I’m on a supposed vacation. It rained all week; I have bronchitis, my laptop is dying, and I even managed to crash a public Internet machine. Though I think that was the machine not me. I will take responsibility for all the rest of the world’s problems.
I was going to write about my experiences at the Bates Motel in San Francisco which gave me bronchitis at the least but that will wait until I get home. Shouldn’t call it the Bates Motel as Psycho was a great movie.
I would like to thank everybody who has commented on my first Terri post.
I don’t want Courting to be a political blog. (Delusions of literary writing.)
The Thing about Teri Schiavio is that her case shouldn’t be a political one. It’s a medical issue, an ethical issue, and a family fight.
Yes there have been great medical advances in the past 15 years. From the years 1950-2000 there were more medical advances than in all of history.
It wasn’t enough. I’ve been told that I personalize everything. I’ve been told that I’m the whiniest person on the Internet. A badge I wear proudly as I consider myself one of Woody’s children-Woody Allen that is-except for the sex with minors part.
I’ve been told I talk about New York too much. Having been born there and having lived there virtually all my life, I don’t’ see why that’s horrible.
Okay that’s all a prelude to talking about my parents once again before I talk about Terri. My dad had the massive stroke fourteen years ago tomorrow. I consider that his true date of death.
Since then there have been great advances in stroke care. However, that’s only if the person gets to a facility that’s equipped to treat stroke victims within a certain time frame. Yes there are medications that might help stave off a stroke for a while. Then again the medicine might not.
My father’s stroke was massive. Even with all the advances he would have been severely brain damaged. For a person who never wanted to die “old and decrepit,” that would have been worse than death. I can’t imagine seeing my father in a rehab center learning or not learning to do simple tasks. It would have killed my mother, sister and I.
As it was it was very difficult. My mother had wet Macular Degeneration. It became worse constantly until a very independent and very bright woman was reduced to depending on others for help. As she was my mother, and we’re an ornery family, she refused most help. Keeping my mother independent became a full time job for my sister and I.
For so many reasons it shouldn’t have had to be that we. We infantilize older people rather than help them live with dignity. Stem cell research which might have led to a cure was stopped.
WE HAVE THE MOST SCREWED UP PRIORITIES. INSTEAD OF CONCENTRATING ON GREAT MEDICAL RESEARCH, WE MAKE EVERYTHING INTO A POLTITCAL BALL GAME. AND WE SAY THAT WE DO THAT IN THE NAME OF GOD.
My God would want people to live good lives; my God would want as much medical research as possible. My God wouldn’t judge people, and tell them that they have to do things in a certain way.
My mother never became demented but people treated her as if she was. The most social woman in the world began to hate going out or doing anything that called attention to her in any way. A month after 9/11 she fell and died fifteen minutes later.
Those pivotal fifteen minutes–would they have made a difference if security from the “Companion button” company had come in two minutes and taken her to the hospital down the road from the apartment she had moved to? It probably would have, but again what would the quality of her life have been? Like my father she dreaded dementia more than anything–except dying. She told me that she couldn’t sleep at night because she was scared wouldn’t get up in the morning. But she wouldn’t have wanted to have been demented, or in a persistent vegetative state, and for that I’m grateful that she died.
My parents lived long lives. Terri Schiavo was cut down in the prime of her life. That is a much bigger tragedy.
Every doctor who examined her–every last one–agreed that she’s in a persistent vegetative state. The ones who say that she has minimal brain functioning never examined her.
And lets get real. What’s minimal brain functioning anyway? Will she ever be able to appreciate a sunny day? Will she ever be able to appreciate anything? No, she won’t.
Maybe if our country–the most resourceful and abundant on earth had its priorities straight–maybe there would have been really meaningful research into persistent vegetative states and minimal brain functioning in the past fifteen years.
But we would rather allocate our resources elsewhere.
We all saw what Christopher Reeves did for spinal cord injuries; what Michael J Fox is doing for Parkinson’s. But even with all their clout, not enough has been done.
Because we allocate our resources to other things that our government considers to be more important.
And since I’m talking about resources. How much money did it cost for the special Palm Sunday session of Congress? To transport Bush from his vacation?
Let me say something that will make the most hated person on the Internet. How much does Terri Schiavo care cost? Of course life is precious; any meaningful life should be preserved at any cost. Is Terri Schiavos’s life at all meaningful at this point.
Oh yes, she’s here for a reason. Maybe that reason is to remind us that we should allocate resources so that when brain injuries happen they can be made better.
I’ve read that if we let Terri Schiavo die we’re no better than Hitler. That is so wrong. God or nature or whoever wanted to take her fifteen years ago; we let her exist. Is that right?
I’ve read that once we let Terri Schiavo die we’ll begin killing profoundly retarded kids and people with severe handicaps. How is that analogous? That’s fear talking; fear plain and simple. More than that it’s people with an agenda; people who want to scare you into thinking that you’re a horrible person if you think that Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube should be out.
Maybe Terri Schiavo’s purpose in this world these past fifteen years was to make us think, and to regroup our priorities. Maybe we should be putting as much resources as possible into studying the human body.
We’re so goddamn proud of ourselves, and our medical advances. But have we found a cure for cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s, Dementia–the common cold? Why are we so proud when we’ve been holding the dike up with a finger?
One more thing: an IV filled with water is one of the cruelest things we can put into a person’s body. It causes the body to bloat–think edema–and the person can very probably drown to death.
I hope that Terri Schiavo’s death isn’t in vain. I hope that we can begin an intelligent dialogue about life, death and medicine.
The next person to go into a persistent vegetative state might be you, your mother, husband, wife, child. Would you want them to live a life where their awareness is nil? Because no matter how much you might want Terri Schiavo to be a thinking person, she’s not and never will be.
Unfortunately it’s as simple as that.
I’m going to try to keep comments open. As I’m having e-mail problems they might not take. I won’t be home until next week and plan on really having my vacation now as the weather is better and I’m feeling somewhat better.
The spell check isn’t working. I’m writing this from an Internet machine. It’s raw; I’m raw. This is a subject that will always make scream from the rafters. But I can’t; I have bronchitis. So….