Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


What a choice.

A very sobering story out of Indiana, where a young hunter(well, 32 is younger than I am), fell 16 feet out of tree, crushing C3, C4, and C5 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Doctors were keeping him under sedation and on a breathing machine, while his family tried to make some decisions about his future...the biggest one being, do we leave him on the ventilator?

Instead of making that decision in a vacuum, the family asked if the man, Tim Bowers, could be taken out of sedation, so he could make his own decision.  The doctors did so, and after everything was explained to him, Mr. Bowers asked to have the breathing tube removed so he could talk to his family, and requested that no actions be taken if he was not able to breath on his own.  This resulted in him passing away later that day. 

I don't blame him...and it's quite possibly the choice I would have made.

I don't have any kind of religious objections to suicide(not that I am certain this would fit under the definition of suicide, but I know some feel that taking no action to stop ending a life is the same as actively working to end a life).  If you decide you are tired of living...go for it.  Just please do it in a way that is the least inconvenient to other people.   Don't shoot up the ceiling of a mall, don't stand on a bridge, stopping rush hour traffic for a whole morning. 

In this case...according to doctors, it wasn't going to get any better for this guy(well, they might have been able to fuse his spine so he could be left sitting in bed instead of laying down)...but...that's it.  Potentially 30-40 years laying(maybe sitting) in a bed...having a machine breath for him.  He was never going to have more of his family around him then he did right then. 

There are selfish parts to the decision...I don't think I could spend 30-40 years in a bed, not able to move, or feel, or laugh, or joke because a breathing tube is down your throat without going slowly insane. 

Part of it though, is making the tough decision for the rest of your family.  Is it right to be a load on your family for 30-40 years?  Yes...my wife(and I hope his wife of barely 3 months) love me unconditionally...but how long with that love last without being able to get hugs, kisses, tickles, or even hands held?  Without me being able to tell jokes, or sing to her, or tell her how beautiful she is.  Maybe the right call is 'let me end it now, cleanly, instead of watching me rot away, while love slowly turns to melancholy?'  How long before the daily visits become every other day, and then weekly...you have to cut her(and the rest of your family) free.

I think it was the right call...I just hope I never have to make it. 

1 comment:

  1. This one hit close to home both as a hunter and since his widow is a friend of a member of our church. A decision I pray not to have to make but I understand why he did. May he rest in peace.