Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dr. Oz on Death

Today, Oprah has a show all about death and the way we in America talk about it. It's a rerun, but I didn't get a chance to post about it the first time it aired. I'd like to mention a couple of points from the episode. First, I really like the description Dr. Oz (Oprah's resident medical expert) gives of the general problem our country has with talking about death. He says:

"We do not do death well in America. Americans like to win, and we see death as losing. ... Death is an integral part of this amazing life that we have the ability to live."

Hear, hear. Also, one of the people featured in the show is a young woman named Kris who has cancer that is at a point at which it cannot be cured. Essentially, she must live long-term with the cancer that will most likely one day kill her. It's quite moving to watch her discuss all of the things she has learned from this experience. Kris phrases it thus: "Cancer is my guru."

Kris discusses her decision to marry her boyfriend, despite her medical situation. She didn't want her health condition to stop her from living life. After all, none of us has any certainty really. But one thing she did change was the traditional vows. Kris and her groom did not say, "Until death do us part." Kris explained on the show that she thought that would be too melodramatic. And she's probably right. In her case, it would have been very immediate and had an aching literal feel. It's so impressive how light-hearted and present she is about her situation.

TLC did a documentary on Kris titled Crazy Sexy Cancer. I didn't watch it because I found the name to be in such poor taste, and the advertising for the special was just silly and didn't convey this woman's attitude or strength at all. I wish now that I had seen it. Here's a link to the documentary's webpage though.

And here's a link to the webpage for today's Oprah show, although as I've said before, I don't love linking to Oprah's website. I think it's outdated in its organization and use of technology. The content is good though, so it's still worth a visit sometimes.

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