on the schiavos
[Updated at 7:40, see below]
I wasn't going to write about this. I spent the entire day biting my tongue and then forgot about it for a bit when my site went down.
But now I'm thinking about it again. And, obviously, writing.
I always believed that a person should be able to choose to die if they are terminally sick. I think it's unfair to force someone to live with tubes and machines and agony if they don't want to.
If you don't make your wishes known to your family - if you don't have a DNR order signed, if you don't legally write down your desire to have your plug pulled should you enter a persistent vegitative state - then you will be forced to endure the rest of your blank life, just waiting to die.
Rightfully so, I might add. While a husband can profess to speak for his wife and vice versa, if there is no legal, binding piece of paper that says what one spouse wanted in a situation like this, then the other spouse cannot presume to know what the other would want.
In this case, especially, it is hard to take what the husband says at face value. Michael Schiavo is engaged to another woman. He has one child with that woman already and is expecting another. He has been overheard by a nurse muttering "when is that bitch going to die?" This is not exactly a man who is overwhelmed with grief and guilt at the prospect of his wife dying.
Then there's the parents. Terri Schiavo's mother and father swear that Terri responds to them. They want her kept alive. They do not want to sit by while their daughter starves to death, especially when they are convinced that she is, if even only minutely, aware.
Some people are protesting the fact that Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed a bill that will force the hopsice where Terri is located to put her feeding tube back in. They say the government has no right to intervene, that her next of kin should make the decision.
So, do you put your trust in a man, Michael Schiavo, who is living with, engaged to and having children with another woman while his wife Terri lays in a coma, while the money meant to go toTerri's rehibilitation is not being used because her husband has insisted on putting her in a nursing home instead of a rehabiltative center? Do you trust the man who stands to inherit this money should Terri die?
Or do you side with the parents of this woman, the people who gave her life, who raised her, who swear that she is responsive to them at times?
And even if it's only once in six months that Terri was responsive, even if it was only a small movement of her lip or a fluttering of her eyelashes, that's something. It would be heartwrenching to stand there and watch your child starve to death, wondering if she is feeling anything, hearing anything, wondering how much agony she is in as she is denied nutrients.
It would be different if Terri had left a living will stating that her life should be discontinued in the event of something like this. It would be easier on the parents - still painful of course - to know they were doing what their daughter requested, what she wanted and not what the man who has spent the last seven years with another woman wants.
This is a tough one. I've always been in the right-to-die camp but this one has "extenuating circumstances" written all over it.
I wonder how Michael Schiavo sleeps at night. I hope he doesn't.
That said, I will be seeing my lawyer tomorrow about a living will.
UPDATE: Upon further thought, I have to say that it worries me that a governor has the right to override a court's decision and to decide someone's fate. Which is why this is such a sticky case. On the one hand, I Michael Schiavo long ago lost the right to say that he speaks for his wife. On the other hand, we have the government deciding if someone lives or dies and making laws according to their beliefs at whim.
I keep going back and forth. The more I read, the more confused I become. I want her to be able to die, I want her to be kept alive, just in case. Obviously, what I want doesn't matter one bit, but it matters to me in the sense that I thought I had my ideologies all worked out and then something like this comes along and kicks my ass.
And then I have to wonder: how long would I devote myself to my husband for if he was in a coma-like state for years and years? At what point would I give up, or would I?
I'd really like to hear what you all think of this.