“Go ahead… take our ventilators!” – A “Boomer Remover” Retort

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense

There’s a term running around that maybe you’ve heard. Some are calling the Coronavirus pandemic the “boomer remover.”

Well if you’re a boomer, they can’t take away your life, if you give it to them first.

I’m a baby boomer, living in Los Angeles, staying at home and so far in good health and Covid-19 free.

I was thinking. I hope this doesn’t happen, but in the event of the Covid-19 pandemic taking an even uglier turn with ventilator rationing, if there is a choice to put me on one or give it to someone younger with much more to do and life to live than me, I’ll make it easy for the deciding doctor. Give it to that younger person.

I’m not being a martyr here nor do I have a death wish. 

It’s that I am a medical doctor, a psychiatrist actually, and if it comes to another doctor having to make that excruciatingly difficult decision on who is to live (even though survival rates on respirators are sadly quite low) or die (as in almost immediately), I choose to make it easier for him or her to make that choice. Give my ventilator to someone else.

I still have a lot to live for. I’m writing, working, etc. have a wonderful family and grandchild who is the joy of my life, with another due in September.  It’s just that we are potentially in the most awful of times where some awful decisions may need to be made about who lives and who doesn’t.

As I write this, I’m reminded of Dylan Thomas’s famous quote, “Do not go gentle into that good night… rage, rage against the dying of the light,” and I’m choosing to wryly update it for other boomers who would like to join me in sentiment, “Do go gentle into that good night… do not rage, rage against the shortage of ventilators.”

I’m also reminded of a song written and performed by one of my favorite singers and songwriters, Laura Nyro (who herself died, way too young), called: And When I Die, which nicely sums up my position on this topic.

And When I Die

Song and lyrics by Laura Nyro

And when I die and when I’m dead, dead and gone
There’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on

I’m not scared of dying and I don’t really care
If it’s peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near
If it’s peace you find in dying, when dying time is here
Just bundle up my coffin cause it’s cold way down there
I hear that’s it’s cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there
And when I die and when I’m gone
There’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on

My troubles are many, they’re as deep as a well
I can swear there ain’t no heaven but I pray there ain’t no hell
Swear there ain’t no heaven and pray there ain’t no hell
But I’ll never know by living, only my dying will tell
Only my dying will tell, yeah, only my dying will tell

And when I die and when I’m gone
There’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on

Give me my freedom for as long as I be. All I ask of living is to have no chains on me
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me
And all I ask of dying is to go naturally, only want to go naturally
Don’t want to go by the devil, don’t want to go by the demon
Don’t want to go by Satan, don’t want to die uneasy, just let me go naturally
And when I die and when I’m gone, there’ll be one child born, there’ll be one child born
When I die, there’ll be one child born. When I die, there’ll be one child born
When I die, there’ll be one child born. When I die, there’ll be one child born

One final note, I agree with the lyric about “going naturally,” and all I ask of dying is that it be with as little pain as possible…

and it wouldn’t hurt if it saves society any money that it goes to my family

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2 thoughts on ““Go ahead… take our ventilators!” – A “Boomer Remover” Retort”

  1. Tom Trebes says:

    When I Die was also performed by the group Blood, Sweat and Tears.

    By the way, I agree with you. I’m near 70 with 3 grandchildren I love dearly but if it’s a choice between me or a parent with 3 young children, well, it’s been nice knowing you.

  2. Great perspective as always, Dr. Goulston. Thank you for your ever inspiring thoughts.