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March 18, 2005

And So It Goes

And Greer said take the tube out.

And they did.

Responding to Bill from InDC: Bill didn't like the accusatory tone I took regarding the "husband," Michael. Well, to be honest, I did try to be reasonably careful about accusations. Still-- the fact remains, if someone has a conflict-of-interest, we don't let them make life and death decisions, and we don't just take their word for what a person unable to speak for herself might have said.

Especially when that claim comes years and years after the the stricken wife has gone silent.

The circumstances raise suspicions inherently.

I am a bit perplexed by those who still insist on saying that Terri's "family" wants her to die with dignity.

Her "family" does? You mean-- the husband-in-name-only who is now living with another woman and siring children by her?

The husband has left Terri, guys. As I took pains to point out, that hardly makes him a monster; most, including me, would do the same. But it does make him no longer "family," and I find it absurd that people want a non-family-member's wishes to prevail over those who remain family.

Think back to all your ex-wives or ex-husbands or ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends... they're ex's. They may have cared the world for you at one point, but they no longer do. Most of them are, I'm guessing (unless you have to keep in contact due to joing custody of children), more or less complete strangers to you a few months or a few years after the parting of ways.

Would any of you wish an ex to decide your fate rather than your parents? What sort of sense does that make?

A best friend, sure-- best friends tend to remain best friends. A brother, a sister-- okay, as a general matter (unless they are compromised by some financial gain, of course).

But someone who in fact divorced Terri years ago? Yes, he never has bothered to fill out the paperwork; but he is effectively divorced from Terri. And yet the court still finds: Well, he's her husband on paper; let's pretend he's still the closest family she has on earth.

He's not.

And as for suspecting his motives: Why hasn't he simply divorced this abandoned, brain-damaged woman and married the woman he's living with? She can't be happy about raising children in bastardy; why has he resisted what must certainly be her wish to marry to the father of her children?

Just so he could continue fighting for Terri's right to die with dignity? Hang on; we'll get to that.

Add in the fact that he has refused time and time again to grant the parents' wishes for an MRI, for real physical therapy, etc. If you were in his shoes, with your wife's parents' begging you for a simple medical test or a round of physical therapy, wouldn't you grant their wish? Just so they would know that everything had in fact "been tried," and so that they could learn themselves it's time to give up?

If I am too suspicious of his motives, let me ask Bill et al.: Why do you lack any suspicion whatsoever? Do you honestly believe he's been on a ten-year legal crusade to end her life ("with dignity") just because he's so very much in love with her still?

I don't know. I don't buy that. At all. I put myself in his shoes: a wife I've abandoned and moved on from, parents begging me to let her live so that they can care for her. And to me-- even if I thought it were best that she die, I wouldn't be 100% stone-cold positive of that, and I think I would just say, "Okay, guys. She's your daughter. I think you're making a mistake, but I defer to you, chiefly to comfort you rather than to help her. I will withdraw as guardian. Good luck to you all."

I just find it strange behavior that the man is so hell-bent to pull the tube. And yes, I find that strange even if I assume what I actually doubt-- that they had a one conversation in which she expressed a preference not to remain on "life support."

A feeding tube doesn't seem to be the sort of thing that most people think of as life support-- not to me, at least. I have to eat and drink everyday; that's not life support. And people who've lost the capacity to swallow (let's say from mouth cancer) but who are otherwise alert and healthy are certainly not on "life support" just because they draw nutrition from a tube.

So why do I suspect his motives?

Because he is acting contrary to how I would act in the same circumstances. Strangely contrary. Perplexingly contrary.

Maybe Michael Schiavo just is the most dedicated ex-husband in human history, selflessly campaigning for ten years to honor the wishes of his abandoned, although still deeply loved, wife.

I kind of doubt it. It seems like a rather abstract interest to animate someone to fight for so long. When people fight this hard for this long, call me a cynic, but I suspect self-interest plays a role.

And I don't believe anyone still loves anyone after a couple of years of abandonment. Things fade after a couple of months.

After 15 years? Give me a break.


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posted by Ace at 04:12 PM

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