Doc Farmer has a timely article on living wills. Do you have one? I do and mine is in an easily accessible place. - Sailor
Doc Farmer's Living Will
Written by Doc Farmer
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
By now, everybody in this country who is not living in a log cabin in the backwoods building explosive devices for delivery by the United States Postal Service has heard of Terri Schiavo. Commentators have been mispronouncing her name and, in most cases, misrepresenting her situation. Congress has asked the Federal courts to review her case, as is their right under Article III of
the Constitution. The courts should be reviewing this request under Amendment XIV (equal protection). So far, one district judge has seen fit to not take this request seriously, and after only the most cursory review has rejected her parent's petition. It's now in the hands of a higher court, and I'm sure that there will be more judicial ducking and diving and shucking and jiving as we head up to "The Supremes" for their say on the matter.
Personally, I'm on the side of life. From what I've seen in various media outlets, there are enough questions about Mrs. Schiavo's situation to warrant a further review. There is no doubt that she is profoundly disabled. The question is, can she obtain some level of recovery and rehabilitation? Her husband, who has been accused of causing Mrs. Schiavo's condition in the first place, wants her dead. Well, perhaps it is because he's genuinely concerned about her wishes. Perhaps it is because he wants to permanently erase any evidence of
wrongdoing. Or perhaps he's just a prick.
Mrs. Schiavo's parents want their daughter to live. Understandable for any parent. Are they deluding themselves as to their daughter's level of awareness? Or are they seeing things that others cannot? When working with the disabled, their actions and reactions can be very subtle. It's sort of like being around a person with a speech impediment. At first, you can't understand them at all. Gradually, however, you pick up on the nuances, and can comprehend what they are saying. This is true if the person has severe stuttering, or a cleft palate, or is profoundly deaf, or is from Alabama.
Naturally, the press looks for the "bad side" of the story, the most gut wrenching, or the most sensationalistic. Oddly, they've focused very little on Michael Schiavo's near-bigamy (he's got a "fiancée" and two kids), probably so they could promote Terri Schiavo's death. The media, which despite its denials is rabidly lib/dem/soc/commie, wants
Mrs. Schiavo to die. Apparently, their promotion of and complicity in the slaughter of over 40 million babies is not enough. Now they're gunning for the grown-ups. Except, of course, for those grown-ups who murder or rape - no, they mustn't be punished. After all, if the Hildebeast gets her way, they'll be her new voting bloc.
If any sort of "good" can be gleaned from this horrific situation, it is probably that people are now much more aware of the need to make clear their wishes regarding their care, or the cessation thereof, in the event of catastrophic illness or injury resulting in total mental incapacitation. Many of us have signed the organ donor card on the back of our driver's licenses (at least, I hope we have!), but few have outlined what to do if the next-to-worst happens.
So, I want to make my wishes plain.
Not just to my family
and friends, but to all of you as well. Perhaps it will help to prompt you toward documenting your desires regarding this serious subject.
First, let me make this statement. If I am brain dead - and I mean ACTUALLY brain dead - pull the plug. By brain dead, I do not mean what happens after a 96-hour C-SPAN marathon, either. There had better be CAT scans, PET scans, MRI scans and a Vulcan Mind Meld that prove beyond any doubt that the lights are on, but nobody's home.
Now, this brings up the question of "what is brain death?" Valid question. Brain death can be determined by the following -
- Destruction of the frontal, pre-frontal and parietal lobes, the cerebral cortex and the limbic system.
- Widespread disruption of neurochemistry in which neurotransmission has halted.
- Hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) for more than 20 minutes in normal temperatures, or more than 4 hours in cases of extended hypothermia.
- My ever, ever, EVER getting married again!
- Voting for Clinton. Any Clinton.
By the way, let me state now that if any (bleep)ing lawyers try to intervene in my case in opposition to my wishes, any of my family are fully authorized to shoot the bastards. Preferably often. This would come under the heading of "mercy killing" as far as I'm concerned. I know I'd certainly feel much better.
The only people who have authority to speak on my behalf on this subject shall be my parents, my sisters, and my children (when they reach the age of majority), and then only as regards my written instructions being carried out
to the fullest. Those who do not have any say in my demise would by the aforementioned ex-spouses, any (bleep)ing lawyers who (miraculously) survive the onslaught of familial gunfire, credit card companies, investors, insurance adjustors, morticians, coffin salesmen, Columbia Record House, political commentators, polling companies, (bleep)ing judges, and the guy who made me that really awful sausage roll at Lexy's Pizza in 1979.
If the circumstance arises where I must kick the bucket, shuffle off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and join the bleedin' choir invisible, I sure as hell don't want to be starved to death. Being on a diet at present, this does not come to the top of my list as a "way to go." Nor do I want to suffer other forms of tortuous expiration like a Paulie Shore movie marathon. No, just replace the oxygen tube with a good bong of Maui Wowie, shove about a dozen Twinkies
through the feeding tube, and don't do the IV push of narcotics until the last cut of "Dark Side of the Moon" slowly fades out.
Afterwards, strip me down for parts like an old Chevy, chuck what's left in a cardboard box, turn the temp to extra crispy, and load the ashes into a good-sized fireworks rocket. It'd be one last chance for everybody to go "Oooooh, Ahhhhhh" about me that didn't involve my world-famous lasagna recipe. Which, by the way, I'm taking to my grave.
Some might say that I'm making light of a serious issue. Quite the opposite is true. If Terri Schiavo had written her wishes down, no matter what those wishes were, they should have been respected. Having a less-than-reliable source communicating those wishes is what has caused such a conundrum for her, for her family, for the courts and congress. Now, at least, there is no doubt about what my
What are yours?
About the Writer: Doc Farmer is a writer and humorist who is also a moderator on ChronWatch's Forum. He formerly lived in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but now resides in the Midwest. Doc receives e-mail at email@example.com.
This Article Was First Published In ChronWatch At: http://www.chronwatch.com/content/contentDisplay.asp?aid=13664