Death vs. Pestilence

The new figures on international life expectancy just came out, with the U.S. ranking a dismal 42nd. Still, the average life expectancy has increased to 77.9 years for the average person in this country.

That doesn’t mean you’ll have a pain-free life, of course. You might have a chronic disease for decades, and you’ll probably spend several weeks every year sick with a cold. So here’s the question: Would you give up a portion of your life in exchange for having perfect health? Let’s say you could live to be 65 with perfect health, as opposed to 78 with health problems. What would you do? I'm betting the answer has to do with your overall health.


trb48 said...

That is an interesting question. To tell the truth, I don't get sick very often. When I was a missionary, I was always getting sick, and some other missionaries told me to wash my hands more. I started to, and it actually works. The only time I get sick is when I get really stressed out.

So, to answer your question, I would not trade years of my life for health...

larry said...

Health experts refer to "compression of morbidity." That is, the goal is to remain healthy as long as possible, greatly shortening the length of the slide from being (relatively) healthy to being dead. Picture a line graph that only gradually slopes toward death. At some point it takes a sharp drop into eternity, but the drop (terminal morbidity I guess you'd call it) takes place over a relatively short time.

Personally, I'd like to live a long, healthy, vigorous, righteous life. Make all the necessary arrangements. Say my goodbyes. Spend 30 seconds or so terminally ill with plenty of drugs to ease any pain. And die.