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#MicroblogMondays 72: One Extra Year

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A few months ago, Gizmodo asked a question in a post: how much would you pay to live one extra year?  With expensive life-extending drugs a possibility, how much should we consider spending in order to grab another year?  And who should foot the bill?  And who gets the limited supply of drugs?  Will this be the latest division of class: those who can afford the extra time and those who have to make do with the time allotted?  It’s already the case with treatments for common diseases.

But if you strip away all the questions about medications and the worth of certain lives more than others, it comes down to a thought-provoking question.  If you were decently comfortable and mobile, how much would you pay for an additional year of life?  Is it worth take out a second mortgage or borrowing money that your loved ones will pay back?  What number is too high when it comes to grabbing time?  And is there any way you could walk away from that choice if it was possible to make?

The question chilled me to my core.


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1. Just Heather 15. * Our Wish* 29. Vaibhav
2. Uma S 16. Shilpa 30. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
3. Jessica 17. Parul | Happiness & Food 31. Cynthia Samuels
4. articulation 18. Cristy 32. Mali (A Separate Life)
5. Persnickety 19. Waiting to Expand 33. Shail
6. Catwoman73 20. Solo Mama 34. Kasey
7. Anks 21. One and Done? 35. Jess
8. Lori @ Laughing IS Conceivable 22. good families do 36. Middle Girl
9. No Baby Ruth 23. Traci York, Writer 37. Junebug
10. JB 24. Mali (No Kidding) 38. Kechara
11. Geochick 25. Vinitha 39. deathstar
12. Failing at Haiku 26. Aly @ Breathe Gently 40. Amber
13. Isabelle 27. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled)
14. Non Sequitur Chica 28. Virginia


1 Parul { 01.11.16 at 5:25 am }

Oh my God! Never thought of that. If my loved ones are around, I may not mind paying but how much – can’t say really. Too hard to think.

2 Queenie { 01.11.16 at 5:29 am }

I don’t really want to contemplate this–I’d pay anything to ensure that I have time to watch my kids grow up. We all would, wouldn’t we?

3 JustHeather { 01.11.16 at 6:05 am }

This has never crossed my mind in this exact way. In hindsight, I would have paid A LOT so that my mom could have at least known I finally got pregnant, even if that year would have ended before he was born. I can only now imagine all the things I could have asked and been told. Other than that, this is a huge idea I’m not sure I really want to ponder too deeply.

4 UmaS { 01.11.16 at 6:18 am }

I would love to do things best in the time I live and not worry about extending one more year of lifetime !! Esp, I wanna travel 😀

5 Jessica { 01.11.16 at 6:32 am }

There must be reasons why we have a limited life span. I would stick to the time I have, and make the best use of it.

6 Jendeis { 01.11.16 at 7:22 am }

What if it’s not an additional year at the end? What if, instead, you think of the extra year as being in the middle, like 42 part one and 42 part two?

7 Persnickety { 01.11.16 at 7:33 am }

I don’t know if I would pay. I had a conversation today about the opposite- people who choose to end it as a result of illness.
If I could add an extra year in the middle of life- where I am mobile and thinking and not in pain, that would be worth something. To add it at the end- I have read too much about the costs at the end to want to add to it.

8 Catwoman73 { 01.11.16 at 7:47 am }

I wouldn’t pay. First of all, I’m extremely frugal, and I would rather leave my family with that money. Secondly, I would hope that by the end of my life, I wouldn’t feel the need to live any longer. I’ve really embraced the whole philosophy of living every day as though it were my last, so I would hope that I would have done and said everything I need to by then to be able to leave this world feeling completely at peace.

9 Middle Girl { 01.11.16 at 7:52 am }

Any decision would be, in part at least, predicated on knowing what was around the corners within that year. And since we generally don’t know what the coming days bring . . .

Huge question. Much food for thought.

10 andy { 01.11.16 at 7:52 am }

for me it would depend on what year I was getting…. this year when my son is 13 and I am 46? I would consider paying as much as I could without leaving my family impoverished. If it was my 80th year and I had seen my family grow up and lived a decently long life… then no, I would not pay for extra time.

11 anks { 01.11.16 at 8:14 am }

I wouldn’t pay anything… just live out my time… that is it!

12 No Baby Ruth { 01.11.16 at 8:21 am }

I agree with what Andy says above – it depends HUGELY on the year of life we’re talking about. Now? When my children are tiny? Absolutely. Much later in life? Likely no. My grandmother is 91 and has been saying since she turned 90 that she is ready to go. She’s in quite good health, mind you, and can still travel a good bit, even on an airplane. I think she’s just ready to be done.

13 JB { 01.11.16 at 9:32 am }

It would depend on the year, as others have said. Now, I would pay because I have two small children. and I think my husband would say there is no price too great to pay for time with them. If I’m 80? No. I would make my peace with it and know that it was my time. But I think this goes along with…do you want to know when it’s your time? I don’t.

14 Working mom of 2 { 01.11.16 at 10:42 am }

Interesting question and responses. My father died last year. Some of the responses above talk about dying in peace and be ready to go well guess what my father was 86 and he was absolutely not ready to go and it was very heartbreaking to see. Even when the doctors basically were saying it’s over and we were making arrangements as to which nursing home he was going to be transferred to to die because Medicare only pays for two weeks in the hospital, he was still talking about wanting to go home and asking if he was going to get physical therapy. So we didn’t have the Hallmark fantasy gather the family around and die in peace. I wonder if that even exist or is that something families just put in obituaries to comfort themselves. Just this morning I read about David Bowie in the news and his family said he died in peace; maybe he did, maybe it’s different with cancer since you have more time. Anyway my eyes were opened when my that died I now have the knowledge that it’s not what you see in the movies not everybody’s ready to go or at peace and that’s very troubling.

As to your question about how much money are people willing to pay etc.– again that brings up my father. He had been in the hospital for something that wasn’t life-threatening and then he was transferred to a nursing home for rehab after what she was supposed to go home. Well right before he was supposed to leave he came down with pneumonia went back to the hospital and it was looking really bad and the doctors told us basically it’s not he’s not gonna recover. Well well then his lungs started to improve as far as amount of oxygen he needed and things like that and in the hospital staff kept checking to see if he can swallow but I never knew was a thing but apparently it’s a big deal if you can’t pass the swallow test you’re basically going to keep aspirating your food and getting pneumonia again so they would try like once a day or something like that they also sent staff to try to get him to do some physical therapy and it was like one day they could get them to sit up but he wasn’t ready to try to stand. Shortly after that it was made clear that you know because he didn’t pass the swallow test or the stand test he’s not going home he’s not going to live and even though intellectually I probably know that it wouldn’t have mattered I kept thinking things like off he was Donald Trump you know he would have a team of experts around-the-clock dedicated to helping him pass the swallow test and rehabbing his legs and and maybe he would’ve lived longer maybe it would’ve only been a year but I’m sure my dad would’ve loved to have had that year but anyway interesting question..,

15 Ana { 01.11.16 at 11:32 am }

it is indeed a chilling question. And, in regards to what working mom wrote above, it may be very easy to glibly say “no way, I’d want to save the money, I’d die in peace” but I’ve seen many many cases of people who have lived 80-90+ years of a good life still not ready to go—and their spouses & loved ones not ready to let go either. So you don’t know until you are in the situation.
Looking at it from my current perspective though, I agree that it depends on what else is going on that year. Do I have kids or grandkids I REALLY want to see grow another year? Or a spouse I would treasure every day with? Or a vacation I’ve been planning my whole life that I could make happen or some other dream I could make come true? Then I would pay whatever it is.

16 nonsequiturchica { 01.11.16 at 11:39 am }

I would likely pay to have another year. As long as I’m in relatively good health and I could spend more time with my husband/kid(s), then I would do it. I wouldn’t want to put them in the poor house, but it would be hard to say no to more time if it was available (maybe that extra year bought time for a cure?).

17 Lavonne @ *Our Wish* { 01.11.16 at 12:21 pm }

For a friend or loved one, a pet there would be no cost. As long as they weren’t in pain or suffering. For myself, I would graciously pass and not ask my family/friends to hold that burden of paying to just have another year.

Now here’s another question in reference to fertility and the price of having A life…not just another year, but an actual life. I talk about the cost of donor eggs in my #mbm today and it’s interesting how my brain would not want to spend $20K to keep myself alive another year, but I will gladly sign on the dotted line for $20K FOR a life…

18 Cristy { 01.11.16 at 1:31 pm }

It’s ironic you bring this up as Grey and I were having a similar conversation this weekend. Honestly, I think an additional question to ask is “why pay for that additional year?” Is it truly to provide closure or is it in hopes of prolonging the inevitable?

Our society has a hard time with death. The finality that comes with someone’s existence and all the regrets of a life not fully lived. We assume those we love who pass are forever gone. It’s terrifying in its finality. And yet, we don’t consider the release that can come from death. That it truly may be just another phase of our journey. And that maybe those who pass never really leave us as long as we love them.

So my question is why prolong the delay to the next stage in this journey? Because even though it may not seem like it, living too long can be it’s own curse.

19 Lindsay | Solo Mama { 01.11.16 at 1:57 pm }

Depends on when I’m dying. Am I supposed to die next year? I’d sell every damn possession I own. Am I going to die at 75? Meh. I’ll give my saved money to my kid instead.

20 Jill A. { 01.11.16 at 2:21 pm }

I wouldn’t pay for the extra year for myself. I will not pay much for medical care period. Right now, I need some dental work. Quote is $14,000 and the work will take about an hour. $14,000/hour? What is worth $14,000 an hour?

Told both my physicians that I will spend $100 per month on appointments and prescriptions. That is it. No hospitals, no E.R., no ambulance rides. Nothing. I’m still trying to figure out how to die without a bunch of medical bills. I have seriously considered having, “I will pay for no unauthorized medical care” tattooed across my chest.

21 One and Done? { 01.11.16 at 2:25 pm }

I think it’s hard to say – if R and I could have another year together it could be worth it. If he’s passed on and I am old and crazy…LOL…you know what I mean?

22 Traci York { 01.11.16 at 3:40 pm }

Interesting to find this question, after a day of seeing my social media explode with news of David Bowie’s passing. 🙁

I couldn’t see myself spending money in order to have another year. While the extra time would be nice, knowing me, I’d spend most of it obsessing about the Sword of Damocles dangling above my head…

23 Vaibhav Gupta { 01.11.16 at 5:39 pm }

I wouldn’t really. I wouldn’t mind dying before my sixties. This post is a good opportunity to reassess death as something frightening, into something inevitable yet beautiful.

24 Kasey { 01.11.16 at 7:57 pm }

Assuming this means an extra year on my natural life (not a catastrophic death when I am relatively young) I would not extend a year. I come from a long-lived family (my great-aunt will be 100 next month) and I have watched too many of my great-aunts and uncles slowly decline. I don’t want that. I don’t want to live forever or too long.

25 Cynthia Samuels { 01.11.16 at 8:32 pm }

I’m sorry. I am hitting a really crappy landmark age this year — better to be alive but it’s kind of creeping me out. So this conversation is — not.

26 Shail { 01.11.16 at 9:08 pm }

I wouldn’t want to grab time. When it is time, it is time 🙂

27 Mali { 01.11.16 at 9:10 pm }

This post made me feel old, because the dates most people think they’d be okay dying … well, they’re starting to seem young-ish! Like one of the earlier posters, my father died at 76, and he was not okay with it. He was angry. Up till then, he’d been fit and relatively healthy, he was enjoying life, and he was far from being ready to leave. Remember that most people think that living to 100 is too long, but ask a 99 year old, and see what response you’ll get.

I thought about this recently, when I heard that NZ’s medical funder wouldn’t cover a particular drug, for a cancer I worry about. I remembered a friend of my husband’s dying of this cancer a few years ago. And I wondered how much we’d be prepared to pay if I needed it, or my husband needed it. I’d definitely pay. I just don’t know how much. No-one should have to put a price on life. Unfortunately, too many do.

28 Jess { 01.11.16 at 9:53 pm }

This question seriously creeps me out. I don’t think I could put a dollar amount on another year of life…what if it’s like the Monkey’s Paw? What if I get another year of life but I don’t have my faculties about me, or it costs me something greater? I don’t think so. I think I’d try to leave well enough alone and live the years I’ve got, knowing that maybe I have more years than someone else because I have good healthcare I don’t have to pay a zillion dollars out of pocket for, which also makes me feel uncomfortable. This question is a doozy!

29 md { 01.11.16 at 10:23 pm }

i simply cannot think about this. shiver. ugh.

30 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.11.16 at 10:42 pm }

I read this question this morning and haven’t wanted to tackle it all day. It seems like messing where you shouldn’t mess. Like that old story retold by W. Somerset Maugham where the guy changes his plans to avoid meeting Death, but Death was always planning to get him in the new place.

31 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 01.11.16 at 10:49 pm }

As a theoretical thing, it seems like I would just go peacefully and not pay for an extra year. But, faced with the actual end, I would probably change my mind and want more time.

32 Amber { 01.12.16 at 12:49 am }

It would really depend on where I am in life when the decision had to be made, and how much it would cost. If one of my children had a wedding planned during that time, or were graduating from high school, or about to have a child of their own…. I would want to stick around long enough to be there for their momentous occasion. If I am really sick at the time, however, I’d rather not put my family through the burden of watching me die a moment longer than necessary. Or if I’d already lived a full life and my children are in a good place, I’d rather not spend the money. There are so many variables to this question, that I think it’s ultimately impossible to know what the answer is (at least for me) until the moment of decision had to be made.

33 Jessie Francis { 01.12.16 at 12:52 am }

The answer to this feels as far away as traveling around the world, like it’s not even worth imagining. I grew up poor, and I struggle enough financially now that it feels like a question that, even if possible, would apply to some other person and never to me.

34 Sharon { 01.12.16 at 5:30 pm }

As others have said, it would really depend on what one more year meant. You stated that you would be “decently comfortable and mobile,” but if I were going to spend a lot of money to live one more year, I would want to be assured a MUCH higher quality of life than that.

And also like another commenter said, my grandmother lived to be 85 and had been saying she was ready to do for years before that. So I’m not sure that tacking one an extra year at the end of my life would be something I’d want, regardless of the cost.

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