Wednesday, March 30, 2005
A promise is a precious thing.I remember when my father was being fed via an intravenous drip. He was mentally alert; it was just that his throat was swollen and scratched and he couldn't swallow. Otherwise, he was ok for the moment.
I remember when my father was being fed via a stomach tube. He was mentally alert; it was just that his throat was swollen and scratched, and the intravenous lines were needed for medications and other things. Otherwise, he was ok for the moment.
I remember when my father would ask for his wheelchair. He was mentally alert; it was just that he had no legs and it was the only way he could get around. Otherwise, he was ok for the moment.
I remember when my father asked for a large magnifying sheet. He was mentally alert; it was just that his eyes had been destroyed by a failed laser surgery, and it was the only way he could see to read. Otherwise, he was ok for the moment.
I remember when he could no longer see well enough to read even with the magnifying sheet. We read TO him, then. He was mentally alert and understood and appreciated every word he heard.
As for me, I am totally dependent on my glasses. Without them, I can not read, drive, recognize people, sew, or tell the difference between shampoo, shower gel, shaving creme, and toothpaste. Otherwise, I am fairly mentally alert, and ok for the moment.
I occasionally require the use of a cane. I am still fairly mentally alert, but my Jerry's Kid-itis makes me disoriented sometimes. Without the cane I would be falling even more often than I already do.
I can't climb stairs very well now. I need the elevator. I know, I know, there are many people who do not, but I do.
I live about thirty miles from the college. Now pioneers, back in the day, would hike that far without blinking an eye. I can't. I use a car.
I take four pills daily. Without them I would die, and soon, too. My quality of life depends on them. My life depends on them.
In fact, my life, and my quality of life, depend on several outside sources.
So far my hearing is fine. (Don't pay any attention to my children's snickering.) But if the day should come when my music is never loud even when the volume is set to 11, rest assured that I'll get a hearing aid. Preferably one of those nifty 'invisible' ones, so nobody will know that my quality of life is dependent on yet another 'device.'
Aren't we all, to some extent, dependent on devices?
Cars are a device.
Elevators are a device.
Ball point pens are a device.
The Pope has a feeding tube. People still pay attention.
Occasionally, a baby must have a feeding tube until surgery/whatever makes normal nourishment means possible. This can happen to anyone of any age, in fact.
Some people have surgery so they won't require glasses or contacts. Some people prefer the devices. Some people have no choice, because their bodies dictate which is the best for them.
Some people can't poop or pee like the rest of us can. They have a bag strapped to their leg. So what? For some people, it's a temporary thing. For others, it's a way of life.
Some people can't feed themselves, but are able to eat. Others feed them. So what? So they can't feed themselves. I can't climb stairs. Joni Eareckson can't wipe her own ass.
Where do we draw the line?
Even bedridden, Dad's quality of life was, at first, pretty good.
I have some pretty bad days, myself. Without devices and medicine, I would probably have dropped dead years ago.
Is the fact that some people require temporary devices, and others require permanent ones, the decisive factor? Whick permanent devices are bad, and which ones are okay? And by whose standards is this list made?
Joni's list would be different from some people's, I bet. Stephen Hawking's list would be different, too.
Is being an inconvenience to someone, or a hindrance to someone else's preferences, enough to warrant a death sentence?
Mental incapacity vs. physical incapacity: which is worse?
Wouldn't it depend on each individual case? And who among us is omnipotent enough to judge for anyone except ourselves?
Isn't 'execution' something that should be earned?
Until Annie Sullivan came along with her unorthodox methods, most people thought Helen Keller was a retarded deviant who should be put away. Only her mother held hope. Her mother turned out to be right. The others were all wrong.
Sarah Scantlin woke up after twenty years in a coma. It happens.
A person who is definitely dying is one thing. An otherwise healthy person who doesn't fit someone else's vision of perfection is quite another.
If she were already dying, it would be different.
Vegetative state? PERMANENT vegetative state? Show me the scans, and the MRI's, and the signed verdicts of at least three doctors who are NOT in a judge's pocket, or the pocket of an adulterer. I know, it's none of my business. It's really not, you know. I just have opinions.
I can see unplugging someone who is definitely 'gone' from the machines that kept her articifially alive. But denying nourishment is not the same thing as unplugging the machines. One is allowing nature to take its course; the other is hastening nature by unnaturally depriving the body, deliberately.
Humans actually use less than half their brains. People have survived surgeries wherein most of the brain was removed. What's left can be retrained. We've done it. A liquid brain? Where is the proof. From what I've read, that is only someone's theory.
If Michael loved her, why wasn't he faithful? People who know what love is, don't shack up with another woman and have children by her while their lawful spouse is still alive. If he loved her, if he EVER loved her, he would move heaven and earth to at least find out what works and what doesn't.
He would have had every test available administered to her. He would have encouraged visitors. Perhaps he wouldn't have exhibited baby-tantrums in front of nursing home personnel. He would have bent over backwards to try to have her helped. The trying would have proven him right or wrong. But trying would have involved thinking about her, instead of about himself.
Something tried, might have worked.
But only when the person(s) legally able to request such services, have requested them.
I guess a person would have to care an awful lot about someone, to go to that length for them. It would take a lot of love. A lot of selflessness. A lot of caring. A lot of patience. A lot of waiting. A lot of hoping. A lot of work. And more waiting.
It would be a lot easier just to have the plug pulled, and walk out the door with your inheritance and the family you created with your new woman while your wife was in the hospital. A woman who didn't mind screwing and procreating with a married man.
Tough love isn't just pulling the plug and putting someone out of her misery. Tough love sometimes means waiting for whatever is to be, to be. That is not the same thing as hiring it done.
I hope we all have signed documents on file with everyone we know, dictating what we personally want done in such circumstances. Otherwise, your fate might well be decided by someone who couldn't even wait for you to die, to drop his drawers for someone else. I wonder what he'll buy for her first, with his first wife's money. . . . .
If money wasn't important to him, why didn't he just divorce her and let people who really did love her, take care of her? Why did he continue, year after year, to maintain control, when he obviously did not love her or care anything about her, other than her money? Why did he tell two nursing homes NOT to give her antibiotics for urinary tract infections, even after he was told she would die without them?
Starvation is a painful way to die. Condemned prisoners are shown more mercy than that.
He's been quoted as saying that he didn't divorce her because he was satisfied with everything just as it was. He states that he doesn't intend to ever marry the shack-up either.
What a gem.
I have this 'thing' about fidelity. So sue me.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:40 PM | |