Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's Over...

I know I haven’t weighed in on the Terry Schiavo case, and maybe for very selfish reasons. I didn’t want to be viewed as the sappy heart liberal, or the non-feeling realist, regardless of the point of view I take on the subject. But with her passing, my heart is heavy and I think I at least should make mention of her.

First of all, I believe in the right to live, and die, on your own terms. I am a supporter of assisted suicide. I don’t believe suicide should be illegal. I believe your life is yours, the only thing we are truly given and possess and no one has the right to make any decision or pass judgment on how you leave this planet beside you and your higher power.

I do not believe hydration and food to be a “life sustaining” measure. I truly believe them to be comfort care. If you are hungry and thirsty, you are not being comforted.

In a living will, you permit doctors to give you pain medication to relieve your pain until you pass. I think food and water should be included in comfort care, even though it serves a dual purpose.

That is why in my living will, it specifically states that food and water will not be discontinued. My living will is very customized to my wishes, I will be given food, water and pain medication until it has been certified by two physicians that I am vegetative, then I am to be immediately scheduled for surgery to harvest my organs and permit me to die. No waiting. No questions. Nothing.

A lot of people don’t realize that Living Wills can be overridden by the person you designate as your Medical Power of Attorney. I found that out when I was gathering my paperwork before surgery. My attorney told me that if I wanted my wishes to be carried out no matter if my mom or Lindi were designated as my next of kin, the only way was a Living Will and NOT to sign a Medical Power of Attorney. If I signed a Medical Power of Attorney, that person can actually override my Living Will – and you could have a Terry Schiavo all over again.

If anything, Terry Schiavo has brought the right to die back into the minds of Americans, and her struggle, the family pain, the court battle – all of it – will make us remember that life is precious, it is a gift, and it is ours to do with what we wish, even when others don’t agree.

“May the Goddess carry her to the New Land with a happy soul and a light heart to start her new Journey, Amen.”


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