Monday, April 12, 2010

When the culture of death meets “I don’t think so”.

Dr. Boris Veysman is my new hero.

"Life is precious and irreplaceable. Even severe incurable illness can often be temporarily fixed, moderated, or controlled, and most discomfort can be made tolerable or even pleasant with simple drugs. In chess, to resign is to give up the game with pieces and options remaining. My version of DNR is "Do Not Resign." Don’t give up on me if I can still think, communicate, create, and enjoy life. When taking care of me, take care of yourself as well, to make sure you don’t burn out by the time I need your optimism the most.

My DNI? It means "Do Not Ignore" early signs of trouble when my failing body and mind need support so I can continue to function in ways that matter. And Do Not Ignore my needs for companionship, stimulation, and purpose, as these, too, make life worth living. To leave me in the hospital bed alone staring at the TV is torture. (My overarching orders at all times: "Do Not Torture.") Surround me with people; bring the kids so I can teach and talk to them. Discuss the news with me. Let me use my e-mail. Treat my depression, dehydration, malnutrition, muscle wasting, and pain with potent pills, infusions, tubes, and hormones. I don’t aspire to play for the Yankees, so throw in some anabolic steroids if that might contribute to wellness. I choose high-quality life, and I agree to chance adverse effects in doing so. …

It’s so easy to let someone die, but it takes effort, determination, and stamina to help someone stay and feel alive. Only after you made every effort to let me be happy and human, ask me again if my life is worth living. Then, listen, and comply. At that point, if I wish to die, let me die. But until that happens, none of us realize what I can accomplish with another day, another week, another month. So do it all for me. Then ask someone to do it all for you."

Read entire essay here.

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