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April 2, 2005

Living Wills - Advanced Directives

The circus surrounding the Schiavo case is sickening, even after she's dead. The fact that religious fanatics activists (and the craven politicians who suck up to them) tried to interfere in a private, family tragedy where the poor woman's own parents are in denial just makes it macabre. But it does bring up one important thing: in this day and age, you can't trust the government (or even your own extended family) to abide by your wishes unless you put them in writing.

So here it is: If I'm a vegetable, and have been that way for years, let me die. If I can still communicate, fine, I'll hang around. If I'm in a coma, give it a little time, I might snap out of it. But if my EEG is flat, and my brain is mush, nothing more than base autonomic crap, and has been that way for over three years, I'm gone. Harvest my organs and cremate what's left. Even if I somehow was still in there, after three years incommunicado I'd be absolutely stark raving mad. I trust the people close to me to know whether I'm still there. If I'm just disabled, I can try to get around it, and I'll bitch and moan all the while. If I'm dying anyway from a terminal illness though, no heroics, please, especially if it just serves to keep me around in a pain-wracked state.

But I had at one time an advanced directive, before I went in for brain surgery. It was, in part, my way of acknowledging the risk, and making my friends and relatives acknowledge it as well. But most people don't remember that daily life has risk as well. One well placed guided missily piloted by a drunk driver, and even being on the sidewalk can't save you!

So, think about it, and make your wishes known, in you diary, your blog, and in a formal advanced directive/living will. Don't become a public football for a bunch of religious fanatics and craven politicians.

Posted by ljl at April 2, 2005 12:35 PM