Sunday, June 01, 2008

Bad Ways to Die

I was reading about how seals are endangered by rogue icebergs. A seal needs oxygen, and so, if the ice plate is too large, they eventually suffocate. In the BBC series 'The Blue Earth', there's a poignant story about beluga whales living in the Artic that assiduously scrape holes for breathing with their teeth in between feeding on fish. Eventually, their teeth are scraped to nubs, they are no longer able to maintain their air hole, and so they die. Thus, every scrape that maintains the lifeline, runs down the enamel on their teeth, one step closer to death.

And then, when I went to northern Minnesota, I was listened to a ranger talk about the fate of elderly moose (mooses? meese?). It seems, as they get older, they basically have two scenarios for them. In one, as they get old and they loose their ability to rub against trees and do other things to protect themselves, so ticks eventually overwhelm them and they bleed to death. In the other scenario, they become so weak wolves overwhelm them, and they are literally disemboweled.

That makes a nursing home death seem not so bad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude, what you should be afraid of is not the nursing home death, but the drawn-out hospital stroke/dementia death that saps all the assets you worked your whole life to accumulate.