It's the Girl Scout motto.
And it's the positive message I'm taking from the horrible nightmare that is the Terri Schiavo case. I was talking to my mother a few days ago about this because she is in the midst of "getting her affairs in order," bless her, not because there's anything wrong, but because with the Parkinson's diagnosis for Bob and a second marriage late in life, it's a good thing to do so your family doesn't suffer. I told her to be sure to specify that in the case of a persistent vegetative state there would be no gastric feeding tube. She told me that her friend Shall had just had her dad unhooked when he went south during an illness. I pointed out that unplugging only ends your life if you're on a ventilator. If you are in a persistent vegetative state, like Terri Schiavo is your autonomic nervous system will still function enabling your reflexes to work so that you will grimace and moan and do all the stuff that Terri is featured doing on that horrifying video tape that the media loves to play over and over and over again.
However, the lights aren't on and no one is home. I take solace in the fact that this poor woman has no idea what's happening to her, or that the video of her lolling head and rolling eyes has been seen by people all over the world. I told my mom that if she did that to me I would come back and haunt her for the rest of her days as soon as I was finally able to die.
President Bush said this today, "It is wise to always err on the side of life," but forgot to add "unless you're a black man sitting on death row in the state of Texas," which killed more people under his watch than any other governor. People who may have been innocent but were refused new trials.
What Terri is doing is not living. She is existing. I cannot imagine having a family member in this situation, but I know that I do not want anyone to be forced to exist when they have no brainwaves. The brain is dead. The spirit is gone. Their Terri is gone. Her body will exist as long as they feed it. That the United States government got involved is both terrifying and outrageous. That the president cut short one of his many vacations to sign legislation that may allow the feeding tube to be reinserted is arrogant and not what the President of this country should be concerning himself with.
Her husband is vilified for refusing to divorce her and allow her care to revert to her family. He has refused truly disgusting offers of millions of dollars to do so. He wants to make sure that she is allowed to die - the with dignity part is way past moot what with that video and the "Christian" hullabaloo. He has not gotten on with his life, though divorcing Terri and doing so would definitely have been the easiest thing to do. He is concerned that her parents are not making rational decisions evidenced by her father's statement that he would have amputations performed to do so. He is concerned that their "medical expert opinion" that Terri was misdiagnosed comes from doctors who are not neurologists and who give this opinion after seeing that damn video.
What about brain scans and EEGs? Why don't they do one of those and bring in some Independant Medical Examiners? If she's got no brain waves now, 20 years after her brain damage, I think it's safe to say that it's never going to happen. It's sad that there are doctors in this world who will tell people what they want to hear instead of the truth.
It's sad what Michael Schiavo is going through to allow his wife to die. It's sad what Terri's family is going through holding on to hope where there isn't any and being misled by people who would use their tragedy to further their moral/political agendas. It's sad that this president and this congress would intervene in a citizen's life in such an intrusive and "big brother" way.
It's all just so sad.
But if a few more people decide to get be prepared by making a living will and so prevent their families from being in this position then at least some good will come out of all this sad.
I have a living will, but it's in a safety deposit box that is who knows where. Certainly not Wells Fargo who bought First Intersate and then moved it without advising me. So I'm going to write my instructions down and have a friend witness it and keep it on the refrigerator.
Just in case.