christina symanski, whitney houston, how to die in oregon, the comeback, and so much more

February 17, 2012 at 12:41 am (assisted suicide, choice, christina symanski, death with dignity, how does it feel to die, how to die in oregon, the comeback, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

let me just warn you that I am about to go on a rant, like non you have experienced here before. so you have been warned.  you know that I have very definite views on most issues so this will come as no surprise.  there are some constraints though and it is out of love for you,  there are some things I do not want you to question after I am gone. many times I have said ask me what you want now while I can answer and have those conversations if we need to.  in “the comeback” by shane hodge, shane takes the time to have these conversations with his mother and it left him in a good place.  it left him with pleasant memories and gave his mother the chance to share what we as parents hope to pass on to our children and loved ones.  some participate on a larger scale as in the documentary “How To Die in Oregon.”  this is my outlet for that desire to be understood.  most of my life it has been to my confusion and at times amusement for people to say who i am.  very sure of their interpretation people will say I am quiet while others think that is far from accurate, some think I am serious, others not so much.  I have been seen as someone who observes and analyses while others not knowing my profession find me the least judgemental person they have ever met.  does anyone ever truly know us?  do people simply make up their mind who we are and then make our behavior fit that mold as a detective decides someones guilt and then makes the evidence support that?  it is my observation people tend to want us to be who they think we are and do not want to be confused with the truth.  I can tell who I truly am and those that know me will say “oh no that is not true at all” as though they know me so much better than I know myself. 

here is a hint about who I am,  ah so here is the rub … see I was about to write about something that happened when I was young and would have made an excellent example of how I chose not to judge others.  it is  an incident that few know about and it is not something I would want my family to read here for the first time.  some know about it and hopefully they understand how it defined my life as a turning point and aided me in deciding how important my choice to look at things from all points of view has been.  it shocks me that I am struggling with my feelings now to understand how we have come to this horror story (Christie) and still choose not to have a responsible conversation about the right to die with dignity. this is where the rant begins, you have been warned, look away if you need to, it is about to get ugly.

let’s start with how we as a society feel it is our decision who dies and under what conditions.  who decides what is “life worth living?”  is it not our personal right? how about the constitution ???? life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  if my liberty is the liberty to end my life what are politicians doing trying to decide this for me?  and we are off!!! politicians!!!  mostly republicans and christians, these people are fine people, it is not my intent to label all republicans and christians.  please be sure to read this part over if you need to. NOT MY INTENT TO LABEL ALL REPUBLICANS AND CHRISTIANS!!!!  it is my intent to point out some theories that I personally find difficult to understand.  some people want to abolish the social programs that assist our poor, they also want to do away with birth control??? so have children you can’t afford but don’t ask for assistance? do I have that right?  say “get a job” really?  those “job makers” don’t seem to be making enough jobs and with the growing population that is going to be a bigger issue in years to come.  also our truly impoverished are children, that’s right, children. gingrich has the fix for that though, just put those poor kids to work! that’s right forget about child labor laws, go back a few years when children were sold in to what was essentially slavery. sweat shops anyone? guess that would give the break to those job makers that they need. no need to pay children living wages.  more women can die in childbirth so that would help with population control I guess, in the end it really is a win- win for the very rich.  however, they just scream gay marriage a few times and people don’t really hear what else is being said.  some say they want LESS GOVERNMENT, then they want the government to say who can get married, there is also the desire for the government to decide if a woman can have control over her own body or do we go back in time to men telling us what to do and say? will it stop there or will we be protected from big decisions like having the vote? owning property? what else is the government ready to decide for us?  oh yes they want to tell us whether or not our life is worth living.  silly me! why should I have the right to die with dignity??? there must be some reason that other’s need to make that choice for me. of course I may not be able to decide without being talked into it by well-meaning family members.  they are standing by the bedside ready for me to make my exit. it is only fair to them and so I must do as they want since I am weak-minded and do what others want me to do.  this is a decision I can not make on my own, and my family can’t be trusted, so gratefully the government is here to make that decision for me and every other human who thinks and wants to be in control of their body.  no I am not worthy of a dignified exit from this life.  the government wants me to suffer whatever indignity I must to satisfy those who don’t know me and don’t know what my life is like. 

the argument of people might end their life out of concern for their family or caregiver is beyond lame to me.  first I want to say so what if I choose to think of them? is it not the loving thing to do?  they suffer as well and as I have chosen to think of them and be concerned for their happiness in the past is it so surprising I might think of them now?  it is not a deciding factor, however, it is a piece of a very complicated puzzle.  people are crying over whitney houston and frankly I am confused and a little annoyed. this woman made the choice to use drugs, have children and then subject them to domestic violence and a home with an addict.  how is it more tragic for her to choose death, yes I know it is a disease and yes I think she made her choices.  life was too easy for her.  show up stoned and people feel sorry for you, if you are rich and a star.  if you are poor you are getting what you deserve.  we are cutting rehab programs for the poor so the message is:  if you are rich it is tragic, if you are poor too bad and no stars will be mourning your death. there will be no tributes on 60 minutes, oprah will not speak out about the loss to us all, you will just be one more junkie that the state had to bury.

Christine died months ago and yet we are just now seeing a story about her.  she was not rich, she was not a star, she was a girl who did a stupid thing and ended up a quadriplegic.  she is not the first and sorry to say she will not be the last.  she was a bright young woman who did not choose to continue living under her circumstances.  disability advocates say if we give someone like her the right to die with dignity( assisted suicide) it is a slippery slope and soon society will be rounding up all disabled persons and killing them.  this seems a bit far-fetched to me.  even if I agreed with having some guidelines as the person must be terminally ill there is then the argument that family will persuade the patient to take this drastic step. how that is seen to play out is not something I want to think about.  if physicians were allowed to assist it would add  another safety measure  to the process.  I do not see assisted suicide in my future as I would never put my family in that position, even if it were legal.  in “how to die in oregon” there was an experienced person to be the actual “assistant”, they stay with the patient a bit before and then give the patient the cocktail, they then let the family know they can join their loved one or not as they choose. it is quick and everyone knows what to expect.  goodbyes can be said.  the person is asked a few questions to make sure they understand what is about to happen and that it is still their choice.  this takes all the responsibility off the family. if certain members don’t want to be there it is their choice. if someone wants to spend those precious moments with the loved one they can.  christie was denied this option.  people who don’t know her decided if she wanted to end her suffering she must suffer to do so.  no dignity here, no quiet loving goodbyes and then a letting go and moving on with peace.  she had to suffer for nearly a month.  the only way for her to die was to refuse all medications, food and fluid.  can you even begin to imagine the last days, weeks of her life?  she was given no other option here,she could  live what she believed to be a tortured life or be tortured to death. a long and agonizing death and what did she do to deserve this????  since she was a quad she could not allow anyone to assist her by giving her the cocktail that would have released her from this suffering. no she would have put them in danger of being prosecuted, they would have been criminals for being merciful.  if we are not merciful then who are we?  we talk about gods mercy and wanting to live a godly life.  would that not include mercy for this suffering girl?? 

it breaks my heart and yet I know that I too may have to make some hard choices. do you think she wanted her family to suffer what they had to? they stood by her and nursed her while watching her slowly and painfully die in a most undignified manner.  that is what we are deciding not just for christie but all the christie’s, all the terminally ill who just want to leave with their dignity in tact.  for the families to of these people to suffer watching this unfold and not being able to ease the suffering of the loved one.  this is what some want to decide for all of us.  christie is not the first to endure this and she won’t be the last, there will be no headlines, no 60 minutes and no oprah mourning any of us.  we are not rich and famous.  we are just people who want to make this one last choice for ourselves.  as free and liberated members of a free society.

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