Euthanasia, A Personal Perspective
Euthanasia, too many of us there are images of concentration camps, gas chambers, elderly and the disabled put in carts, wheeled off after some unfeeling state worker had just filled their veins full of drugs, killing them off more effectively than we see on Texas’s death row. Is this Euthanasia? No, the camps were an act of genocide, the people involved had no say in their deaths, with euthanasia or assisted suicide they have a legal right to say yes or no, the disabled slaughtered by the Fascist was the same thing, that is why they still bring such reactions of horror when mentioned. Euthanasia is an act of willingly going to your death with the aid of a medical person (as a rule, I remember years ago Kevorkian and his suicide machine); it is this that I am looking at.
I was watching an article last night on Tucker. I watch Tucker, along with Maddow and Anderson Cooper, not because I really enjoy them, my wife gets angry, asks why I watch them when all I do is cuss and yell at the TV. I always answer, “How can I be prepared to answer if I have no clue how they are thinking?” She looks at me with amusement, shakes her head and smiles, most of the time then both of us just laugh, well after she tells me I am acting like a stupid male. I watch to try to get a different perspective, it is not always perfect, but I try.
Last night after watching these shows I watched a special on Tucker, he was on vacation, but filling in for him the host had a man up from Europe going over their growing Euthanasia problem in Europe. I sat in horror watching it, then sat up on the computer researching it, found myself shocked by the ease that this is being viewed at, in some countries you can check out if you just find life boring. I sat and wondered in my bed, how could they do that? What about their family, their kids, what are they setting forward as an example?
I sat in bed as I tried to sleep, my mind was racing, not a good way to be if you want a peaceful sleep, thought about my life, all that is around me, know of this type of thinking, checking out due to pain, but have at this point never considered it. I guess the best way to explain is to just tell you, don’t like going into my life very much, I comment on the news, but sometimes the best way to explain something is to share.
A Personal Perspective
13 years ago my wife and I seemed on top of the world, we had businesses, were in love, we were still relatively new together, we had been married for 3 years, just found out she was pregnant after the doctors told her she never could be, all was well, I had a child on my way, my second, had lost my first many years ago to a drunk driver along with his mother, had lost hope of ever having a family. Then the accident came, I took a fall that broke my back, it was so bad that I could not walk without a walker, here was my wife pregnant, and it was a high-risk pregnancy due to her being a diabetic, she was helping bring me to the bathroom as I would hang on her back and she would walk me. But our kid came along anyway, a wonderful little baby boy.
Then we started to notice some issues with my son, first the fact that he had heart issues, a narrowing of the aorta, then Pulmonary stenosis, trips to the children’s hospital, while all this was going on, due to me not being able to work, we lost everything, ended up moving in with my in-laws while I recovered, I could not walk without a walker at that point, but I was still so thankful, as bad as things were, here was a son who loved me, a wife as well, it was good, even if there were hardships.
Then came the problems that grew worse, we found out my child had autism, or so they thought, at the same time I had gone through back surgery, the doctor made things so much worse, I now had post-surgical Cauda Equina Syndrome, it is like a back problem on steroids, knowing he messed up the doctor had me so drugged up that I remember very little of that year. Then my sister grabbed hold of me, said she was taking me to her home, cleaned me up, figured what the doctor had me on was enough for three people, she weened me down to the bare minimum (and yes, she is a doctor as well), then I went back home, a little more in pain, but for sure more aware and switched doctors.
I remember they told me I would never walk unassisted, that was not going to work, I worked and worked, cried sometimes, fought through the pain, and finally was able to walk unassisted, still can, but there is pain involved, but pain is just an old friend now, tells me I am alive and what I must live for, to make sure I never let it conquer me. Just as my life was picking up the problems with my wife started, we found out that due to her pregnancy diabetes had gotten much worse, she now had a condition that made her body become resistant to insulin, she was having to use 6 and 7 times the insulin that other diabetics used, this brought on problems, the first was weight gain, then the liver problems started, then kidney. After this we found out she had chronic heart failure on her left side of the heart, just found out that has moved to the right side, yet neither of us has felt that life is overwhelming, just more challenging.
During all of this, as if this was not enough, we got DNA test back on our child, found out his heart problems were part of the problem that comes with Williams Syndrome, he has a condition that is similar to Down Syndrome, just not as pronounced if you see him, he has more elfin features. The US Library of Medicine defines it as:
People with Williams syndrome typically have difficulty with visual-spatial tasks such as drawing and assembling puzzles, but they tend to do well on tasks that involve spoken language, music, and learning by repetition (rote memorization). Affected individuals have outgoing, engaging personalities and tend to take an extreme interest in other people.
The condition gives the people problems with overproduction of oxytocin, this is the love hormone, so he loves everyone, they call this condition the hugging disease, he lives to say hi to someone and receive responses in reply, then he will hug them and tell them how nice they look (although we have been working to slow him down with this), he has been the joy of my life. This also brings a host of problems such as coordination, problems with his coordination, with puzzle solving, he must work harder than many kids do, but I never tell him this is an excuse, sometimes he may have to work a little harder than others to get what they are doing.
Yet never did I think about giving up, I started to write, had a book published, now working on two more, started to do political blogging, the growth of this has been rather startling. To sit back and live off the state is unacceptable, I knew I had to do something to get me off the federal rolls and get back on my feet. I always preached that welfare should only be there to aid people getting back on their feet, SSI disability as well, if you can work, you should be able to do so, even if it is a part-time job. I was in a position where I had to put my actions where my mouth was, so I got to work, no more was I going to be supported by others, I had a mind (some of you may argue over this), I was determined to use it; my body may be broken, my mind never was.
Now with all of this going on, we could give up, call it quits (many people do), my wife is now in palliative care, she was in hospice, then upgraded, but we know this will not last forever, the chronic heart failure is a ticking bomb, but she fights with a determination I have never seen before, she says it is not for me, she wants to see her son grow, I find this not insulting in the slightest, a parents priority should always be their children. Seems to be we take her to the hospital, I know all is lost, then she fights her way back, says that she is not going anyplace, she is going to stick around just to hound me.
Is life easy, of course it isn’t, but this is not a reason to quit. Never do we feel that life is so hard that it would just be easier to check out then face this pain on daily bases. What about our child, how would such a thing affect him? But even if our child wasn’t here, would I check out, would she? No, there is too much to learn. At 55 some think they have learned it all, I, on the other hand, think I have never learned enough, and the information age, with the internet and all the knowledge you can find in it, is like feeding junky drugs, information is the same for me, the more I take in the more I want to learn. My wife yells that I have three browsers up, digging down three different paths and yelling because my computer is slowing down, I can’t shut them down, I don’t want to lose my train of thought, the excitement of discovery is what keeps me going, that is what people need to learn, find something that drives you, does not have to be knowledge, anything will do.
Where We Are Now
It seems in Europe and even in the US we look for instant gratification, if we don’t get it then something must be wrong, you see this from people in their everyday life to applying this to their relationships, many marriages have dissolved because of this. We have seen the numbers rise of marriages that have fallen apart, when the magic of discovery is gone, the people live together because they are comfortable, but they don’t share their lives, they are off in their own bubble, they touch bubbles and that is it, soon they drift apart, happiness is no longer there, soon they are done. The one thing I have learned with my wife is to laugh, laugh at yourself, at each other, to be frank to the point of being brutal, if you can’t be honest with your spouse who can you be? As I have watched her fall apart in front of me, I have learned to cherish the moments, I know one day I will turn to her for a laugh, she will not be there, then I will cry over this loss before I remember to laugh thinking how she would have dealt with things.
We need to learn to discover, be it in life, in each other, of people around us, even looking at discovery through the eyes of our children, we need to learn to discover new things when we stop it seems that we just wither and die. I remember as a child reading up on Thomas Edison, read up when he was dying he was driving the doctors nuts, he wanted to know everything they were doing, so they would tell him had a problem, he would have assistants run to the library, get a books on the ailment they told him he had, then would study up everything he could about this, then try to figure out ways to make it better, the poor doctors instead of treating him were getting into arguments over what he thought was a better treatment. Seems crazy, but this man was still on a quest to discover until he died, that is the way I want to go out, I can see me on my death bed with a computer in front of me, angry that I don’t have enough time to discover some new thing I just found out, yelling at doctors they need to keep me alive a couple more weeks.
What To Do, Mixed Emotions
But I need to end with this, is euthanasia or assisted, or even unassisted suicide the answer? I live in pain, do so with every waking and sleeping moment in my life, I have a spinal cord stimulator to reduce the pain, have a patch on my arm to aid in fighting it, have pills when these two are not enough, I understand pain. As such, I also understand when too much is too much. There are people facing cancer or much worse, they know the last few months are going to be nothing but torment, do I disrespect their right to end their suffering when it starts down this path? How can I? But do I understand people doing it because they are bored with their life, feel that they don’t want to face any challenges? Sorry, this is the coward’s way out, I have no understanding of this. Life is too full of challenges to just toss it away, the finality and preciousness of life are too much to just toss it away as something with little or no value.
How do I feel about a state or nation sponsoring this? That is reprehensible, more so if they are doing so because they don’t want to be stuck with the bills of taking care of a terminally ill person. They had no problem taking millions from this person when they were healthy in taxes, sometimes you have to give back, such is life.
A nation is there to take care of the safety of the citizens, to ensure their well-being as best it can, to sanction aiding, even pressuring people to die, that is not being humane, that is acting like the Fascist. That is what they did in the 1930’s and 40’s made up the same excuse as they started to wipe out their handicapped and mentally ill population, they were a drain on the state, it was not a step much further than to do so to people that were totally healthy, but they found them undesirable, so they did the same to them as well, to millions of Jews, Gypsies, Seventh Day Adventist and Jehovah Witnesses, to Russians and Poles, their political adversaries, is this the path we the free nations want to go down, I sure hope not. There is and has to remain a fine line between allowing people to die with dignity and having the state make this their policy, we need to keep that fine line in there, otherwise, we lose what humanity we have left within us as a nation.
This subject of euthanasia always leaves me torn, I have a part of me that understands this, yet another says you have to fight against this with all you have. Some of it is religious, with the Jewish and Christian upbringing, that is a whole story by itself, I know the moral or religious reasons why this is wrong, but I also understand there should be no need to go through a torment that is more than anyone should have to handle. One must look at this subject and be happy it is difficult, when it isn’t, then to kill will be no harder than reading a book or driving a car, that is not where we want to go, already societies are becoming jaded to this with video games that have kids killing more in a day then a normal person would do in a lifetime, we see in movies, do we want to bring this into our actual lives? I personally hope and pray we never do.