Friday, October 07, 2005

My God Wants You to Suffer

"Conservatives don't know shit from shinola, and they're trying to force us to shine our shoes with their polish!"

- The Viscount

They are trying to strike-down the Physician Assisted Suicide Law in Oregon, and guess who is leading the charge?

You are terminally ill, and in intractible pain. Your quality of life is gone, as is your diginity. Heroin, the only drug known to mankind that can kill 100% of the pain is illegal in the United States. In the worst cancer cases, Morphine in non-lethal doses is said to kill 50% of the pain, and renders the patient barely coherent. Shouldn't you have to option to ask for a shot that will allow you to escape the pain? To die with dignity? Shouldn't that decision be left up to you and your family?

If you believe in a sadistic, vindictive God who wants you to suffer right up until the bitter end, who I am to tell you that you can't? Conversely, if I do not believe in a sadistic, vindictive God who wants me to suffer right up until the bitter end, who the hell are you to tell me that I must?

Make no mistake, regardless of what they say, at the crux of their argument is religion.

As Hamish said yesterday, "There sure is a lot of talk from the right about 'moral issues.' I'm not sure where their getting their morality from, but it sure as Hell doesn't seem to be Jesus. "


Blogger XTCfan said...

I think the argument is, you're supposed to suffer so you can get an idea of what Jesus went through. At least, that's what John Paul II said.

I wonder if he was thinking of the suffering of altar boys when he said that...

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More evidence: the religious right (specifically Dobson, I think) opposes the use of any vaccine that would prevent the spread of the human papilloma virus (HPV), the cause of cervical cancer. By God, if girls and women are gonna fornicate, they deserve a painful slow death before roasting in hellfire for eternity!
Brain Teaser: If it were MEN who got the cancer, would their "thinking" be the same?

10:34 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Think Decatur Dem is kidding? I know you don't, but here is the link.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Nobody said...

These people make these laws because they don't understand such simple concepts such as suffering, helplessness and loss of dignity. Where is compassion?

As someone who watched a family member waste away to basically a husk of a human being over a period of months and was reassured by the doctors that the morphine meant he wasn't suffering, but I now wonder just what I was seeing when I looked into his eyes. Was he really in pain? How scared was he?

Did he know in those final moments that his lungs were so full of fluid that he was drowning? The doctors said the morphine meant he wouldn't know what was happening, but what if there *was* that moment of panic we all feel when we lose our breathing, (even temporarily), and his body was simply *too weak* to show any kind of reaction to what his mind was going through.

Yep, there it is. That feeling of pain over his loss again, now mixed with the horror that he possibily was aware of what was happening to him.

Decatur Dem: Even seen a Mammography machine? They're truly barbaric. I always think it's obvious a *man* invented that process. Nowadays you can be checked by an ultrasound, but *only if you can afford to pay*, because Medicare only covers the Mammography process.

Then they wonder why women avoid having the process done regularly enough fo early detection. If we were expected to have our genitals flattened to a thickness of one inch i'm sure things would be different.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

I have a problem with the "trigger word" dignity because I've never completely understood what it was supposed to signify in this context.

I only know it implies someone's approval (not the necessarily the victim's / patient's) of how the patient or deceased have been treated and of how they will be disposed.

It connotes to me a review by others based on beliefs - from the church, the state or otherwise outside of the nexus of immediate family, doctors at the bedside, and actual concerned parties - as to the appropriate result of a given case.

There's no such thing as dignity - or lack thereof - if nobody's looking over the headboard of the sickbed. Things should be left only to the patient, the family and those they choose to involve.

9:39 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...


Well, it is one of those words that probably means different things to different people.

I understand the point about "outside the nexus of the immediate family" but there is at least the illusion of dignity within your inner circle.

I think for me it means the ability to maintain my composure and control of myself in front of my loved ones.

I don't want to make my children suffer more than they have to when it is my time to go. Watching me waste away with tubes sticking out of my orifices, waiting for the aid to change my diaper, babbling incoherently to the spectres of my morphine-induced delusions and sweating and moaning in pain signifies a loss of dignity in my eyes, a dignity that I do not wish to lose.

I should have the right to choose physician assisted suicide and / or addictive narcotic treatments based on my own parameters, my own definition of dignity. What makes matters worse is the fact that I may not have those options based on other people's religious beliefs. Religious beliefs that in my view are not only false, but harmful.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Nobody said...

Kevin, Dignity is a hard thing to understand unless you've been chronically ill. It's an intensely personal experience, and you're not guaranteed to feel it even around your family.

My grandmother, no longer able to stand up in the shower to clean herself. Getting in the bath was out of the question due to her arthritis and weakness. So we put a lawn chair in the shower and my mother and I helped her off with her clothes and washed her down as she sat there under the water.

She was an intensely private woman and here she was, stripped bare, vulnerable, naked physically *and* mentally. She'd cry everytime through the shame of the process that things had "Come to this".

My grandfather, looking down at his now 45 kilogram frame as the nurses change his sheets, a living skeleton that can't possibly be anything but a corpse, but somehow he's still in there.

He's all bone and barely-there skin. Through his drugged haze he looks into my eyes and slurs "This can't be me. This can't be me". Then he's lost again to the haze of drugs.

I'm not a good enough writer to explain how dehumanising it is to be the person in that sickbed or having medical procedures done for an extended period of time. I've been on both sides, and after a while you truly cease to feel like a human being and become simply An Object.

They take blood from you again and again until the very thought of a needle makes you want to cry, not from the discomfort or pain of it, just from the continued physical *violation* of self.

They move your body for you the way you'd pick up a vase to dust under it. They physically handle your body during the procedures like x-rays and MRI's to 'position you correctly'.

They don't close the curtains so you're lying there on the bed and all the people around you, including other peoples families, can see you lying there, half naked, with drips in your veins and tubes up your nose. They bring other doctors to poke you, they bring student doctors and explain to them what's happening in terms of objectification. They look at you and nod and move on to the next bed.

And in the moments of silence and privacy between these events, where time doesn't seem to be moving, and they're leaving you alone, the dehumanisation stays with you. No-one might be looking, but you still have no sense of control over what's happening to you, a say in what they're doing, or the personal contact that lets them know you exist, think and feel.


5:03 PM  
Blogger Nobody said...

Also to understand Kevin, if you read my post 'How Much Strength?' on my blog that i wrote on Friday night there's more on the dehumanisation process at work in medical procedures, skip through it until about three quarters of the way through to the section that starts "I asked her where she went during the process..."

You read the post about my Operation. The song I was writing in my head while waiting to go into theatre was called "The Object On The Table". It was describing this object being viewed by the narrator that's normally overlooked, ignored, never catching the interest or attention of the people passing by.

The coda was:

"I suddenly realise
This thing before eyes
The object on the table
Foreign, unfamiliar
Is Me".

I thought it was too obvious.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am flattered you would quote me, but make no mistake--my God wants you to suffer.

9:49 AM  

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