Friday afternoon. The cat is asleep, as usual, on the couch. I had an enjoyable lunch, with my mom and wife, at Petrow’s. Great food, great place.
The Schiavo case continues to capture the news headlines. I’ve held back on commenting because I really do think it is ignorant to make broad sweeping generalizations on either side of “the issue”. Reading an article, by Daniel Henninger, in today’s opinionjournal.com really illustrated the grey areas of this plight. For me, this whole story has brought forth not only the need to have a living will, but also to detail the circumstances in which you’d no longer want to live.
Let me say that I am in no way in favor of euthanasia, but I do believe in quality of life. I think sometimes that the pro-life movement gets zealous in the fervor of life and people live in terrible pain their last few weeks and months because they are told it is sin to refuse medical treatment. It is tough. My dad, who works at a church, was at a hospital visiting a patient who attended the church he works at. This individual asked him if it was suicide if she refused treatment. They were given a year to live, max, and were facing consistent dialysis treatments. The individual was diagnosed with scleroderma. At this point, the individual had already faced many hardships and difficulties fighting this disease.
What do you say or do? Regardless of your faith, I would think it be natural to always err on the side of life. Still, there might be times where you don’t “kill yourself” but rather you trust God and make the most of the days left that you have. Does that make sense?
The individual with scleroderma chose to stop dialysis and went into a hospice, where they were given two weeks to live. This person was married, and had kids. They lived each day to the fullest, at peace, and trusting God. They died a week after making the decision to stop dialysis treatment.
What do you do? It’s tough because we tell people we are not in the position of playing God when it comes to euthanasia. God has blessed us with such unimagineable knowledge and technology where people are living longer and better. Still, do we play God by keeping them alive and making their last days painful beyond comprehension? I don’t know. I guess it is up to each family and individual member to decide that. It is not a decision to be made lightly, and I think you would need strong arguments to not keep on living, to not strive for life.
I’ve been torn watching this debacle play out over Terri Schiavo. It is also sad to see the political grandstanding, watch kids get arrested (I hope to God not at their parents wishes or with no understanding of what they are doing.), and listen to the grandiose statements from both sides who are using this situation as a pawn in their own chess match against the opposite political spectrum.
With such an array of doctors out there I think it would be easy to find one, or two, to pronounce a diagnosis that you would want to hear. (An example would be the case of former Boston Celtic star Reggie Lewis.) It is also insulting to hear politicians and citizens, who have no training in medicine, to give shotgun diagnoses on Terri by just viewing a clip of her that her parents provided.
As well, something I’ve thought about is what is the boundary that an outside relative can step in on an issue between a husband and wife? But then I think of Michael Schiavo already with another woman and having fathered two children with her. It undermines his argument, to me, even if the law is on his side. He technically still is the husband to Terri, but he sure as hell doesn’t think or live like it by carrying on an affair in the open. What would be the problem of divorcing Terri and allowing her parent’s custody. Michael says that is not what Terri wanted. I do wonder if Terri signed off on her husband becoming an adulterer if she ever were to be in a “persistent vegetative state”.
It’s a sad situation all-around with many lessons for all of us to learn from. Terri Schiavo will probably die within the next 24 hours. I don’t know her status with God, but if I were to come across her in heaven it would be interesting to hear her opinion on this whole matter.
I know this, I would not want to put my family through a situation like this one, but I can guarantee I would fight for my life.