Apr 16, 2012 at 15:04:38
“You are absolutely correct, Ken. My error. Terri Schiavo was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state after being in a coma for several months. Her feeding tube was removed by court order after fifteen years. Doctors say her brain was damaged due to lack of oxygen when she suffered her initial acute attack, but she did not require a respirator to live. I apologize for a loose reference of facts, which is totally inappropriate in an article such as this one. This issue does not have to be exaggerated or sensationalized to be important. Thanks for straightening me out.”
“Exellent post, Ms. Abrahms. When I wrote my book about death in the 21st century, I kept coming back to the question, "Is it our responsibility to keep people alive or to help them die a good death?" A good death, one with dignity according to our personal standards, seems to me to be the best outcome of a life well lived. We are pro-choice throughout our lives, why are we so against it when we're on the exit ramp?
Our advanced technology and medicine can keep many people alive indefinitely and it's getting harder and harder to die. That leaves a dispute over when we're considered to be dying. Is it when death is imminent, say within a few hours, or when medicine can't heal us and we'll die without treatment?
My mother was terminally ill and wasn't afraid to die. Many dying people aren't. Yet it's fear that prevents healthy, living people from realizing that death is the normal outcome of being born.
Thanks for the thoughtful analogy. I loved my mother and helped her die on her own terms. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. And every time I am approached by one of my readers, I know that keeping this conversation going is the only way to help others die well.”
“Hi, Targa3141-- I had to laugh at your comment because in a way I do agree with you. Maybe better said is that the article didn't say anything new. I've been blogging with HuffPost for a while now and some articles write themselves in ten minutes. Others, like this one, linger for a while and are much harder. My original slant was, "Have your kids young." The more I researched the topic and talked to other women, the more they disagreed with me and made some very good points against mine. So I felt the article had to include all the different viewpoints because of course having kids is a very personal thing, especially if you're considering starting a family right now. Like everything I write, though, I hoped to start a conversation. Thanks for commenting! -Janice (p.s. if you haven't checked them out, there is some very interesting infertility background info in the links)”
Targa3141 on Oct 4, 2011 at 18:14:43
“How about looking to ACOG, the CDC or other medical groups for facts rather than your friends' opinions? Just sayin'....”
Sep 18, 2011 at 18:00:59
Thanks for responding with such a great insight. I, too, have struggled with these issues. My experience and research led me to my latest novel, Finding Frances. I wanted to start this very conversation that you raise (in my own words): "When is a person dying and is it our responsibility to keep people alive or to help them die a good death?" There has got to be a way to draw that line responsibly. When my mother died they kept telling us, "She's not dying." What they really meant to say was, "If we don't try all our experimental treatments, she'll die now." In my mind and hers, that meant that without treatment she would die, so she was in fact dying. At that point, there should be a choice of whether to die naturally or to try the kind of heroics you describe. Great discussion point. -Janice”
Sep 17, 2011 at 16:19:55
Your pain and emptiness come through the wires right to my heart. No, I'm not ignoring your loss or parents like you who have lost your children. The truth is that I have no way of writing anything that will help heal the pain of of such a deep wound. I wish I did. I believe, though, that when you let Cait go, it was an act of courage, love and sacrifice. She was lucky to have known such love. You know first-hand what I've written about. My goal in writing the article was to get people thinking before they are faced with such a desperate moment. My condolences to you. Janice”