To anyone who cares for patients, or for those with loved ones who’ve faced the end of life, this statement rings tragic and true. Strip away the political posturing and nonsensical talk of death panels and the like, and we’re left with a stark truth: that we too often fail to have those difficult but crucial discussions about dying.
This failure leads to untold human suffering and billions in squandered resources. We are failing as caregivers, we are failing as family members, and we are failing as individuals—failing to simply have a conversation that ensures that we direct our own destiny. Plainly put, we need to talk about dying.
Need help breaking the ice? Here’s Ain’t The Way To Die, based on the Eminem and Rihanna masterpiece Love The Way You Lie. It’s the first video we’ve made that is not funny—well, that is not funny on purpose, in any case. We initially planned to use blatant comedy to break down taboos around the process of dying, but some intense personal stories from our Facebook fans made it clear that this topic required an unprecedented level of gravity.
So Dr. Harry and I wrote lyrics that ultimately sprang from our own experiences caring for patients, young and old, at the end of their lives. Devin Moore blew us away by completely reimagining the instrumental track and laying down such insanely epic vocals that Rihanna herself might need to pull out her Um-b-rell-a. And medical peeps will recognize those tones at the end as actual ventilator sounds, triggering the appropriate PTSD response…
But the clincher? Storyworks productions. They were doing a documentary tentatively called “Wake Up” that featured ZDoggMD and his shadowy real-world alter ego, Dr. Zubin Damania. Hearing the audio track, they immediately offered to shoot the music video as part of the documentary! So now we have a true Hollywood-level production thanks to their amazing contributions.
There’s too many people to thank on this one, so please check the credits in the video. But well-deserved shout outs go to Dr. Michael Fratkin of Resolution Care for his inspiration and feedback, Variables of Light for some pinch-hit videography, and Ellen Goodman and The Conversation Project for helping to light the way.
And a special thanks to Medicare, for finally agreeing to reimburse physicians for conversations about end-of-life care. Tough break, Sarah Palin.
You only die once. Do it on your own terms.