Citizen Blogger

March 24, 2005

And then there's this reason to have a Living Will

So let's just say that you fall down and hit your head, God forbid, and become comatose or awake in a vegetative state. Boy, that's a hard sentence to start a story with, isn't it? The point here being, you are unable to speak for yourself. Now let's say that you do have a right to live and you would like to exercise said right with hopes that friends, family, citizens, judges, and doctors will fight for you to stay alive. So far, so good?

Okay, here's where the scenario gets wild. You didn't put your wishes in writing, and the one who is legally able to speak for you is also the one who has a vested interest in you never speaking again. Wow! Maybe it's because of something they know that you know, anything, that could hurt them. It doesn't have to be that they are the one who contributed to your falling down, but it could be, or it could be some other extravagant reason like a divorce would be too costly (see Scott Peterson) or a fortune could be inherited, or, --you get the point. Now, as the story continues, I know you're having a really bad day, and I hate to pile on, but let's say the doctors, politicians and judges believe this guardian person when he or she says: "I know what 'insert name here' really wants, even though there is no living will, and I can definitively tell you that 'insert name here' would rather be dead."

But some good news happens: Your parents arrive to your aid, and then your brothers and sisters, and your friends from High School, and--you get the point. But sorry, they don't matter because somehow, legally, some arrangement you made in life gave this incredible power to this other person--did I say that this person wouldn't mind you being dead? And soon, half of the known universe is chanting, "Let 'insert name here' die!, Let 'insert name here' die!" I know, I know, this sounds like a bad plot to some futuristic sci-fi flick, but, for some unfortunate others, that future may already be here.

So, in order to save your life, if for some bizarre reason you actually respect life over life style and are hopeful instead of hopeless, legally spell out a trustworthy guardian to speak for you perchance the horrific happens. And they should know your wishes in writing. Finally, if you're not sure who to trust, just put a big red check in the "YES, keep me alive" box in your living will, advance directive, power of attorney, or whatever applies--then sign your name, put it in triplicate, and hope your lawyer or safe-deposit box security guy isn't the one who will benefit from your passing. I say all this in rough jest of a serious subject, I mean no offense--but it is to a point; you do get the point? Oh yeah, if you would rather they stop assistance, put that in writing too! Welcome to the 21st Century: It's a wide open funkfest out there, be wise, whatever your wishes are.

For any interested, I suggest Jack London's "Martin Eden" for a good narrative on desire, and if you make it all the way to the end, there's a pertinent comment on Mans' desire to stay alive even though our words, thoughts, and deeds are to the contrary.