Special Sauce

A mish-mash of twisted thoughts from a fevered ego. Updated when the spirit moves me, contents vary and may have settled during shipping. Do not open towards eyes. Caution: Ingestion of Special Sauce may cause hair loss, halitosis, and a burning sensation while urinating.

3.21.2005

The Obligatory Schiavo Post

Ok, this story has dominated the airwaves all weekend, and has been a major story for a while. And the recent turn of events has made me, admittedly, a bit unsure. On one hand, Terri said she didn't want to "live that way", but what does "that way mean? The wish wasn't in writing, and all we have is her husband's word to go on, and as much of a creepy dick as he appears to be in all his interviews, he is technically his wife's legal decision maker.

Her husband also insists that she's in a persistent vegetative state, and she'll never, ever get any better, and that the feeding tube should be removed, and she should be allowed to die with dignity.

On the other hand, her parents are convinced that Terri isn't in a persistent vegetative state, is capable of responding to stimuli, and feel that they've been shut out, and haven't been allowed to use the data their doctors have come up with to support their case. They're willing to care for their daughter for as long as it takes, and don't want to let her starve to death.

Both sides are fervently convinced that they are the correct party, and refuse to give even an inch. They paint each other as uncaring assholes. And now Congress is involved.

It intrigues me that the government, which is overwhelmingly Republican run, and should therefore be in more of a "states rights" kind of frame of mind, is jumping in. It also disturbs me, just a bit. And the cynical part of me says, "what if Terri was short for Terecita? Would the government be so quick to step in if Terri was black, or hispanic or middle eastern?" Methinks not. And I also wonder how this will then be parlayed into tighter anti-abortion regulations. (But we'll still kill criminals, because, well, fuck'em. Not sayin' it's right, just sayin' it's the way they're going.)

Personally, I think that starving to death is a horrific way to die. A feeding tube is not the same as being on life-support. I also think it opens the door to a whole host of other disability rights issues, that quite frankly, give me both a headache, and the overwhelming urge to cry. And it cements the fact that you need to put your wishes in writing. Simply telling someone isn't enough. Living Wills aren't hard to come by, and are simple to complete. This way you don't have to rely on someone else to make the decision for you.

(For the record, if there's no hope, I don't want heroics. Parcel me out, and whatever is left, cremate, and sprinkle me someplace pretty. And yes, it's in real writing too.)

5 Comments:

Blogger Ghost of Goldwater said...

Sweetie... if for nothing else (and yes, probably for nothing else) - when it comes to authanasia, you can ALWAYS count on me lending you a helping hand. You don't have to thank me, that's just the kind of guy I am...

Btw, did I mention we stocked up heavily on Swiss chocolate in that city where we lunched? You know, the one with the lake, the snow-covered mountains, the blue sky and the shining sun?

*munching white toblerone without pity*

6:23 PM  
Blogger Ghost of Goldwater said...

...and yes, I *know* it's spelled "euthanasia"...

6:24 PM  
Blogger parcequilfaut said...

As per usual, the Schiavo thing has set off my "GAAAAAAH" meter.

I've seen the Schiavo parents' "proofs" -- videos they've taken of Terri "responding". She has no alpha waves, people. None. Keeping her on a feeding tube is just an excuse for them not to start the grieving process....it's denial taken to the courts. Whatever may pass for a soul has passed already, and now they just need to move on. There's a child in foster care with a responsive brain that would probably love the money you're wanting to shell out for hospice care, and You Are Not Her Decision Makers Any Damn Way GAH SHUT UP!

(I find it difficult to maintain my razor sharp edge on this issue.)

Most of the "Michael Schiavo is an ass" propaganda comes from the fact that he's with another woman now. (The fact that it's been 15 years since his wife was anything other than a nonresponsive chunk of meat doesn't come in to those discussions.)

The Republican talking points passed around the House floor before this midnight-session "Terri's Law" bullshit included, basically, a statement that not supporting this would make Democrats look bad. Again, GAHHHHHHHHH.

The feds don't need to decide they can just hop in all Diana Ross diva style whenever the state Supremes do something they don't like. That's what this comes down to. And yes, taking someone off a feeding tube can be horrible...if they're even responsive to pain, which, if what I've read is right, Schiavo isn't.

I've got the no-machines thing in writing, but I've gone one better....I have an oath from someone I trust that if I lose my faculties (always a risk with the disease I have), that he will take me out in the woods, and we will read Stranger in a Strange Land while I take medication, and that in the end I will go to sleep and become Not. Because that's the end I want, and I have the right -- now, as a cognizant person -- to make that decision.

But then again, I'm the person who thinks you should have to have proof of a living will and durable power of attorney for health care (since both of those docs are available free of charge in the state Code Annotated) in order to get a driver's license, tags, whatever. Because I'm tired of people who talk the talk and won't fill out the papers because they're afraid of their own mortality.

/rant

Sorry Sauce....CNN at work all day has been driving me nuts, I had to rant. More on this over my way later.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Special Sauce said...

Goldie, I knew I could count on you.

P.S. White chocolate is for sissies.

ET, no worries about the ranting- I can't imagine having to sit through that on CNN all day. (Nearly as bad as the MJ watch, I imagine.)

I really like your idea of submitting a living will, durable POA when you get a license/renew.

What Congress did is definitely nothing more than the legislative equivalent of a photo op. They knew it'd look good, and did it, but they don't think about the consequences that will stem from it.

Still, if Michael wants to let Terri die, why starve her? Individuals on ventilators are permitted to request to be taken off and given medication to make the ordeal painless and everything's over quickly. (if I've read the stuff correctly- it's been a while)

And generally speaking (and this time I'm asking, because I have no experience in this) when someone's on life support, and they're removed from the machinery that's keeping them around, doesn't life usually end fairly quickly? (Of course, this could just be TV and movies warping my perspective)

I may be skirting further into dangerous territory here, but it just seems inhumane to allow her to hang on for up to 2 weeks, when the ultimate goal is to let her die with dignity. Why not allow something to hasten the process (as it were)? (Of course, then you have the dilemma of who gets the "help" and who doesn't, and on and on.)

12:47 PM  
Blogger parcequilfaut said...

If she's in as bad a state as the reports indicate, the receptors that would tell a normal person that starving is painful aren't there.

Some states have sensible laws. Florida has never been one of them.

12:58 PM  

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