And bending down beside the glowing bar/ Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled…

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    Tod, this is really powerful.

    My condolences.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I try to sneak in cups but am always caught, and the cups are quickly removed.

    I cannot comprehend this.

    This is where a human being would go for a walk.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

      Or where human beings would ease the laws a bit so there were not such strictures forcing the workers to maintain a blockade on the dying patient.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        Right, because I the thought process that leads to repeatedly confiscating the cups is probably as much about “if she gets water, and it causes a problem, it’s my ass on the line” as it is about the reasons for the prohibition of water in that case. A human being might want to go for a walk, because it is clearly the humane thing to do, but a human being might also want to keep his or her job.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to North says:

        And by such things, consent is made. He said bitterly.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        Perhaps I’m misreading you in this statement Jason. Even in libertopia the law forbids killing people does it not? So even in a libertarian ideal some defining line is required to divide murder from assisted death yes? Certainly in the libertarian idea people would fear for their jobs (perhaps more than ever) so these issues would all remain salient.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        I don’t know that passing a law permitting physician-assisted suicide would cover the example provided above. If anything, it seems to me that passing a law would result in an explicit understanding that the law not only covers this sort of thing but frowns upon free-lancing.

        But I suppose that this is me being crazy again.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        I’m not sure this is even an issue of criminal law, though it might be one of civil law. From the hospital’s perspective, and perhaps the physicians’ as well, if we let a glass of water through, and it causes real consequences up to and including the patient dying, maybe only a few moments before he or she might have otherwise, the door is potentially opened for a malpractice suit, even if the same relative who brought the water is doing the suing. For the nurses and other staff who might prevent the cup from entering, the issue is what creating that potential door opening might mean for their job security. So you’re right, passing a law related to assisted suicide isn’t going to help. There might be other ways around it, but it’s not really an issue of the law.Report

  3. Avatar Jam3z Aitch says:

    I have a friend who has an illicit med marijuana permit that he uses to get pot for recreational purposes. It irritates me a bit because he is the empirical evidence that gives strength to the opponents of medical marijuana. But so what? He uses small amounts occasionally, is functional, has a career, is generally law-abiding…his illicit use justifies denying other people treatment? Rush Limbaugh and many others get addicted to painkillers and break the law to get them, but we don’t discuss banning those drugs.

    I’m with you on the thinness of the distinction between ending life support and ending life. I wasn’t oresent for my father’s death, but my mother and brother were. My father was struggling badly, and after the second time the medical staff revived him from the brink–or maybe from just beyond it–the doctor took my mom and brother aside and told them they could keep reviving my dad for a while longer, but he wasn’t going to really wake up again or ever leave the hospital bed. And they looked at each other and said, “Dad wouldn’t want this.” So the next time they withheld any rescuscitation efforts. How that is different from cranking up his painkillers to bring on that final trip over the brink by some minutes or hours–less than a day, as it turned out–is a question beyond my ability to answer persuasively.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    No one would question my moral motives in euthanizing my dog should circumstances motivate that decision. It’s a trivial question that when an animal will only suffer for the rest of its life, it’s time to say goodbye.

    Do not my parents deserve to avoid suffering at least as much as does my dog? Did not Tod’s? Do not I own my own life, my own body, to decide for myself when it is time to go? Surely I, and those I love and who love me, deserve at least as good as what my dog will get. Do we not trust that people will not make such choices casually?

    I understand well why Mr. Adams was so angry. Even contemplating the possibility of his situation, or those Tod describes with his parents, angers me too.Report

  5. Avatar North says:

    You have all my sympathy Todd, all the sympathy in the world. I lost my Father and my Grandmother to cancer; genetics say that it’ll be either cancer, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s that takes me (heart issues wait hopefully in the wings but I am active enough that it remains unlikely).

    My Father fought hard against Leukemia and beat it actually. It was technically graft versus host that did him in. He was allergic to all of the anti-rejection medications.
    Nan died of lung cancer. It was the blackest days of my young life but compared to your own travails it was mild. She had great trouble breathing but oxygen was provided. There was pain but pain killers were provided. I got to say goodbye and she knew I was there. If I believed in souls I’d say this is an eternal balm on mine.

    Also, never let it be said I’m not a liberal, she died in Canada. The hospital admitted her without question, the treatments were provided with polite detached professionalism, we never saw any bills for either my Father or my Grandmother. My Mother (an transplant from America) swears by the Canadian healthcare system the way Christians swear by Jesus.Report

  6. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Great. Now I’m going to be choked up all day. Wonderful piece.Report

  7. Avatar Froggy says:

    Tod, Thank you. Beautiful, poignant, powerful. I’m sorry for your losses, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Our societal freak-out about medical marijuana or especially physician-assisted suicide is something that has baffled me for years, and I suspect that it is because people just don’t know. It’s easy to be vehemently against it in the abstract, I think, but the real-life people who are affected? I know few people who would want to persist in a state of extreme suffering, or want to watch people they love suffer in ways you watched your family suffer. I don’t wish the sort of pain you’ve endured on people, but I do think that many of the folks who can’t fathom approving these issues would change their tune were they to have to watch what you have watched.Report

  8. Avatar Boegiboe says:

    Tod,
    My grandfather died in a coma in hospice care in North Carolina. He worked in health insurance most of his working life and established a very strong DNR for himself that absolutely no assistance would be allowed to keep him alive if he were in a coma. This meant even feeding tubes were not allowed. The law on this must be different from state to state, since your mother’s feeding tube was kept in against her wishes. I wonder now what the laws are in my own state, and in other places.Report

  9. Avatar Damon says:

    Good post Tod

    I “enjoyed” the conversation I had with my dad a few months back on how he wanted to die. He explained what he wanted and asked if i was comfortable with it. Comfortable? No, because I know when he leaves the house for hopspice he’s not coming back, but I’m damn sure agreeable for him determinining his own fate rather than be hampered by “rules”. Seeing his body slowly waste away has reinforced my positions on these issues. I’ll make damn sure he gets to go out like he wants if at all possible and I’ve vowed never to see the inside of a nursing home or hospice.Report

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