Skip to main content


Living will is the best revenge

By ROBERT FRIEDMAN, Perspective Editor
Published March 27, 2005

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:

  • In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

  • I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.

  • I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.

  • I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.

  • I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

  • I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

  • I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.

  • I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

  • I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.

  • I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.


Originally posted to tiponeill on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 07:13 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Poor guy, now we know his will. (4.00)
    It's in black and white, seen by thousands.  He's doomed
  •  It sounds like a rough way (none)
    To get your 15 minutes of fame

    "... the best of us did not return." Viktor Frankl

    by RMeister on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 07:23:22 AM PST

  •  Another rant (4.00)
    There was a good one in the Op-Ed section of this morning's Chicago Tribune: Link. I had thought about writing a diary on it, but may as well just tack it on here.

    If the time comes when I can no longer communicate, this declaration shall be taken as a testament to my wishes regarding medical care. If it is the opinion of two independent doctors who are not U.S. senators that there is no reasonable prospect of my recovery from severe physical illness, or from impairment expected to cause me severe distress or render me incapable of rational existence, then I direct that I be allowed to die and not be kept alive by artificial means such as life-support systems, tube feeding, resuscitation or hastily passed, politically motivated federal legislation.

    I have the following specific wishes:

    • No Republican member of Congress be allowed to contact my family.

    • All politicians commenting on my case be prohibited from using the words "God's will," "our sacred duty," "the sanctity of life" or any similar phrases.

    • No politicians be able to invoke my name if they also support tort, bankruptcy or health-care restrictions that undermine my ability to achieve adequate medical care.


    •  On Easter Sunday, during my sermon (4.00)
      I announced to the congregation...."if something should happen to me before I can get a Living Will notarized, I DO NOT want to be kept alive in a condition like Terry Schiavo's."   They looked a bit startled at this statement....then I said "There.  I think I have enough witnesses now to make sure it happens."  Hopefully got them thinking about it.

      I think in the next two weeks I'll set up a church meeting to talk about living wills, and what to put in them, and how to set them up.  Haven't done that since I was a chaplain, many years ago.  

      "Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." Francis of Assisi

      by revsue on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:40:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bless you. (none)

        9/11 was the Neocons' Reichstag fire.

        by Bulldawg on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:53:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for helping your congregation (4.00)
        face these difficult issues, revsue.

        We don't have any ministers or the like in our social group, but the 2 lawyers and one doctor are insisting each and every one of us update our wills and create the various legal docs we need for ourselves and loved ones. All of this is complicated by the fact that some of us are in long-term relationships but not married, some of us are estranged from our birth families and would not want those people to have control over our final days. We're beginning to make appointments with lawyers, get papers and information together on medical directives to share among ourselves. Once most of us have completed the process, we're going to have a picnic and will set up a video camera in a room so that each of us can record a reading of our final directives as well. I'm going to burn duplicates to dvds so that we can distribute the video recordings with the documents. One laywer called this the 'belt and suspenders' plan.

        After the last 2 decades of seeing gay and lesbian friends be torn away from their partners during medical crisises, sitting by the bed of my mother for 2 months after strokes destroyed her brain, after being banned from memorial services of loved ones because their bodies had been reclaimed by birth families that had condemned their life choices for decades, I can't emphasize how important it is for every adult, no matter what age, to think long and deep about these issues and make their decisions known.

        A few hours, a small amount of money will save you and those you love countless days of grief, sorrow, anger and discord. In a way, such documents are more for the protection of the people you love rather than yourself. if you end up in a condition similar to Mrs. Schavio's or my mother, you will not experience in any meaningful way what occurs around you, but your loved ones will be suffering and without clear directives, all sorts of grief can happen. As we have seen in the last 2 weeks in Florida.

        So thanks revsue, in helping your people in such a positive way of facing the inevitable with understanding and courage. Let us know how it goes with your congregation.

        _'it should take no longer to vote for President than it does to check out of Toys R Us on Christmas Eve'_ - that's my meme and I'm stickin' to it.

        by NMRed on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 10:07:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My lawyer called me a month ago (none)
          and made me update my living will because of this. I cost me $400 bucks.
          •  Cripes, that's a lot! (none)
            I have many friends who could NEVER afford that. I know people who are even refraining from filing for divorce because they can't afford that.
            •  some low cost options (none)
              Just because we're broke, don't mean we're stupid or completely screwed. Just have to spend time getting information and using it. If you're lucky enough to have a functioning local library, folks can use the computer and reference services there to create wills and medical directives.

              Here is a comprehensive web site with lots of good information on the basics:

              Here's the web site for the "5 Wishes" forms

              Low-income folks might also be able to get help if there's a law school clinic nearby. Software programs like "Willmaker" are low cost and provide some help as well.

              There's different levels of the need for legal help with any will, when I was in my twenties, I owned a few hundred records and books and the blue jeans I stood in. So a simple handwritten will signed by two witnesses would have stood up in my home state. Now I got stuff. Including real property, investments, various valuables left to me by elders I need to redistribute and some very strong opinions on how I want my body to be treated in my last living days and after. More complex, more legal fees.

              But even if you're barely making it financially, a will and other legal documents can be created with very little money spent if you're willing to spend the time learning what you need to know and gather the information you need for the documents.

              _'it should take no longer to vote for President than it does to check out of Toys R Us on Christmas Eve'_ - that's my meme and I'm stickin' to it.

              by NMRed on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 03:45:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, but it's airtight (none)
              I have a same-sex spouse and parents who really really don't approve of my marriage, so I feel like it's worth every penny.
  •  That's good (none)

    New idea for Comedy Central game show: Kick Ben Stein's Ass

    by bobinson on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 07:24:04 AM PST

  •  So funny - (4.00)
    this is just like a conversation I had with my wife yesterday.  Although I knew already, really, I asked her "So do you want to be kept alive at any cost if you suffer severe brain damage?"  She looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and said "Yes, I want you to stop at nothing.  I want to be famous like Terri".

    We laughed - and then I imagined a courtroom scene.  

    "Citizen Clark, did your wife express a wish to be kept alive in a persistent vegetative state?"  


    "What was her exact statement about this?"

    "She said 'Yes, I want you to stop at nothing.  I want to be famous like Terri'."

    Apparently I have made the unbelievably naive error of overestimating the intelligence of the American people.

    by Citizen Clark on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 07:30:05 AM PST

  •  I just don't get it (4.00)
    Why is this case so personalized for Mrs. Shiavo?

    If the Bush brothers and wingnut Christians truly believe in the merits of the Shindler's case, why not just pass laws or executive orders making feeding tubes manadatory care for all people that cannot feed themselves. Or pass a law that states parents have guardianship rights over spouses for all people that don't have written living wills. Either of these would get the tube reinserted.

    What is so special about this case that they feel that they have to intervene in the judicial decisions without attacking the specific laws that they apparently object to?  What is so unique about the Shiavo case that they only want the "right to life" for her and not the rest of the terminally ill and persistant vegetative patients in this country?

    I just don't get it.  

    •  Cute White Girl (4.00)
      There's the same dynamic here that we see when a blonde white suburban girl goes missing... it becomes a media maelstrom, and when a little black girl from the inner city vanishes, it never makes it  to the 34th page.

      So we see old photos of Terry Schiavo from when she was a cute young bride... interspersed with video that implies that she can smile and has some cognition. They're playing on deep cultural (perhaps even deeper - evolutionary) impulses to protect women... as well as infants, because they've effectively infantalized her.

      Every day, medical decisions are being made by countless families similar to the decision made by Michael Schiavo. This case is being highlighted because the Schindlers are tied into a well-heeled network of theocons who were willing to bankroll their "crusade".

      I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality. - George Washington

      by Malacandra on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 07:51:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Respect (none)
        I would have more respect for the politicians and congress getting involved, if they would just be clear about their objection to current law rather than just fighting for this Cute White Girl to be sustained in her permanent vegetative state against her family's wishes (her family with her husband).

        I would also have more respect for them if they actually read all the evidence and court judgements before they jumped on the this morbid band wagon.  

      •  But (none)
        I can see why she's getting attention, but I agree with Ted.  I don't see why the solutions being proposed are so specific to her.  The republicans could have scored points with a "no starving the disabled" bill that would have kept Terri alive AND addressed everyone's at least mild queasiness about removing someone's feeding tube.  Instead, they passed a really stupid law that did nothing and only applied to one person.
        •  Paying for it ... (4.00)
          If they passed such a law, there would be fiscal impact ... not that the Repugs have shown that they really care about that, but there would be (high?) fiscal cost to mandating such care ...

          Remember that the Texas law, which Governor Dubya signed, focuses on the link between medical prognosis and cost.  Cost is driving decisions under that law for a reason -- this is a costly set of medical practices.  

          In my mind, the nation is better off expending those resources (which, by definition, are not limitless) on those with a chance of recovery and a chance of a decent life after recoverry rather than investing $80k + / year on someone dead for over 15 years.  

          Oh, yes, let us not forget that Teri has been dead for 15 years.  She is brain dead, without a remaining conscious link to the world (or a world -- real or imaginary).  There is a corpse that has been kept breathing for over 15 years who will be on the front page of every news report when the body catches up with the soul ...

          28 March 05, Day 1294 ... Osama still "wanted dead or alive"

          by besieged by bush on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:14:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  And J. Jackson (4.00)
        is jumping on this.  Where was he when that little black girl was force from her machine against the parents wishes in Texas????  Alas, we on the left also have our fair share of hypocrites!
    •  I think it's because she moves. (4.00)
      It's those videos.

      People think she's alive.

    •  I have the exact same question (none)
      It seems to me that everyone feels at least a little queasy about removing a feeding tude to end someone's life.  As liberals, most of us probably feel like it'd be a much better idea to give the poor woman a massive dose of morphene, but that's beside the point.

      The republicans could have "saved" Terri with a law making the feeding tube manditory in all cases where it's needed to live.  I bet 90% of the country would have gotten behind that.  Instead, they pissed off the left and center by interfering with state laws and a family's choices, and pissed off the extreme right by not really doing anything useful.  I just don't get it.

      I also don't get where the extreme right is getting this "the left wants Terri to die" sentiment.  It seems to me that the only people who have really strong feelings about some sort of intervention are the wingnuts.  Everyone else just seems to wish they'd leave these poor Schiavos and Schindlers alone.

      And another thing!  What's with the tape with "Life" written on it over people's mouths?  I guess I get what they're getting at: Terri can't speak out for her own life (and don't you just hate the phrase "speak out"?), but it really doesn't make sense.  It looks like "Life" is silencing these people, like they got attacked by  life tape or something.

      •  I'm sorry (4.00)
        you are out of your mind if you think that 90% of the coutry would support a mandatory feeding tube law.  How is that not interfering with family choices and existing state law?

        Visit my blog Ohio Watch, dedicated to stopping the insanity that is the Ohio Legislature.

        by The Ticked Off Ohioan on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:05:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Moreover, (4.00)
          it's not like there was any other way to release Ms. Schiavo from her hell on earth. She, and many like her, have enough brain function to live without life support. So if assisted suicide is out, and you also can't cease food and hyrdration, then we're exactly where the theocrats want us to be--with people indefinitely existing in a mindless vegetative state until Baby Jesus decides it's time for them to go.

          "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

          by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:43:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not endorsing anything (4.00)
            I'm just wondering why the republicans chose a no win approach.  Maybe my 90% figure is too high, but I know I feel that there's something wrong with removing sustanance, and I'm pretty hard core left-wing.

            So if the republicans played into that feeling, they'd a) be taking an actual step toward keeping Schaivo alive, which would please their base b) be taking advantage of the built in sympathies of many people who feel wierd about starving someone to death and c) be operating much more within the law instead of this wierd extra-legal stuff.

            Again, that's not the course of action I'd advocate.  I think everyone would be better off if doctors, heeding Schaivo's wishes not to be kept alive, had given her a lethal dose of morphine a decade ago and this whole situation had been resolved peacefully, privately, and humanely.

            And I still wonder, why didn't the republicans take the obvious path through all this and please at least some people instead of melting down like they have?

            •  The no-win approach is a win/win approach. (4.00)
              The last thing they wanted to do was enact a specific law making feeding tubes mandatory. That would send medicare costs sky-rocketing, since it would overturn laws like that one in Texas where the hospital can yank life support if the patient's family can't pay.

              They also didn't want Terry's feeding tube put back in, as that would bring this whole thing back to the surface again like last night's burrito, possibly at a time they wouldn't want it to arise.

              So they pass a bill that they know will be overturned, so they can say, "See- look at the activist judges! Now let us ram our own ethically challenged candidates into the system!"

              Even with general opinion going against them (which was probably a bit of a suprise), they get brownie points with the anti-choice fundies, who were becoming rather disappointed in them for lack of initiative. They also deflect attention away from other matters they'd rather the public not dwell upon- like the war in Iraq, DeLay's corruption, and other matters we're not hearing enough about.

              By the time the 2006 elections roll around, people will have forgotten the unconstitutional government meddling, but will remember that "the government tried to save Schiavo, so they're pro-culture-of-life" and that "activist judges killed Schiavo." The emotional issues are much more powerful than the logical issues like the unconstitutional bill. So even when the GOP loses, it wins.

              "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." - Thomas Jefferson

              by EsnRedshirt on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 12:26:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Ignore the 90% (none)
          I just wonder why the right didn't take a path that would please at least some people.  Insteadthey've been caught with their pants down and both the left AND right think they're jackasses.
          •  Because they didn't necessarily (none)
            want to win, they wanted political expedience and headlines.

            They wanted to be able to crow in 2006 about "see, we tried to save that woman from those activist judges."

            It's pure BS. Plain and simple. They never really cared if she lives or not, they're looking for a cause to rally around. It's red meat to their base. Or so they thought. Most of their base thinks it's BS too.

            To do anymore might have required them to wait for congress to return to session and their window of opportunity would have closed if she died before then.

            Where are we going and what are we doing in this hand basket?

            by awnm on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 03:05:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Because It's There (4.00)
      This type of politics proceeds by anecdote because most people don't think about most things by a predominantly rational process.

      The one sweeping judgement I feel comfortable making about Democrats--and Kossacks in particular--is that we absolutely do not comprehend how most people think. To the extent we do, we regard them as dormant versions of ourselves. We devote huge amounts of energy in search of the holy grail of the ideal evidence and argument that will wake them "back" up.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:04:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  illogical and irrational? (none)
        I'm in total agreement with you, Gooserock.

        Kossacks, being logical and rational, just can't justify the stupid choices and behavior of the "mob."  

        Enlightenment mind, meet medieval mind.

        "With Liberty and Justice for All"

        by ohshenandoah on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 01:09:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No (none)
          the distinction is not so black and white.  And Gooserock has highlighted something that I've been noticing and trying to put into words for a long time.  The privileging of evidentiary thinking that goes on at dKos as "Enlightment mind" misses something crucial.  Evidentiary thinking in the very specific domains of scientific research and courts of law does NOT mirror the way people think in everyday life.  It is a specialized form of thinking (reason it requires training, extra training and expensive post-graduate education).  It is a misnomer to adopt this type of specialized (and highly contextualized) thinking as a norm for everyday thought and sense making.

          As I have noted before, people don't make sense of the world simply based upon factual evidence, people also use emotions (in combination with reason, but the ratio between the two varies with individuals) and experiential "knowledge" in combination with facts, reason and reliance trust on various sources. This is where the GOP and the radical right has lept ahead of the Dems and the liberals.  They recognized early that what we call "thinking" is actually a multi-tiered process that involves many different kinds of cognitive processes (and different parts of the brain even, if I am understanding the most recent brain science correctly).  They work very hard to activate/privilege the ones they can best appeal to, but they don't exclude any type of thinking.  The liberal approach has long been to exclude everything else that isn't "rational".  That is the place where the radical rights PR and public discourse machine has taken hold.

          In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

          by a gilas girl on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 07:48:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Precisely (4.00)
      Although the absurdities here are almost too legion to prioritize, I think you've hit on what is, from a legal perspective, the most critical thing that is wrong with the legislative/executive meddling in this sad affair.  In keeping with the general division of labor between state and federal legislative power, Florida has a set of laws governing this situation.  This is a sensible system that, as you point out, noboby appears to have a problem with.  Indeed, this arrangement is in lock-step with the scheme of priorities that the "conservatives" espouse:  First and foremost in their scheme is the importance of family -- meaning especially the marriage bond.  In accord witht hat priority, Fla. law says that if the incapacitated person is married, the spouse decides.  If a dispute arises on such a matter, the conservatives of course trust in the wisdom of the several states, and of course Fla., again, has set up a system (with multiple layers of protection for the incapacitated person) for sorting out such a dispute in the courts of the state.  
      So what we have is several hundred legislators and two executive officers deciding that they don't like the particular outcome that this system has produced in an individual case.  And they have attempted to change that outcome through, among other things, what is quite possibly the most ridiculous piece of legislation produces in more than 200 years of often ridiculous legislation.  As may have observed, it not only an affront to federalism (of the type worth defending -- i.e., a federalism that says that matters touching on such intimate decisions should be legislated on , if at all, at the state level), it is a huge arrogation of judicial power by the legislative and executinve branches, who, according to my civics textbooks, are not supposed to be in the business of deciding individual cases.  The buffoonery we have witnessed over this sorry affair demonstrates well the wisdom of that particular separation of power.    
    •  Do I Allow A Feeding Tube? (4.00)
      It's agonizing enough to make medical decisions for someone you love.  Doctors and families already worry about whether to use every technique to buy time in sudden medical crisis.

      All too often you need a day, or a few weeks to diagnose a patient's condition, or find out if they are going to respond to treatment.  Someone who looks hopeless in those first critical hours can recover; another who seems far less serious can go horribly bad.

      Now you have to consider that it will be illegal to remove even a feeding tube years later???

      Most people want these decisions made in consultation with the best medical opinion they can get - not by some politician or political pressure group.  (Or Bleeding-Heart Conservatives who cut health care budgets and forbid stem cell research.)

      How many people will die because loved ones are afraid to take that risk?

      What's next? Mainstream Corporate Media let Senate Republican doctors diagnose from doctored videos.

      by VA Gal on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:52:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bush has a Living Will (none)
      Did anybody notice that Laura Bush on the way to Afghanistan state that seh, the president, and their parents have Living Wills?  Probably was the only responsible thing anyone connected with the White House has said.
    •  Why don' t they pass a law? (none)
      Well, that would show respect for the rule of law, now wouldn't it?

      Don't be silly.

      < /snark>

      Consider decentralist solutions -- more choice, stronger communities, less dangerous power.

      by technopolitical on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:57:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Send a fax to (4.00)
    Dubya, Frist, Delay and, if it's a Republican, your governor, stating: "Please cross me off your list of people on whose behalf you need to intervene.  Should I become braindead, I don't want to be kept alive by articial means, including receiving nutrician and hydration by tube".

    See here how everything lead up to this day
    and it's just like any other day that's ever been -- R. Hunter

    by Frankenoid on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 07:46:38 AM PST

    •  Just like the national do not call list (4.00)
      Now we need a national do-not-resucitate list.  A next gen consumer issue.

      A moment of resistance; a lifetime of capitulation.

      by lapin on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 08:18:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish I could spell (none)
        That should be "resuscitate."

        A moment of resistance; a lifetime of capitulation.

        by lapin on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 08:21:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's actually a great idea.... (none)
        but it needs to be something more than a call list.  We need something immediately visible, that a hospital could check instantly.   When a "code" goes off, there's no time to call.  

        When I was a nursing home chaplain, it was a problem if someone there had DNR, but perhaps had a broken hip and needed surgery.  For frail elderly, CPR can break ribs and cause much pain....and it wasn't unusual for rational, ambulatory elderly individuals to say "If I have a heart attack, don't bring me back!"  But sometimes the hospital DID do CPR and other procedures because they didn't see the DNR order or it didn't get into their records...and they are trained to respond immediately.  Some of us joked that when our time came to be in that position, we'd have DNR tatooed on our chests.  

        "Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." Francis of Assisi

        by revsue on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:57:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Should I become braindead... (4.00)
      ...I will probably be voting for you.

      "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

      by thingamabob on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 08:36:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've given my wife clear instructions: (4.00)
    Hook me up to every fucking machine in the hospital - if it beeps, I want it connected to me.

    Change the music on the iPod every month or so.

    All medical decisions should be made by a vote in Congress.  They seem to be rational, well informed folks who will have only my best interests at heart.

  •  Priceless (4.00)
    Love it.

    Anyone who thinks this is the end of this argument, forget it.  They are nuts.  This just gave them a place to pick up steam.  

    Keep on the lookout for the next "Pro-Life" issue.

    I basically asked my family if they would keep their beloved dogs on a feeding tube for fifteen years, (the vision to them was horrifying) or mercifully put the dog out of it's misery.   The response?  TOTAL SILENCE.

  •  He forgot: (4.00)
    • I want to be made a guinea pig of every crackpot who says he can cure me. No treatment shall be deemed unworthy of trial

    • I want my mysery to be put on display publicly on the Internet and TV nonstop with countless repetitions of a 3 minute video showing an obviously sick me blinking and staring at empty space while commentators discuss my family feud at length on the background...

    In the future people will wonder why most didn't challenge Bush's excesses
    The truth? Complacency was easier

    by lawnorder on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 08:12:05 AM PST

  •  Windmill Party (4.00)
    I'm starting to call them the Party of Don Quixote.  For short - "the windmills".

    Pretty soon, these truly clinically insane republicans will start hosting telethons with mascara stained faces with Terri Shaivo's image as a backdrop.

    ...they have completely gone to the edge of the earth and fallen off the side.

  •  Visiting my parents this week (4.00)
    one of the first things I said to each of them was, "Don't you DARE do that to me!"

    Now I just need to get that living will thingy done because there's something else I haven't told them yet, something that will probably be fairly contentious:  Under no circumstances do I want a church funeral.

    Just wait until the Drambuie and sleeping pills kick in.

    by MAJeff on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 08:18:40 AM PST

    •  I've been begging my mother... (4.00)
      ...not to feed me for over 30 years.  That woman simply cannot cook...

      "...your grasp has exceded your reach/ And you put all your faith in a figure of speech..." -- Warren Zevon

      by Roddy McCorley on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 08:41:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's the Warren Zevon lyric from? (none)
        I dont' recognize it, though I admit that after "Mutineer" I kind of lost track of his work.

        Everyone involved in this whole fiasco could learn something from Warren's passing.

        Only in the George W. Bush White House would the term "media whore" be taken literally.

        by mlharges on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:04:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Fistful of Rain" (none)
          The lyric is from "Fistful of Rain,"  which can be found on Life'll Kill Ya.  The opening lines of the song are
          You can dream
          The American Dream
          But you sleep with the lights on
          And wake up with a scream

          Mutineer was a disappointment, but Life and My Ride's Here more than made up for it.  If you liked what Zevon did up until Mutineer, you'll probably like those two albums.

          And then wait a little while and pick up The Wind.  Zevon's music didn't end on the highest of notes, but it ends high enough.  Oddly enough, if I'd never heard his work, and you handed me his last three albums and told me one of them was recorded by a man who knew he was dying, I would probably peg the earliest of the three.

          "...your grasp has exceded your reach/ And you put all your faith in a figure of speech..." -- Warren Zevon

          by Roddy McCorley on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:18:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks! (none)
            I actually have his last three albums - bought them at the same time when I heard about The Wind.  I'll go back and check it out.  That's the problem with keeping the CD mega-changer on random - I tend to hear individual tracks as they come up in the rotation rather than getting to know an entire album like you did back in the days of vinyl.  MP3's just accelerate that trend.

            His brand of dark humor and way with words always appealed to me, but the phrase "the song of shear and torsion" in "Transverse City" was one of those perfect moments where a few well chosen words manages to convey far more information that the number of syllables suggests.  Or maybe it's the engineer/geek in me showing.

            Thanks again for the info.  I've got some listening to do tonight.

            Only in the George W. Bush White House would the term "media whore" be taken literally.

            by mlharges on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 11:42:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Mutineer" a disappointment? (none)
            The album as a whole is not his strongest, but I sure hope you're not knocking the clown song. :)
            •  The clown song... (none)
     actually my favorite on that album.

              Is it just me, or did Zevon write more great songs with primates in the title than anyone else?

              "...your grasp has exceded your reach/ And you put all your faith in a figure of speech..." -- Warren Zevon

              by Roddy McCorley on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 02:26:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Get your Living Will doc here (none)
      Aging With Dignity
      The "Five Wishes" document.

      Reframing the news and people's views of our world:, free subscriptions.

      by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:14:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  dont forget!! (4.00)
    dont leave out..i do not want a mass amount of protesters and newly established increased security to make life a living hell for others visiting the hospice for thier relatives

    speak softly and carry a big stick

    by thefetus01 on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 08:19:05 AM PST

  •  coming soon to the internets (none)
    The domain "" has been purchased recently. Wish I'd thought of it first.

    In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.
             ~George Orwell

    by outragemeter on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 08:54:45 AM PST

  •  My LTE: (4.00)
    Re: Living Will

    Great editorial.

    Condolences on the volumes of hate mail that you will get from the, "my parents are first cousins, X-Files wannabe, black helicopter, tinfoil hat wearing, stupid, dim-witted, thinks pro wrestling is real, lunatics".

    I think that I just channeled comedian Denis Leary.

    Matthew G. Saroff, E.I.T.

    The Dream involves 4 sets of identical twins, 2 gallons of Cool Whip, 5 quarts of chocolate syrup, 2-1/4 pounds of strawberries, satin sheets, a magnum of champ

    by msaroff on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:07:11 AM PST

    •  Wife Heard Back From Him (none)
      She wrote:

      Perfect column!  Thank you.  Hopefully the nice emails will outnumber the nasty ones!!

      He wrote:

      thsnkd for the note. nice is ahead of nasty by about 600 to 11...

      Ted Hitler on bloggers: They have no credibility, all they have is facts.

      by EastFallowfield on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 01:30:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Terri Schiavo has a blog (4.00)
    you can read it here.

    Let the Democratic Reformation Begin

    by Pounder on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:20:25 AM PST

  •  My living will (4.00)
    If I should lapse into a persistent vegetative state, please expolit me in whatever manner helps the religious right the most.



  •  beautiful (none)
    thanks for posting it up

    "That's idiotic. You can't get the Declaration of Independence out of the Ten Commandments" Antonin Scalia, March 2, 2005.

    by jethropalerobber on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 09:34:23 AM PST

  •  Randall Terry's Living Will (4.00)
    Friedman wins, hands down, for best, sad satire.

    But here's another from an anonymous poster at Baltimore Indy Media:

    If Randall Terry is going to grandstand on the Terry Schiavo issue without being a hypocrite, he needs to sign this document or something roughly equivalent.
    I, Randall Terry, being of sound mind in my own opinion, do hereby express my wishes as follows:

    1. If I am ever severely brain-damaged or terminally ill, I want to be kept physically alive by whatever means necessary, including feeding tubes, respirators, or any other machine or contraption that will perpetuate my respiration as long as possible.

    2. I don't care how severely brain-damaged I am or if you have lots of neurologists saying that I am utterly devoid of cognition and that the condition is irreversible, I want you to keep my respiration and bodily functions going as long as possible by whatever means are necessary to do so.

    3. I don't care how much pain I seem to be in or how much I might scream and beg and plead for a merciful end, I want you to keep my respiration and bodily functions going as long as possible by whatever means are necessary to do so.

    4. If I am ever severely brain-damaged and permanently unable to control my bodily functions,
    and someone dares try to unhook me from any sort of life support device, I want my health care agent Tom Delay to see to it that the matter is tied up in the courts for as long as possible, and that both the United States Congress and the state legislature are called into special emergency sessions to pass unconstitutional legislation to keep them from taking me off life support.

    5. If I am ever severely brain-damaged and permanently unable to control my bodily functions, I want my health care agent to see to it that footage of me lying in bed, in a catatonic state, drooling and in diapers, is featured prominently on every national and local news broadcast every single day until my last breath.

    Wherefore, on this __ day of ____, 2005, I Randall Terry hereby sign to attest that these are my end-of-life wishes, and that my signature has hereby been witnessed by Eric Rudolph and Pat Buchanan.

  •  Here's another model (none)

    Starts out:

    I, Andy Maskin, being of sound mind and body, hereby grant authority over my handling should I enter a persistent vegetative state to the United States Congress pursuant to the following conditions:

  •  My only gripe (none)
    is that she is being starved to death.  It would seem lethal injection would be far more humane.  
    •  injections vs. slow decay (none)
      my understanding is that the reason that such methods are not used, is because the religious right thought it was "playing god". But that was so last decade.

      In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.
               ~George Orwell

      by outragemeter on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 10:06:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes it would, (none)
      but that would be an act of commission (actively injected her with a lethal substance), hence "murder," instead of an act of omission (not feeding her).  

      In my living will, I'm leaving instructions and finances for my guardian to take me to Denmark, the Netherlands, or some other country that was not founded and currently run by religious freaks, so that I can be euthanized and die peacefully.

    •  She is NOT (4.00)
      being starved to death. That is MSM hype.  I took care of  terminally ill patients for years, including my own grandmother in hospice supported care in my home. People do NOT starve to death in hospice care, they dehydrate.  Dehydration leads to the shut down of the major organs.  My grandmother did not eat for days before she died, numerous available means were implemented for her comfort and peace of mind.
      Please people, learn what hospice care is really about.  
      In my years of experience I found that it is  a gift to let someone pass from this earth with dignity and painlessly pass on in peace---IN THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY CHOOSE!

      "The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them." Einstein

      by Oke on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 10:16:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you (4.00)
        Thank you, with your expertise and experience, for clarifying this.  I learned this in deciding what to do about a parent who was dying slowly and horribly.  Number one rule to remember, folks: Put in your living will that you are NOT to be taken to a Catholic hospital.  My parent's living will was ignored at a Catholic hospital -- until the insurance was going to run out. . . .
    •  Doesn't make much sense does it? (none)
      But, in our current legal environment, you can withhold treatment, but you can't anything to actively hasten the end of life.

      In cases where a terminal patient is in pain, quite large doses of pain-killers can be given, with the goal of palliation, even though it may have the side-effect of hastening the end. Unfortunately, since Ms. Schiavo is brain-dead, there's not much of an acceptable rationale for palliative medication.

      To none will we sell, to none deny or delay, right or justice. Magna Carta 1215

      by Robespierrette on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 10:40:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pull Bill O'Reilly's Tube, But Fast... (4.00)
    I guess he's still hungry after the falafel.  Bill goes hunting for suckers and catches himself in the latest instalment on Idiot Bill.


  •  Nice (none)
    Today must be satire day, I love it!

    "I feel your scorn and I accept it." - Jon Stewart

    by starkness on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 11:07:47 AM PST

  •  I told my husband (none)
    No, I don't want to be kept alive in a PVS, but if someone offers him $10 million to keep me alive, just go ahead and take the money -- I don't mind waiting!
  •  Bobby's Law? (none)
    Really a terrific post - hope the loonies down there don't find out where he lives.
  •  How DARE you determine your future!!!! (none)
  •  I had a idea last night about a living will.. (none)
     I was watching the circus, and after seeing the Schaivo mess realized that I have two winger nephews and their winger mother,my younger sister.
     I decided to put a codicle (sp?) in my living will, in case any of them try to override or question my wishes, in the event they give my husband any shit ..any of them who challenge my wishes will recieve  NO MONEY from my estate at all ,in fact their portion will be donated to either Planned Parenthood, or NARAL:That ought to shut them up.

    "Calmer than you are Dude....calmer than you"

    by sula on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 03:11:47 PM PST

  •  Friedman's column (none)
    I read the column via yesterday's and if it wasn't so tragic what is happening in Florida,it would be funny. In fact I emailed Friedman to let him know how much I enjoyed the column,with this proviso. That we find a big saw,and saw off Florida from the rest of this nation and let it float into the Atlantic never to be heard from again. The same goes for Texas. There's just too much bullshit coming from these two "red"states.(I apologize to anyone from either Texas or Florida who doesn't want to leave the US just yet.)
  •  If I am in a permanent vegetative state..... (none)
    ....and am incapable of thought or feeling, I insist that I be kept alive until my insurance company has paid out every god-damn dime for which they are liable...every fucking dime!

    After the insurance company has been bled, pull the plugs and let me go.

    They don't want their kids to pray in school. They want your kids to pray in school!

    by roxtar on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 04:44:25 PM PST

James Earl, Bob Johnson, Loudocracy, anna, RobertInWisconsin, JWC, Marek, catsmith, For Dean in Dixie, pb, Nathan in MD, Chi, aimai, lightiris, Alexa, Kansas, Forbes, gaianne, Better Days, sula, Gooserock, kellymonaghan, Tuffy, saraswati, ScientistMom in NY, smubbard, Winger, jjc4jre, ArkansasJoseph, jethropalerobber, Citizen Clark, drug free radio, Power, michael in chicago, JulieIde, mlkisler, Rome890, cotterperson, bramish, shumard, OLinda, eSolutions, Underfaker, etatauri, TexasDemocratsForever, ignatz, saluda, shetquaker, roarkdc, sersan, lawnorder, lilorphant, Carnacki, pollyusa, MFL, Sandia Blanca, mataliandy, doorguy, AbyssAndApex, strengthANDwisdom, AuntiePeachy, sclminc, RubDMC, Addison, kahunaman, onoekeh, mrsdbrown1, Taxorgian, JohnInWestland, Cautiously Optimistic, silas216, mentaldebris, ProfessorX, sfgb, Jeffrey Feldman, colinb, NCYellowDog, Prairie Logic, ScrewySquirrel, jiffykeen, lilithvf1998, ask, demokath, miholo, otis704, Adso, Nihilvor, Proud SW FL Lib, muledriver, mrblifil, murphsurf, amanuensis, k2winters, bribone, Fe, swillesque, jalbert, consta, Gonzophile, dmsilev, Cedwyn, revsue, CapnCanuck, NMRed, worldwideellen, Oke, Cream City, menodoc, rcvanoz, SuperKK, Rageaholic, besieged by bush, Clever, Red State Refugee, OuijaBoy, GN1927, terriblefriend, ohiolibrarian, DeanFan84, ArcXIX, On The Bus, AriesMoon, Eddie Haskell, rpmjr, Pirate Smile, welshvalleymaid, gnat, Sargent Pepper, Hughsterg, TheCrimsonKid, VerbalMedia, MikeInFlorida, crafty, Peace Monger, bibble, jbane, Ted Hitler, wcamps, vcmvo2, dublin85, SisTwo, pattyp

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site