Redneck's Wife
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
  I can't beleive they're going to kill her!
Yes, I'm talking about Terri Schiavo. Is this horrifying, or what? I really don't care what political side you're on, how is it okay to deny food and water to someone when there are people who want her to live and want to take care of her? And there is no written record of her saying she wants this to happen?

I know that letting someone die from dehydration and starvation is legal (under certain circumstances), because I have witnessed someone die in exactly this way twice. But that doesn't mean it's pleasant.

My Grandpa had a stroke and was no longer able to swallow. He left a living will stating that he did not want to be resusitated if he was in a state like that. So we all sat by his bedside for a week or so as he progressively got weaker and eventually died. It was awful, and very painful to watch. But we did it, because he said in advance that he wanted it that way.

My Grandma was a little different. She had a seizure and was hospitalized, but she was still able to talk and walk around afterwards. She had some dementia, but she was mostly coherent. However, she decided that she was done living. She had never been happy since my Grandpa died, and she just felt like she had outlived her time here. We didn't agree with that, but she was adamant. She made the decision to stop eating and drinking. So for a couple of weeks, we sat by her bedside and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. We brushed her hair, talked to her, and played some of her favorite music. She died slowly, and it was horrifying to watch. I would not have chosen this for her, but I had no say in the matter. She would moan and sometimes she sounded distressed. Her skin got kind of translucent and she became less and less aware, until she was mostly unconcious. At the very end, she continuously moaned loudly for hours. Again, just heartwrenching and horrifying to watch. I'm sure she was in pain. The only thing that got us through it was that this was her decision. It didn't help very much, but there you are.

Now, in Terri Schiavo's case, there is no clear decision. Her "husband" says that she stated in passing that she wouldn't want to live this way, but there are no witnesses to back that up. Her parents want to take care of her, and there is evidence that her condition could improve with treatment. And yet, her parents have to sit there and watch her die, slowly and painfully. They have been denied the opportunity to get treatment for her, and the courts are refusing to help them. I lack the words to express how wrong this is. I can only pray that somehow she will be allowed to live and that her parents will be allowed to take care of her as they so want to. But this is not looking very likely. She's now been without food or water for 5 days. Please, God, intervene for this poor woman.
Thank you Sami. You have put this issue into very black and white terms that I can understand and relate to, especially since you have witnessed something similar. I had been thinking in the abstract and been a bit to ambivalent. While I felt that it was wrong to simply stand by and let this woman die, you have helped me to understand why. I join you in your prayers. God intervene and rescue this woman from selfish, sinful people.
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I married the rarest of creatures, a genuine redneck who was born and raised in the liberal San Francisco Bay Area. I'm a technophile married to a technophobe.

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