Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Hospice: A History
So you know that part in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the man goes through town shouting “Bring out your dead!” And then John Cleese brings out the guy who insists he's NOT dead? Seriously... it's good stuff. You should go watch it to get in the mood:
Turns out this scene isn't so far from accurate. During the Black Plague people not only threw their dead out... they were throwing out their dying... they didn't want to be exposed, couldn't take care... so they would take their sickly out in the streets and leave them with the dead to be picked up (and burned, I think)... ah yes... fact checking says buried at first, but as the bodies got to be too many for the living to handle, they began burning...
But what of those who could whimper, “I'm not dead”? Turns out THIS was the origins of hospice. Really and for true.
I found this very cool... sad that people would turn people out, but when I think about how needy most people were at the time, and the very real risk of a sick person exposing the rest of the family... I guess I get that. But it makes the kindness of those women that much more heroic, too. I'm sure they knew the risk they were taking.
I ALSO though, love that Monty Python is a go-to source for historical accuracy. I mean really... isn't that a huge bonus?