TBD on Ning

Serious Stuff, folks.
Not everyone has the luxury to drop dead after fois gras and toast; not everyone gets to drift off in their sleep. 

Some folks get death sentences that include years of hospitalization, pain, suffering. There are those of us who chose to stay and fight (hats off to you my love, M), and others who do not.

This is a very personal decision, a very real and unique discussion.

I am 52 years old and I lived the life of fifteen sailors trapped in a whore house. I am still filled with joy and laughter, compassion , love, lust (ghmhm). My children are almost grown, my marriage is over. Recently I've recieved several reliable medical opinions that I will require spinal fusions and joint replacements, that, if placed end to end, will last for years. Sans PT.

Now, I've never been one for pain and I've never been one for drugs (unless, ofcourse, they were not medically indicated.) I hesitate to make this personal because its a decision that many of us will have to face at one time or another. But how can you discuss something more personal than death?

Would you consent to live under these conditions? Why? Why not? What if you just could NOT stand another minute of pain? Even if the cure came the day after you were dead, and the waiting was just not worthwhile? And what, how could would you tell your family and friends? What for the ones who steadfastly refused to accept your decision? All matters of sin aside, please share your thoughts with me, and I will do the same, to the best of my courage and ability... Your friend (all of yours, even those not yet introduced), JackieRodzinski (MotherSanity)

Tags: death, dieing, family, hope, joy, loss, love, pain, religion, sorrow

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I am personalizing this issue too much. And I'm doing that so that you understand that I am not trying to pry into your intermost thoughts and feelings, without first giving you a glimpse of mine.

I think that many of us will agree that life is hard. Why do you suppose that might be? Perhaps, like everything else, the harder one aspect presents, the more attractive its opposite appears. (In other words, the age old question: how can one 'know' happieness' without first having the knowledge of misery? The deeper the anguish, the more resplendent it's solace. Right?

My question is not, should I jump off the GW Bridge. Rather, I am exploring the value of life in the face of great suffering and I am asking you what your opinion is about this complex and oftimes very personal matter.

Thanks to those of you who have expressed your concern and love. I especially want to thank Rob for offering to go as far as to...sleep with me. Some people just cant sacrifice enough..... .what can I say Rob. For once I find myself....speechless,

To conclude, I'm exploring this question as a philosophiocal issue, despite it's personal overtones. Does that help make sense? Mother Sanity in the face of insanity.
Thank you. I understand you completely. Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou and that much more. You are a cherished friend.

I always felt that, in discussing death I was really discussing life in its most fundemental form. In other words, if you look death straight in the eye....you see life! Shocking, amazing wonderful and true. I love you, Pru. Jackie
"I especially want to thank Rob for offering to go as far as to...sleep with me. Some people just cant sacrifice enough..... .what can I say Rob. For once I find myself....speechless,"

Just one of many selfless acts on my behalf Jackie :)

I can only assume that my answer lies bare in the certainty that I hope to escape the physical pains associated with any debilitating disease. Those with children ( and for their sakes ) may find it more reason to endure, as I hope would be the case with me, but until I crossed that threshold, I could never say with clarity. Like many here, I'm not nearly afraid of death as I am of dying. In other words, the "means" to that end. How long will I suffer ?.....How painful will it be ?....questions to that effect. I think it fair to say that "hoping to avoid" and "not consenting to" are one and the same in this scenario. I hope what I say next makes sense. In as much as I can't know until such a decision had to be made, I believe that under such circumstances, I would, in fact give consent to being relieved of this degree of suffering. Pru, LJ, Chez, ROBBIE, and of course, you Jackie.....I loved reading what you guys had to say on this topic :)
And I wish you relief and immunity. Thank you. I cant help but think that my life is really not my own; indead I am who I am because of others, and in a sense, I belong to them. By taking my life I would be stealing part of what's theirs. Perhaps 'god' causes us to suffer so that we can exault in the bliss of the afterlife. I dont know. I just know that I hate pain, and no matter what they say, there is no way to control it. Please lets be friends and talk. Maybe we can go through the next step hand in hand. Love is the only thing I can think of that's really worth a damn. Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful reply. Love, jackie
LJ, I am happy to hear you sounding more optimistic.

For me, Jackie, life is - or should be - in our own hands. Therein lies the problem, of course, because that leaves us to make the decision. If you don't fear 'sin' enough to stay alive to avoid its consequence, then you are forced to examine your heart's desires closely in order to make the decision that is right for you. Family and friends are often selfish in this kind of situation, and it is good to discuss the philosophical ramifications with them so that they will know how you want your wishes to be carried out in case of incapacity. I was put in the situation of having to 'pull the plug' on my husband seven years ago, because the medical system does not cut the doctors any slack in allowing death when life is still feasible. They would have kept him going long after he had really left if we had not made provision with the 'living will' instructions which I could show them. But we never had to face the really difficult situation of his recovering enough to come home and suffer a slow decline and miserable quality of life, which we knew was in store for him, with ALS. For that I am grateful, and I know he would have been.

I don't know what decision I would make for myself in the case of ongoing lucidity with pain. I suppose I'd use as many painkillers as possible as long I could enjoy life at all. What does that mean? Spending the day listening to books on tape and hearing the birds outside the window? I don't know yet what my limits are.

My parents are gone, so I, as the eldest sibling, am already at the head of the line. I do know, and have made it known, that I do not want to be kept alive in any kind of permanent unconscious or uncomprehending state. I'd have nothing against putting an end to my life as long as things were in order and I had taken leave of my loved ones. I wouldn't want to leave them with a mess. I'm not afraid of death, just its effect on those around me. And of course I hope it doesn't hurt too much on the way out. Heh.
I have given this considerable thought. I have been very close three times. Not as close as Pru, but close enough to know that I had a choice. I was much younger then and not ready to go. Over time my feelings about "The End" has changed considerably. I was afraid of "Death". What does that mean? I truely don't know. But I do know that I was very scared of dying. I think it is a biological function that is built in. As I have aged, I have become less fearful of the unknown of death. I think that too is as much biological as it is a function of reason. Now I am afraid of the pain that I see is often involved, but not of the not being here anymore. A few years ago I started having cramps of the sartorius muscle in the thighs. This would happen when I was asleep. These were not the lower leg cramps that many of us have experienced. I get those also, but I can jump out of bed and walk them away. The cramps I am talking about also had to be walked off. But they did not go away quickly or easily. Pain is something that cannot be easily described. That is why the medical profession came up with the one to ten scale. That is a joke. I got to the point that I would stay awake for as long as I could, sometimes a couple days. I knew that if I continued to experience these cramps I would have no choice but to kill myself. I tried many things. I don't know what happened but finely something worked. Maybe the fact that I try to stay away from anything that contains preservatives. Maybe that I drink a lot more water. Who knows? But I havent experienced that type cramp for quite a while.
My point in this long rambling story is that I can fully understand arriving at a point where the pain, be it physical or emotional, would be considered worse than the pain of death. That death could be the only relief. I
think that trying to hang on to life at any cost, between the time we become self aware and the time that staying alive serves no purpose and becomes a heavy burden to your friends and relatives, makes sense.
But that there comes a point at which staying alive makes no sense. Eventually we all die.
However, I want to make it perfectly clear that I want to be the one who decides when that point is reached. That also means giving the right to make that decision to someone else in the case that I am incapable of making it.

I hope this isn't too long and convoluted.
Hi Jackie, This is a tough one, no doubt. And I think each and everyone of us probably have a unique response to the question of when is enough, enough. I expect there is a great divide between many of us. There are surely many who's religion would preclude them from considering anything but to soldier on, and many who are of the mind that "the means" justify the end. (hope that makes sense) I have dealt with physical pain, though nowhere near what you are going through. My nemisis is mental pain. And yes I have considered several times whether it was worth continuing my life. I'm not exactly sure why, but I'm still here. That being said, I do not believe in suffering. Then the question becomes, how much suffering. Which again leads us back to each and every one of us having their own unique response. I know I just talked my way in a big circle here, but isn't that what life is, one big ol' circle. We all make our own decisions. Sometimes based on what we want, some times based on what others want. But it's your decision to make. I hope you stick around for a long time, but that's just MY decision for you.
Peace to You and Yours!




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