Friday, July 6, 2007

Thoughts - Kind of Depressing, but still Thoughts.

Today, one of the questions that was asked in my Friday 5 (see below post) was a question about the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Also today, a friend of mine asked me why I don't write about something that's important to me. The two of those things combined leads me to write about something that is very important to me: what should happen should I not be able to answer for myself.

I should apologize before I get started: my initial post may have been offensive to some on Question 2 (the iteration it's currently at is less offensive, though still detailed) as it referenced a past case of what to do when the patient can't speak for his/herself. The tone that I started the answer to the question in (initially) sounded like I may have meant my response in jest - but I didn't. My answer was serious, and I apologize to anyone who may have seen my pre-edited post and were shocked/offended. I am honestly sorry.

There are two things that are what I consider to be the worst things that could ever happen to me, and combined are the ABSOLUTE worst: to be in a horrible, fiery car wreck and to be in a vegetable state and not be able to tell the doctors what I want to have happen to me.

My heart was completely broken by the Terry Schiavo case when it was happening last year (or was that 2005... doesn't matter). Here was this poor woman, in a vegetable state, who could not speak for herself. Her life as she knew it was gone - dead - and no one really "knew" what she wanted. Only she truly did, but here was her family in a constant years-long battle about "What would Terry want?". My heart went out to TERRY, not her family, not her estranged husband... just Terry. She couldn't tell the world what she wanted, she couldn't stop the horrible fighting that was going on around her.

This case captured the attention of the world and filled lawyers' offices with couples and parents and children clamoring for living wills and medical proxies so that the sort of fighting that we were all witnessing would not happen in their families. It made people stop and think - what if the worst happens tomorrow? Do people know what I want, or will be this terrible fighting? Will it be peaceful decision making, or family members trying to be unbiased and make a decision based on how they really think I would choose?

Now that Steve and I are married, before the summer is out he and I both want to make sure we have a living will/medical proxy in place just incase. I know what he wants, and to be honest I've never really voiced what I want but rather hinted around it - until Question 2 today. Everyone's beliefs are different and I'm not putting this up here because I expect people to agree with me, or disagree with me for that matter. I'm putting this up here because today I was challenged to write about something that's important to me.

In the event that I'm ever in some sort of state where I cannot speak for myself and there is zero to 10% hope that I'll ever be able to again... give it a few months. If I go more than 6 months and nothing happens, and I'm on some sort of life support (yes, I personally consider a feeding tube life support if I can't feed myself)... let God and Jesus decide. Don't keep me hooked up on machines wondering if maybe one day I'll blink more than once and try to speak. The good Lord knows what's best for us in the long run, and what right do I have to let man-made machines stand in the way of that when there is little to no hope for recovery? At that point, it's not a matter of fighting for it - it's a matter of is there even fight IN there?

I don't know. It's a hard topic to tackle. It's one that you hope you don't have to even think about until you're 75 or older. But it's there, and it forces us to face our own mortality.


Mags said...

I also would not want to be hooked up for very long. I don't know what else to say except that I am in agreeance with you, and that I believe that leaving someone on life support for longer than 6 months is selfish.

Yes, it might seem like giving up hope, but really, if I have to be on a machine to live, I'm already dead...and in terms of God, it would seem that He had already called for me, and my family and friends said, "NO! We need her here longer!"

So, there's that.

Mags said...

On a less serious note, I heard another thing you don't really want to think about until you are older (on the radio this morning)...your butt sagging to your knees.


~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

Interesting first post I've stumbled upon (I came over from Critique My Blog). I followed the T.S. case as well, not too closely, but enough to know what was going on. I pretty much decided that if I was ever on life support with no hope for recovery, I wouldn't want to be kept alive. That's no kind of life at all, and I think that in the long run it would be easier on family. To have a closure and not spend months and years agonizing over what to do, or I am ever going to recover. That really is no way to live either I do not ever want my family to go through that.