Molt Be Blog

Friday, June 23, 2006

Living Will

R and I were discussing living wills the other night. She explained that if she was ever predicted to remain in a vegetative state, she wanted the plug pulled (I can only imagine by me). Either because I'm not sure or because I felt like playing devil's advocate, I said I wouldn't want the plug pulled at all. I think that if someone else wants the plug pulled, more power to them.
As far as I'm concerned there are plenty of good reasons to want an not want the plug pulled. What if people in vegetative states really can comprehend everything that's going on around them? If you don't believe in an afterlife, I'd imagine that every waking moment on this earth should be pretty important to you. If you're even the tiniest bit cognizant, you'll probably want to hang around rather than suffocating for lack of respirator or starving for lack of feeding tube. For all we know, living without brain activity might be a state of ethereal being about which most of us can only dream. Then again, being that happy and not being able to actually think about how great it was or tell anyone about it probably would be a downer.
The disadvantages of a prolonged vegetative state run a bit long. There's are the no-talking, no-eating, no-doing-anything-without-help, no-thinking cons. R also brought up the stress-on-your-loved-ones con. Even worse that all of that would be the inability-to-scratch-itch-or-inform-anyone-of-itch-location con.
It's important too to draw a distinction between complete and total paralysis and being in a prolonged vegetative state, the main difference being that, in the latter case, Doctors don't believe that we're capable of thinking.
Hence the purpose of the living will. Best to do your thinking ahead of time rather than trying to do it with zero brain activity.
I've been successfully turned around by the whole itch-you-can't-scratch argument and hereby declare that I'd like to have that plug pulled.

No comments: