Sunday, March 19, 2006

Life or Death: who gets to choose?

I just had a nightmare. It doesn't happen often - in fact next to never. This particular dream disturbed me to the point I was virtually paralyzed when I woke up.

"Playing God" is something mankind has debated over for ever. Who has the right to take another person's life? Who has the right to decide if it's in someone else's interest to live or die? Who decides if a baby gets to be born? Who decides?

I've heard countless stories about people who blame "God" when a tragedy strikes and takes a loved one from them. If "God" is so readily blamable, has anyone ever stopped to think what "God" might feel about one human being taking it upon themselves to either decide to live or die, or make that decision on someone else's behalf?

When my parents moved to a care facility last year, one of the intake form questions dealt with the decision making process regarding resuscitation. If something serious were to happen, what is my Mom or Dad's decision? Is the staff obligated to resuscitate? Are they obligated to leave the situation be?

Then there's abortion. Not a topic I normally pay any attention to, but I suppose it's ultimately another form of playing "God". Again, who gets to choose? It's the mother's body, the mother's trauma, the mother's responsibility. What about the father? Where's the line? Who gets to choose what?

What about the child?

Having been adopted, born at a time when abortion was anything but common practice - certainly never used as a form of birth control - I'm of the mind that there are other alternatives.

Never, in any case, have I had to make a "life or death" decision - not even to put a pet down. So I hope you will excuse the depth of this post as a simple vent to a dream.

Dream researches say that dreams are often a reflection of one's daily experience, wishes or fears. It caused me to think about what caused this dream to be...

Last night I watched a movie: Speed. In it, a terrorist kills a number of innocent people to drive home the point that he is in charge. He wants money. He uses fear and control to get it. On the surface this film is done tastefully and comes across as an "action/adventure" flick. Everything is OK on the screen because no one really dies.

I wonder if my subconscious was just a little vulnerable last night?


Anvilcloud said...

Oddly enough, I watched Million Dollar Baby last night. Perhaps I should be the one with those thoughts today. I have great sympathy for the standout cases like Lattimer, Rodriguez etc.

Andrea said...

I am with anvicloud on that one. We had to pull the plug on my sister a few years ago and it was not even a second thought for us. We loved her so much but to keep her ventilated was never ever an option. I had a dream a few weeks later with my sister, the only one, scared the crap out of me but it wasnt a nightmare in any way. Just a dream that I needed to understand.

Sarah Elaine said...

Lots of deep thoughts there... Not sure there are any right answers though, either way.

Granny said...

Every answer has its own downside. In the end, it all comes down to personal decisions I think.

When the boy's dad was sick, we had a DNR order on file at the hospital. When it was time, he died peacefully without the agony of our watching someone suffer for what, at most, might have been a few more days.

I'm pro-choice, partly because I believe that decision should be left up to the woman but mostly because I believe that the right-to-life faction has an agenda that won't stop at this single issue and they frighten me.

ipodmomma said...

I've lost a lot of loved ones over the years, and I try to see it this way: we all have a purpose, and some lives are just way shorter, their purpose not needing a lot of time, however differently we might feel...

so enjoying life, each day, is the main thing. and giving thanks for whatever comes...

nice post...

wthenrest said...

I wanted to post the other day but the blog was down. There are no easy or straightforward answers to some of these questions. People play God in many ways rather than just this instance of chosing life and death. I have to agree with granny. In the end what 'I' want and what 'you' want would be two different things.
I personally would want a DNR if I have had head trauma and would no longer be able to think for myself. The only vegetative state I want is in front of the tv on a Friday night.
Abortion is a big question. This has no easy answer and I don't think there is just one answer. There are too many variables.
The problem with all these type of questions are that everyone wants one answer. There isn't one. life and death is not easy no matter what.

About Me

My photo
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.