Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

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Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Life and Death Conundrum!

I have shied away from the Schiavo-Schindler tragedy for personal reasons.

In 1980 the doctors told me that I should pull the plug on my son. He was on a respirator and they were convinced that he had no prospects for survival. This was after only 48 hours in a coma. I demurred and with a group of friends we engaged in stimulation therapy, much to the hospital's dismay. We physically stimulated him and asked him to come back because, “He could do it.” And he did, and his first words, at the age of two, were, “See, I did it.” A miracle of course, and one which the hospital staff celebrated.

Now, he did suffer some brain damage, but 25 years later, I refer to him as the “Fooking genius.” He is a brilliant artist both digitally and otherwise, a brilliant computer geek, a great writer, and a math genius. Lucky him, he started out smarter than the average bear. Miracle don’t always work out, this one did!

However, during that tragedy, I had many religious folks, of conservative stripes, tell me to let him go to “God.” I, in fact, got into a screaming fest with one employee of the hospital who insisted that I was thwarting God’s will by keeping him on life support. She was at my insistence removed from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

To this day I am confounded that a person who didn’t know me, or my child, and knew even less, though an employee, about his medical condition, felt it was her “God Given Right” to tell me what to do and what God wanted!

So, here we are today with the situation of Ms. Schiavo. This is a family tragedy and I am so sorry that there is a conflict within this family. I truly understand both sides of this issue. But it has been 15 years. The doctors made their decision in my son’s case after 48 hours and they were wrong. The doctors in Ms. Schiavo’s case maybe right. My son was on a respirator, unable to breath on his own. Ms. Schiavo is able to breath on her own, but unable to eat and swallow and thus needs a feeding tube.

Let me bring my dear friend Wayne into this picture. In 1990 he was stricken with the end stages of AIDS. He was suffering dementia from tuberculosis of the brain. He stopped eating and his family had a feeding tube installed in his body. He, none the less, decided to die, though we did not know this. He wanted three of his friends to come and see him. We came to Massachusetts from Virginia, and New York. When the last one he wanted to see left the hospital he died within 10 minutes. I think he chose to leave. And I respect that choice.

Now maybe Wayne, though suffering from dementia, and unable to eat, had more brain function than Ms. Schiavo. But, I believe that even while he was on a feeding tube he decided to pass on. Maybe because Ms. Schiavo doesn’t have any brain function left, as one neurologist said her EEG is “flat-flat,” she is unable to make that decision to let go. This leaves me conflicted.

I truly wish that Mr. Schiavo would give up his guardianship and let the Schindler’s take custody of their child. They may, or may not, have her best interests at heart, but then he may not either. None of us know what she wants and never will.

My son’s doctors were not evil or uncaring people. I don’t think that the hospital employees who implored me to let him go to his maker were evil people. They just didn’t know what he wanted to do.

Neither did I. But I knew that I wanted him to come back. And I knew that it was his choice.

I made the decision to come back in 1968. So, you see, I felt that it was his choice to make.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know nothing of God or the Devil, I have never seen a vision or learned a secret that would save or damn my soul. I do know that in your sons case you made the right choice.

I always thought he was a little off.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Tuli said...

Thanks for your comment. And, aren't we all just a little off?

7:59 PM  

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