Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My last 2 cents on Shiavo

After my first post, I received a welcome comment from a nice person. I had a response & reaction to it, but in the end do not feel I expressed myself clearly. This will represent my last intended post on that topic - your comments are welcome, of course - I would just like to think this definitively states my thoughts about it.

I believe the government should not be trying to mind-read what someone might want or might have wanted. In the situations where that seems to arise, I see a failure in the law to be clear as to a default position. If there were a clear default position, this would be the go-to position in all cases lacking clear, even legally written, expression on the part of the person in question.

I believe in the absence of a clear, preferably written directive from Shiavo herself, the court should have no choice but to rely on the standard:
Re Browning:
In making this difficult decision, a surrogate decisionmaker should err on the side of lifeā€¦ In cases of doubt, we must assume that a patient would choose to defend life in exercising his or her right of privacy.

I believe that a feeding tube is not extraordinary means of staying alive. It is not the same as a full-on heart & lung life support machine. I do not believe denial of food & water is on par with switching off life support.

I believe that speculation on what can not be known about her wishes, what her family or husband want, what she might want in light of new therapies, what state of consciousness she may or may not be in, how long she has lived this way, what her medical reports say, what any expert says, what the judge thinks, what religious folk think, what political folk think, what the media chooses to report, is all irrelevant. Without a clear directive from the individual, I do not believe anyone should be able to violate her presumed wish to live.

I believe without legal enforcement of that presumption, many people with disabilities' lives will be in greater danger than they already are.

I believe that the court system has already behaved cruelly toward Shiavo, by the action of removing and reinserting her feeding tube. That is reprehensible. Get to the final decision, exhaust every single avenue, and then act one way or the other.

Well, that's all. I am not a religious fanatic or a political conservative, so I imagine my voice will be lost on this issue. Too many people are screaming. I am not screaming. I am thinking, and I am worried. To honor this woman, I am going to get my own living will in order.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Not A Light & Funny Post - My 2 cents on Shiavo

I admit, I am not much of a news watcher these days. Overall, I find it too sad & stressful, but there are some things I find I just can't ignore.

Terri Shiavo, for fellow news avoiders, is a woman at the center of a battle that has me very worried. Her husband wants her to die; her parents want her to live. Sounds like a lot of cases so far, right? The catch here is that this woman is NOT in a coma (or persistent vegitative state). Her only form of medical support is a feeding tube, and her estranged husband who already has a new family and life apart from all this - wants to remove her feeding tube so that she starves to death. Does anyone else remember a landmark case in the mid-1980's that came down as "No, you really can't starve people to death. It is inhumane, cruel, and illegal." Yet, the state of Florida in its quest to be the biggest embarrassment we've got, said, "Oh, sure, pull the tube. Starve her, kill her."


So the whole thing is getting kicked to the federal level and Congress is meeting to have a giant freak out, as well they should. Maybe Congress will decide to cut Florida free already. Here is what congress is thinking of passing:

"Under the House legislation, a federal judge would decide whether withholding or withdrawing food, fluids or medical treatment from an incapacitated person violates the Constitution or U.S. law.

It would apply only to incapacitated people who had not left directives dealing with being kept alive artificially and for whom a state judge had authorized the withholding of food or medical treatment." - cnn, March 17 2005

Why do we need a law that says it is illegal to tarve people to death? Isn't it illegal NOW to starve people to death? Let's try a few test cases.

Case #1. Your Grandmother is getting up in years, has developed senility and can't dress, bathe, or feed herself anymore. Are you allowed to deny her her medication so that her bloodpressure spins out of control and she dies? Can you stop bringing her meals so she starves to death?

Case #2. Your teenager is being a royal pain in the butt. Can you lock him in the closet and deny food & water until he is dead?

Case #3. You have a sudden stroke that robs you pf a lot of function and your ability to communicate. You are not dead or in a coma, and over the years you do manage to communicate with facial expressions with people you know and care about. Your parents want to get you the help of one of the many doctors who sees greater recovery is possible, but your estranged husband wants to deny you food & water until you die.

Hmm. Admittedly, the line between who is alive & who is dead has a gray area. But this woman is not in that gray area, so honestly, I don't see how her right to live her life has been completely circumvented. It is #1 on the American hit parade.

Watch your right, folks. All of them. The sandy bank is eroding from under our feet and I am very worried we won't realize how bad it is until we are sliding down the cliffside.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Today's Million Dollar Idea

Every day has a million dollar idea.

Today's idea came out of today's adventure in waiting for a no-show to see an apartment while watching The Apprentice with my brother. This episode's challenge broke the contestants into teams that each had to build a miniture golf course. They had a budget and were going to be judged by how much money they brought in.

Team #1 went with a safari theme, which was really cute. They had the golf course set up under a big tent with potted trees and big stuffed animals. It was cozy without being too cutesy and the kids seemed to like it.

Team #2 went with the ever nightmarish clown theme. The dippy woman in charge, dubbed by me as 'Great Leader,' could not lead and refused to take responsibility for her lack of leadership. One man on her team, who I refer to as Klassy the Klown, was visibly chewing tobacco while in clown garb and taking tickets from the little tykes. Another man was completely uncooperative, refusing to put on the theme clown outfit and promote the golf course. If it were my team, I would have made it clear to Mr. No that his choices are teamwork or hit the pavement. Great Leader just whined at him.

I don't watch the show, but it seemed some history between her and the other contestants was also coming back to bite her in her self-described "beautiful" rump. (Everything that went wrong, Great Leader blamed on being beautiful and thereby not getting any respect. She did this in all 3 conversations on the show. Note to G. L. - There are beautiful women in this world who are also respected for their minds and what they can accomplish. You will never be one of these women until you a) Can manage a conversation in which you never utter the phrase, "But I'm so beautiful..." and b) Stop whining, take responsibility, and roll up your sleeves and do the work.)

No surprise, but Team #1 won. So Team #2 was going to have The Donald fire somebody. My brother asked me, "Which guy would you fire?"

"Well," I considered, "the leader sucked or maybe Mr. No. Now that guy is just plain obnoxious! Sure, I'd like to fire the idiot who didn't stop chewing tobacco even when dressed as a clown & dealing with little kids. But his problem can be fixed. He could go on the patch or something. The other guy is screwed. There's no patch for obnoxiousness."

And there it is.

Today's million dollar idea, The Obnoxiousness Patch, perhaps marketed as Obnoxipatch TM. I can see people buying them by the caseload, slapping them on the backs of people's necks and arms every single day. No one would buy them for themselves - rarely do the truly obnoxious regard themselves as anything other than easygoing, carefree folk. No, these patches would be for the sufferers to slap the patch upon others. I'm envisioning something along the lines of a Xanax-THC-theobromine time-release cocktail. It would sell like frozen milkyways on a hot summer beach. Normally, I might think twice before shoving such a valuable concept out into the bright lights of public scrutiny, but it would be worth it if some drug company picked this up and ran with it. It's a gimme, you guys, I just want a few cases to do with as I wish.

Now, honestly, who would you have slapped an Obnoxipatch TM on today?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

ET, rent my home!

Thank goodness someone has finally done something about all those billions of extraterrestrials who need a free couch. Finally I am a blogger with a breaking story! Tell them you heard it here first -- craigslist has gone intersteller:

WHAT: craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster won an eBay auction for the first private communication transmission light years into deep space, with the idea of offering this opportunity to craigslist users.

HOW: The friendly folks at Deep Space Communications Network (DSCN) will beam the postings trillions of miles into space using redundant klystron transmitters and a satellite dish.

HOW MUCH: The winning bid was $1225, but craigslist is negotiating with DSCN for extra capacity to accomodate the anticipated volume of craigslist postings to be transmitted - 10,000 ads were designated by users for transmission during the first 24 hours!

WHEN: The transmission is currently scheduled for May 15th, 2005, directly following the launch of the space shuttle Discovery.

WHERE: Cape Canaveral, FL

WHY: It seemed fitting for craigslist users to be the first to beam internet postings and classified ads into deep space.

But... wait a sec. Craigslist? In Space? This can't be real! But check the FAQ:

Q: Is this a hoax. A: No.

This is good news. I have had very high interest in my Queen Anne rental, but low commitment. So I have been showing it virtually every day, week after week. Now when I see an unusally bright light flicker in the sky, I will know that ETs are coming to rent my apartment. So what if they don't have a credit history? Neither do the college kids that want to cram two or three people in every bedroom. No social security number? No problem! I have rented to folks from outside the US before. Maybe not that far outside, but hey, I don't judge. If ET wants the place I'll consider it. Great sky views - they're going to love it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Do not stare directly at broken tablets

Just so you know where I stand, I am not against the drug companies making a billion gagillion dollars, not at all. In fact, I think they probably need at least half a gagillion just to do the R & D necessary to developing new items of possible live-saving and/or weekend-enhancement quality. In a just world, the bulk of their profits would go toward paying exorbitant rent to the people of the Amazon to caretake and catalog that most precious of natural medicinal resources. In our world, though, I do not think it unreasonable to expect drug companies to be honest. Woo hoo, that's funny! No, no, not fiscally honest or who keeps burning popcorn in the breakroom microwave honest. I just mean legally enforced honesty, full disclosure of all studies done on any given drug. They should also be made to track all incoming reports of incidents after release to market - but hold on now, little Miss Sassypants, one thing at a time!

My father-in-law, a man of remarkable wit & wisdom, sent this to me. It is a cute little animated song mocking tv drug ads. Sure, you might think they are virtually un-mockable, what with the warnings about side effects ranging from sleepiness (in a sleeping pill, so wouldn't that be the main effect?) to coma & death. Ah yes, servin' up a little side dish of DEATH. Not to worry, just a niggly higgly pesky little side effect. My favorite ad is for propecia, which I have not seen on tv in a while, but if memory serves, specifically warns women to stand back 50 feet from it and not handle or stare directly at broken tablets. All that danger is worth it though because it might help balding men grow an ounce of peach fuzz, so how can you argue with that? As if the rockin' animation and jaunty tune were not enough, you will find a link on the page to how you can support legislation for full public drug study disclosure, the Fair Access to Clinical Trials Act (FACT Act). No spam here, folks - this is from Consumer's Union (publisher of Consumer Reports), so go ahead and click without fear.

What!?! Singing and dancing pills? And I can see them without waking up in a strange city with unexplained tattoos and no shoes? Count me in!