Many people who do not want to die in an intensive care unit, intubated, on a respirator, pierced by a web of intravenous lines are dying this way. For these individuals, this is worse than death. We cannot prevent death, but we can dictate how we want to be cared for at the end of our lives.
Transhumanism is an idea that we can transcend mortal definitions of our lives. There are already discussions about uploading consciousness and memory to computer networks to enable the human experience to continue even if only in an incorporeal form.
Two of the most notable books published in the U.S. in 2013 "trouble" readers with medical, ethical, moral, emotional, psychological and legal struggles that arise when a loved one is succumbing to insidious pain and irreversible incapacity.
I wrote Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer's and Joy as a love story. It's about the powerful 30-year relationship I had with Edward Theodoru, a delightfully colorful, wickedly eccentric Romanian gentleman and scholar.