Blog #33: Whose Life is it, Anyway?

A little over a week ago, a beautiful young woman took her own life. Her name, as you probably know (because the “media” thought her story is something you would watch their commercials in order to see) was Brittany Maynard.

Hold your hat on for a minute; I’m gonna get a tad facetious here – Brittany’s timing was poor – the jerk who claims to be the shooter who killed Bin Laden “came out” the same week! What, you might ask, is wrong with our society? Well, old pap and I can suggest one thing that’s messed up: The abundance of self-proclaimed “counselors” who feel it their duty to tell the rest of us what to think and do, all delivered right into our living rooms via our blessed Telly. Then, there are the flocks and flocks of fools willing to listen to them!

Now, Brittany was not seeking notoriety, she was just seeking to have some control over her life and death. She was 29 years of age and was suffering with a malignant brain tumor. She had decided that she preferred not to live through the end-stage of her illness which would steal all her motor and cognitive control. Hence, she and her husband moved to Oregon, a state which allows physicians to assist persons in such condition to end their lives, and in fact, took the medications prescribed for her on November First.

According to “the media,” Brittany’s decision set off a debate, nay, our oft-invoked “battle,” over the “right to die!” Small editor’s note: Must we couch everything in these simple-minded terms of military conflict?

Brittany reportedly said, “I don’t want to die, but I am dying, and I want to die on my own terms. Who has the right to tell me that I don’t deserve this choice?” This young lady nailed it!  Who, indeed?

My dear Mum died of a similar brain cancer. She, on the other hand, decided to ride it out to the bitter end. Mum did not have religious reasons for her decision, she just refused to believe that a cure could not be found for her and was willing to suffer interminably to wait for it.

So, assisted suicide is not for everyone, but by what authority does anyone possess the right to insist on telling another what to do with their own life?

Which brings us to an interesting phenomenon – people living past (often nowadays, way-past) their “expiration dates.” Pappy and I first broached this subject back in my Blog #3 – Healthcare – Yikes! Now, I would like to recommend to my faithful readers an article published in the The Atlantic Magazine and written by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, entitled, Why I Hope to Die at 75.

Dr. Emanuel does not believe in assisted suicide, and is actually opposed to that idea, but states basically two reasons why he plans on not accepting any life-extending medical options after he reaches 75 years of age. One, is the frailty and other problems usually experienced with advancing age, and the other relates to our human tendency to procrastinate, putting off important things we might do because we think we have plenty of time to do them later. Dr. Emanuel agrees with old pappy in this regard. It is far better to plan ahead for your eventual demise than to wait until the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” take care of this little detail in a manner which you may not appreciate.

Predictably, right “wing-nuts” writing in “conservative” publications completely trash his article, one fellow citing good old Sarah Palin’s “death panels.” Dear Sarah probably hasn’t read the article, and if she tried, probably would not comprehend a word of it. Even more reasoned voices in the press seem to feel that he has written a “deliberately provocative piece,” and advocates a “monstrous” moral outlook. Old pap and I can only recommend that you google and read it for yourself. In our view, though a tad longer than absolutely necessary, this article is worthy of every human being’s thoughtful perusal.

Hope y’all have a fabulous day, Buster and his old pappy.
PS: Old Al Roker, the weather dude, set a Guinness World Record yesterday. Somewhat dubiously concocted, it is for the “longest continuous Weather forecast.” Now that’s News!


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