The origin of the above phrase is rooted in Greek mythology and written in Homer's Odyssey, a poem about Odysseus. Odysseus must navigate the narrow Strait of Messina, where on one side the monster Scylla dwells, devouring ships that sail too close; and on the other side Charybdis, another monster that produces a lethal whirlpool that swallows ships.

I write this on Father's Day as a tribute to my father and an agonizing decision we faced several years ago. At age 85, my father had recently been diagnosed with severe, complex, coronary artery disease that crippled what was an active lifestyle. A certain death sentence without a surgical intervention, we were forced to make a difficult decision that families often confront – choosing between the miracles of modern medicine and the risks associated with those miracles.

The alternatives were...

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