Friday, October 10, 2008

In Defense of Dignity

This was a post that had me in tears reading it:
My mother had pulmonary fibrosis, a degenerative lung condition, and we knew enough about the disease to know that dramatic turns for the worse were a possibility. She knew that pulmonary fibrosis would eventually end her life, and she'd done some research into just what sort of an end she could expect. It wasn't going to be pretty. Her lungs were gradually filling with scar tissue. She would, when her time came, slowly and painfully suffocate to death over a period of hours or days.
Darcy has pulmonary fibrosis so this article really hit home. She too, knew she would likely face death painfully gasping for breath. It isn't just painful, your body automatically goes into panic as you struggle more and more air. She got a lung transplant that extended her life and made it considerably better for quite a long time, but 10 years post transplant the medications have destroyed her kidneys and she is now on dialysis 3 days a week. Her liver is failing too and she has to go in about every 6 weeks for them to drain her stomach from the fluid that fills it from the faulty liver. I don't think she has too much more time left.

How she will die has always been a major concern for her. What she is most afraid of is being put on a vent indefinitely and stashed in some nursing home for years, more vegetable than alive. The one good thing about the kidney failure is that if she does want to give up she can just stop the dialysis, after a couple of weeks she will just fall asleep and not wake up.
People must accept death at "the hour chosen by God," according to Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the Catholic Church, which is pouring money into the campaign against I-1000.

The hour chosen by God? What does that even mean? Without the intervention of man—and medical science—my mother would have died years earlier. And at the end, even without assisted suicide as an option, my mother had to make her choices. Two hours with the mask off? Six with the mask on? Another two days hooked up to machines? Once things were hopeless, she chose the quickest, if not the easiest, exit. Mask off, two hours. That was my mother's choice, not God's.
The author of the article, Dan Savage, lives in Washington state and apparently there is a proposition on the ballot to approve physician assisted suicide. The Pope is spending lots of money in the state fighting it. That's the point of his above comment.

The hour chosen by god is ridiculous nonsense. If Darcy hadn't had a lung transplant 10 years she would likely have been dead 9 years ago. There has been more than one chance of her dying over the past 10 years and she didn't thanks to the doctors and medication and her own fighting spirit. It certainly seems to me that the hour chosen by god has come and gone at least half a dozen times already, which makes it meaningless.

For those who think that is important then don't go a doctor when you get sick because you will be interfering with god's desire to have you dead.

No comments: