Wendy's Wonders

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

My 2 cents . . .

No one asked me and furthermore everyone has their own opinion but I feel compelled to offer my 2 cents worth - should anyone really care . . .
The case in Florida - Terry Schiavo - caught my attention for a couple of reasons. And before you form any opinions of me as you read this, let me tell you that I am NOT all the way to the right and NOT all the way to the left. I like to think I walk the road of common sense. First and foremost, I've seen someone die from lack of fluids and solids - my brother. He was comatose - waiting for the pancreatic cancer to take him from us - so he was not "awake" or "aware" other than possibly hearing the words we spoke to him on his deathbed. He had already decided after learning of his diagnosis (a mere 2 months prior to his death) - that he did not want any feeding tube or heroic measures - as there was no cure and he would just linger in agony. My mother was very concerned about her son "starving" to death - that is until the hospice nurse - I can't say enough good about Hospice - broke it down very easily for all of us. Giving him liquids (via IV) could cause pneumonia - the liquids could end up in his lungs. We didn't want him to die of pneumonia or suffocation. The nurse told us the same things everyone is reading about in the paper that "starvation" does not cause agony and probably a humane way to die.
Now with that said - I don't know who is right or wrong in Mrs. Schiavo's case. I question why her husband has not divorced her after all these years and move on with the life he has with his new mate and their children. I also don't know if Mr. Schiavo is responsible for the medical bills. However, removing her feeding tube is one thing - why can't the authorities allow her parents or friends to try to feed her normally? That would not be heroic measures.
Bottom line - if you do NOT want to end up as a participant in the middle of a battle like Terry Schiavo's - then make sure EVERYONE in your family knows that - spell it out through a living will. Make sure your parents, your siblings, your spouse, and your children have copies. Sit them all down NOW - with a video camera - and make it clear to everyone - the video will make it clear to the world, the supreme courts of whatever state you are in - everyone. This is each person's responsibility. If Terry Schiavo really did not want to live this way for the last fifteen years - a living will, a video, anything - could have prevented her living without quality of life and stopped us all from attacking each other's beliefs. If she wanted to be kept alive by whatever means necessary - she should have also spelled that out.
So if her life and possible death are to have any meaning - it's that more people are aware of their own mortality and the knowledge they could walk out and get hit by a truck at any time, possibly have severe head injuries, possibly go without oxygen long enough for brain damage to occur, whatever - and then tomorrow won't be here for you to do exactly what I told you to do in the above paragraph. Do it NOW for you, your family, your peace of mind - do it to give Terry Schiavo's life and situation some meaning.


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