Tuesday, March 4, 2008

We've Had THE Talk - Again

Keith and I have once again found ourselves discussing the topic of Living Wills. I have an uncle who is currently dying of cirrhosis. He never made up a living will, therefore, it is up to his 20-something son to decide what to do. Not a good situation. Also, an acquaintance of Keith and his family, a fellow PWP, has recently committed suicide. He also had prostate cancer, I believe.

So here are my feelings on the matter: I think living wills are great. It's nice to know that if you should become incapacitated and unable to make your own medical decisions, there is someone that you trust and have appointed to make all those decisions for you. Most importantly, that person will follow the wishes you have outlined for your medical care. BUT, I could never be the person appointed to follow through with those wishes.

I have made it perfectly clear to Keith that 1.) I am very pro life, and although I would never, ever want him to suffer I simply can not and will not pull the plug, so to speak. And 2.) If he wants to establish a living will, he'd better put someone else in charge. Finally, 3.) If he doesn't set up arrangements ahead of time, fine, but he'd BETTER NOT even think for a single second that taking his own life would make things better for the rest of us.

Now I completely understand how and why someone would consider suicide if they had a chronic and/or fatal illness. I understand that one would not want to suffer or put his/her family through hell in the process. But as I have had someone very near and dear to me commit suicide, I can honestly say that it doesn't matter what the reason - those you leave behind will never fully recover from it. Keith knows how much my own family and I have suffered with our loss, but I really don't think it has sunk in. I truly don't. I get the impression that he believes it is an okay thing to do if you are suffering terribly from an illness, such as cancer or late-stage PD. Don't get me wrong - Keith has never said he would do it. In fact, he always states the opposite, that he would never do something like that. But he's just a little too understanding, if you know what I mean. He acts like the only reason he says he would not commit suicide (if he ever got to that point of suffering) is because I am adamant that he not do it. I get the feeling that if I told him "I understand. If you really feel like you need to do it, then go ahead" then he would actually do it. (just to be sure you know, I am speaking in hypothetical terms only! I am only talking about IF Keith should get to a really bad place with PD.)

I wish he would just go ahead and set up a living will. Even though I don't want to be the person who makes the final decision regarding his life, I really think it would make things a lot easier.

It just popped into my mind that maybe I'm being selfish by not wanting to be "the one." I guess the only other person right now who could really take on that role is Bryan. I really don't want to put that on him, either. But for me it's more of a moral dilemma. I don't believe in it, though I do understand it. This kinda goes back to the stem-cell research debate - my morals or my husband??? Hmmmmm . . .

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