Saturday, March 26, 2005

Terri Schiavo

So something new, for me at least, came up on the Terri Schiavo case. The chemical imbalance that induced her heart attack and eventual brain damage came about as a consequence of bulimia. Teri had been a chubby teenager and was obsessed with not gaining weight. That gives a totally new meaning to accusations that she is being starved to death. Especially if one considers that she was already on a pretty destructive path.

But then as a spouse, as a parent what do you do when a thing like this happens? Which brings me to thoughts of euthanasia. I think it is much more painful, cruel and costly to let her die slowly than to mercifully end her life. As a parent myself, I can not see myself allowing my child to die a slow, painful death. Would I have the courage to help him die peacefully? I don’t know, but I do know that that is the choice my mind, if not my heart, would make. I worry that something catastrophic like that will happen to me and that I will literally rot in a bed, an unnecessary expense and a nuisance to those left to take care of me. I still haven’t’ seen Mar Adentro, but from what I know of the film, the main character wanted someone to help him die. It took a practical stranger to see his wish come true.

There’s an episode—first season—of Law and Order in which an AIDS activist is accused of killing several men diagnosed with AIDS. His defense argues among other things that the onslaught of AIDS is terrible and that these men wanted someone to help them end their lives so that they did not have to suffer through the illness. (Of course, this is in a time where AIDS medication was still not common, nor accessible. I understand that one can live a pretty healthy life now even if afflicted with the virus.) The point is that one should be able to choose how one wants to die. Death with dignity. Why wither away causing pain and inconvenience to others? oh well…

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