“Comfort Care as Denial of Personhood” by William J. Peace
“Comfort Care as Denial of Personhood” by William J. Peace
It is 2 a.m. I am very sick. I am not sure how long I have been hospitalized. The last two or three days have been a blur, a parade of procedures and people. I had a bloody debridement for a severe, large, and grossly infected stage four wound — the first wound I have had since I was paralyzed in 1978. I know the next six months or longer are going to be exceedingly difficult. I will be bedbound for months, dependent upon others for the first time in my adult life.
As these thoughts are coursing through my mind, a physician I have never met and the registered nurse on duty appear at my door. As they put on their gowns I am weary but hopeful. Surely there is something that can be done to stop the vomiting. The physician examines me with the nurse’s help. Like many other hospitalists that have examined me, he is coldly efficient. At some point, he asks the nurse to get a new medication.
What transpired after the nurse exited the room has haunted me. Paralyzed me with fear. The hospitalist asked me if I understood the gravity of my condition. He grimly told me I would be bedbound for at least six months and most likely a year or more. That there was a good chance the wound would never heal. If this happened, I would never sit in my wheelchair. I would never be able to work again. Not close to done, he told me I was looking at a life of complete and utter dependence.
He went on to tell me I was on powerful antibiotics that could cause significant organ damage. He informed me I had the right to forego any medication, including the lifesaving antibiotics. If I chose not to continue with the current therapy, I could be made very comfortable. I would feel no pain or discomfort at all. Although not explicitly stated, the message was loud and clear. I can help you die peacefully.
I have long been a strong proponent of appropriate euthanasia and the right to die. That people dying of incurable cancer are expected — are required by law! — to endure weeks of pointless pain and suffering, often against their will, when to deny euthanasia to a companion animal in similar straits is considered cruelty to animals, has always baffled me.
And, after watching my great-grandmother’s long decline and eventual death from Alzheimer’s, I believe that I would prefer, should I someday receive a diagnosis of incurable progressive dementia, to end my life at a time and place of my own choosing (probably a forest) rather than put myself and my loved ones through a needlessly drawn-out pantomime of pointless “life” where my body would have to be locked away for “my” own protection (and that of others if, like many dementia patients, I become violent); I say my body would have to be locked away because, if it gets to that point, I will have ceased to exist.
After reading the above article, I have second thoughts on this issue for the first time.
I encourage everyone to read Mr. Peace’s article in its entirety, even — or maybe especially — if you yourself are not (yet?) disabled. I do still think that denying right-to-die in all cases will necessarily lead to inhumane and unconscionable torment for some individuals who might wish to avail themselves of that right. But it’s now clear to me that the possibility of people who might wish to fight until their last breath having <i>that</i> choice taken from them, explicitly or otherwise, is part of the equation that must be balanced.
Two separate photos, one above the other. At the top of the image, a birch tree with just a few small, still-yellowish leaves having opened from buds; at the bottom of the image, an evergreen tree. Large meme-type captions appear on each photo, as follows.
Birch tree: “CHECK IT OUT, I’M TURNING GREEN”
Evergreen: “BIRCH, PLEASE”
A small border at the bottom of the image credits Memebase.com where the image was captioned.]
Happy Earth Day, Tumblr!
you really need to make 100yr+ birth certificates searchable for free online, since they’re public records and all and I’M IN FLORIDA. Cause I need my grandma’s birth certificate (from 1907) to try to get my papers together to apply for enrollment. FML. NDN problems….
(for real, what is with records in this country? only thing i’ve been able to find for her is the 1940 census, and that’s long after she moved to ohio to marry my grandfather and have my dad and uncle. Finding crap on my grandfather all over the place, but he’s not the one I need records on, since he’s italian, It’s my grandma who’s the Odawa.)
FYI, obviously it’s not your current concern, but if you have records showing that you’re descended from an Italian citizen, you’re eligible for Italian citizenship and can get an Italian passport and even, if you wanted to, visit Italy without having to leave before your visa expired.
I know because I’m working my way through the verification process myself, having had an Italian grandparent (my mother’s father) also. Hey, paisan’!
“It is my privilege, and an honor, to introduce to you Martha Kane Wayne…
…my significant mother.”
/end Bruce voice
[drawn by me, on the tablet (no stylus) using the PaintJoy app; now you all know why I’m usually reblogging other people’s art instead of posting my own]
[why are hairlines so hard augh]
If your partner were terrible all the time, it would actually be easier to deal with in many ways; you would tell yourself, “Well, he turned out to be a jerk.” But when someone you love goes back and forth between kindness and cruelty, generosity and selfishness, tenderness and intimidation, loving you and cheating on you, you can come to feel that it’s impossible to understand people. Your feelings for the primary person in your life tend to carry over into how you view everyone. Your partner may further feed the problem by encouraging you to think badly of others. He may tell you that people are lying to you or taking advantage of you; that your friends have hidden motives; that you are naïve in your dealings with people; that “everyone is just out for themselves.” He’s talking about himself, though he probably doesn’t know it.
Yeah, I’ve been on a kind of feministwerewolf-reblogging spree today. Just how I’m keeping my reblogs (semi- …sorta- …quasi-) organized at the moment. Not a tumblr crush.
- What You Said: I don’t think it’s right for you to say that I shouldn’t have a say in a certain conversation.
- What You Meant: The world has told me that my opinion is so valuable, my voice is so universal and my very being is so much more important than yours that I am positive that by simply adding my view on a topic, a topic that I am neither educated on nor have lived through, makes the conversation better, more viable and more important. I can not fathom a single subject or conversation that wouldn’t be made better when my opinion is given.
[image description: a three-color (sky-blue, earth-brown and blood-red on white) poster, in a style reminiscent of wood-block or woodcut printmaking.
The outer margin, and the human figure in the center of the poster — a kneeling Native North American elder, wearing a single eagle feather in their hair, braided (or beaded or bound) side-locks, a bone choker and what appears to be a long robe- or dress-type garment decorated with embroidery, and holding a tomahawk in their left hand / resting in their lap — are rendered in brown.
All of the block-print, ALL CAPS text (see below) is rendered in blue, as are:
- at left, a stylized eagle on a prickly-pear cactus, the sign that in Aztec / Mexica belief was foretold by the god Huitzilopochtli as indicating the place where Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City) should be founded, and which has been a symbol of Mexico since pre-Columbian times;
- at right, a stylized turtle, representing the Turtle Island which appears in the traditional belief systems of several First Nations who lived at or near the east coast of the modern United States when they first encountered European colonizers, and which has for decades been adopted by members of those and other Native American and Native Canadian peoples as a term for the North American continent as a whole;
- at bottom left, what appears to be a stylized mountain range or series of hills;
- at bottom right, what appears to be a council circle, with four seated human figures and what may be the arm of a fifth visible as silhouettes, at least one of whom is also wearing a single feather.
The blue turtle and brown human figure are superimposed on one another, so that the turtle’s left front flipper is a series of lines across the human’s otherwise-white face, and the turtle’s left side and left rear flipper are discernible in the white stitching decorating the human’s otherwise-brown clothing. There is a slight overlap of the brown human figure and the blue eagle-on-cactus, but those two elements appear more to border one another than to share space.
The blood-red element is somewhat like a Western-cartooning-style “speech bubble,” having a point which is aimed as if emerging from the brown human figure’s mouth, but which is mostly filled in with dark red, aside from numerous short, thin, pale lines suggestive of flowing water or woodgrain (or breath) and which curve inwards into a spiral at the end furthest from the human’s mouth. The word being spoken is also written along the top of the spiral/bubble, rather than inside; it is rendered in cursive script, all lowercase, the single word “libertad” (Spanish for “liberty”) with no punctuation.
The first, fourth and fifth lines of block-letter text are sky-blue on earth-brown, as the bottom margin of the poster has a wider band of brown to accommodate the text, while the brown background of the first line is in the form of a thin banner near, but not at, the top margin and slanting slightly downwards to the right. The text reads as follows (rendered in mixed Caps for readability):
—end of image description—]
Image credit: Poster created by visual artist and Michigan State University assistant professor Dylan Miner.