunately no one told me. The brain being affected, several consequences followed. I asked to be taken off life support.

My wife had to make an emergency trip across town to get to me to explain that being taken off life support would almost certainly result in my death. Quite honestly I had made no logical connection between life and death; I didn't like the discomfort and pain of life support but it never struck me that the alternative was death.

When on a subsequent date I overheard a physician tell my wife: "We nearly lost him last night" it did not enter my head that I had been close to death. I was more interested in my hallucinations, imagining a young man riding around the intensive care unit on a motorcycle!!

When the brain is afflicted, I think the ill may imagine themselves in a Neverland where the most obvious logical connections are simply not made. One may be close to death but one has no conception of it or what it means. There is no fear or other heightened emotion because common sense has temporarily departed.


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