It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to... Well, today marks my second illness in six weeks, or three years, depending on how you look at it. However, there are a couple of issues that I'd like to get off my chest this evening. The first one's been in the news for some time (and even longer for those of us who have transcended the largely uninformative Australian news sources). The latest is that courts in the US are considering a last-minute appeal to re-connect the feeding tube for Terri Schiavo, who has been slowly passing away in a hospital in Florida without any kind of nourishment for well over a week.
Admittedly, this is a difficult issue. On the one hand, I'd hate to have to live on the way she's had to for the last 15 years -- brain damaged, basically unable to care for herself and with pretty much no existence beyond the walls of a hospital ward. On the other hand, depending on just how much mental capacity she actually has, it's quite possible that she's come to terms with her new life, and given that she's unable to express a preference to either live or die in this case (and in the abscence of a legal will), I for one, have problems simply allowing someone to die if they haven't expressed that particular wish.
It's clear that the legislators here may feel the same way, that feeding tube has been disconnected for several days on end on numerous occasions since 1998. Now this is where I have the real problem (and it's an issue that's been largely ignored), how inhumane is it to make someone endure a lack of food and water -- effectively allowing them to almost starve -- several times over? I hope for her sake that she's unable to feel any pain, because being allowed to waste away to a slow and painful death must be a terrible way to die, and to effectively have it happen several times is almost unimaginable.
So my message to the powers that be (in the unlikely event that they ever read this), is to make a decision. If you're going to debate the issue time and again, at least leave the feeding tube in place while that happens, and if she is to be allowed to die, wouldn't a simple injection that can do the job in three seconds be a much more humane way to do it? I'm aware that some may refer to it as "murder", but the simple fact is that the alternative seems to be torture -- and I think I know which I'd prefer to endure.
I touched on the second at the weekend, the passing of Paul Hester, the drummer from Crowded House and Split Enz. I heard one (unconfirmed) report that his death had been suicide, in which case it's even sadder. Crowded House were one of my favourite bands of all time, and Paul was one of those people who made a contribution but perhaps didn't get the credit they deserved. They must have been the only band in the world who set up a mic for their drummer to make his special wisecracks that came out from time to time, but there was much more to him than that. I guess we all hoped that there might one day be a reunion of sorts, but now this won't happen, and in the saddest possible circumstances.