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#5896759 - 10/31/11 12:06 PM Do you believe in the sanctity of human life RIP Mom 11/8
Adam G Offline
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For purposes of this poll, ignore the abortion issue. Arguing about whether an unborn child/fetus is human life is a debate for another thread. Do you believe in the cradle to the grave sanctity of human life?

Definition of sanctity, for reference:

sanc·ti·ty/ˈsaNG(k)titē/
Noun:

The state or quality of being holy, sacred, or saintly.
Ultimate importance and inviolability.



Since you shouldnt ever start a poll thread without first sharing yourself, this has been my experience. My mother is 58 years old and has advanced Early Onset Alzheimer's, arguably the worst form of a group of disorders generally referred to as Dementia. In what seems like another life ago she was a clinical psychologist, so very educated and independent. With this particular disease they say that you typically have five years from the point of diagnosis until you're in the ground. If memory serves, my mom was diagnosed in 2005 or 2006.

For the next five years she went steadily downhill until it got to the point that living at the home she has been in for 20 years was too dangerous for her. Among other things, she forgot where the bathroom was, didn't recognize my stepfather and stepbrother who live with her (let alone me), started rolling down the stairs and breaking bones, etc. It was also a tremendously unfair burden on my stepfather and stepbrother to deal with her care alone.

I hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit to be appointed her guardian (so I could place her in a nursing home) and then to transfer the house to my stepfather before applying for Medicaid. Eventually that all worked out and my mom went into the first nursing home on July 15, 2011. From that point on, the progression of the disease probably increased tenfold. She was eventually booted out of the nursing home twice for behavior issues and did a couple of stints in a psych ward. The doctors tried to get a handle on what was going on but no definitive cause was ever pinpointed outside of normal progression of the dementia.

I eventually found a new nursing home to take her once she was discharged from the psych hospital. This was really difficult; her application was denied by upwards of a dozen other nursing homes based on her troubles at the prior facility. She has been in the new facility for eight weeks or so. It has been an up and down experience. On the up side, she hasn't been booted out yet. On the down side, she hasn't been booted out because of how far her condition has deteriorated. As a result, she's no longer a threat to do anything disruptive or dangerous. Seeing her yesterday (first time in a week or so) was eye opening. She looks skeletal - she's 5'2" and if she even weighed 70 lbs, I would be surprised. Her life consists entirely of laying in this kind of lounge chair where she gazes off into oblivion and twitches involuntarily. She is an enormous ball of anger and frustration due to her lack of ability to communicate. Her body is covered with bruises from where she slams her various limbs around because that's all she can do at this point to express herself. She long ago lost the ability to walk, feed herself, or do any of life's other daily tasks that we take for granted. It is a struggle to get her to drink out of a cup, even if you hold it up to her lips. This, of course, is a prelude to how many people with this disease eventually die - they forget how to swallow and waste away to nothing, literally.

I spoke with my stepfather about her situation last night. We both agree that life is purely torture for her at this point and we both wished there was some process by which we could hasten her suffering. That, of course, is not allowed due to certain politicians and their supporters who insist that each and every human life is sacred.

Anyway, I dont make this post looking for sympathy. I'm just looking for somebody to explain to me how 1) human life, in each and every circumstance, is of the "ultimate importance and inviolability" and 2) how it would not be more merciful and God-like to have some sort of process or procedure by which we can minimize or eliminate suffering in situations such as these. UxiSi, beefy, johnso, or whoever else wants to take a shot, please lay it on me.



*EDIT*


My mom passed at 12:48 AM on 11/7/11. Seems that God or somebody was calling my bluff by making this post. Here's a copy and paste of a play by play I wrote out last night.

I saw my mother a week ago Sunday at the nursing home. She looked pretty awful. She was strapped to a chair because she couldnt walk anymore, weighed about 70 lbs, and was having a lot of trouble drinking even if you held the cup up to her lips. She was one big ball of frustration because she couldnt communicate. As a result she just repeatedly slammed her arms and legs against her chair, leading her to be bruised all over her body. They pumped her full of anti-anxiety drugs, but apparently it wasn't enough.

So I got a call at the office at 4 or so on Friday afternoon from the nursing home saying that my mom had a high fever and they were sending her over to Lutheran General. I didnt really think too much of it, just that I would hop in the car and head out there after work. Five minutes later they called me again and said that they couldnt wait until the hospital got there to pick her up because her oxygen levels were dropping so they were calling 911. A little more ominous.

I got out there at 730 or so. My stepfather was already there and she had a big box over her face which was a breathing machine. Turns out that she has pneumonia, which is what most Alzheimer's patients usually die from. She was transferred from the ER to ICU and Marc and I met with the head resident. We discussed that my mom is in end stage Alzheimer's, meaning that the end is coming soon even if she makes it through this weekend. He said that if the breathing machine doesn't get her oxygenation rate up, then the next steps are more invasive. Particularly, they would have to do a endotracheal tube (tube down her throat) and a arterial line, meaning something put in her jugular vein. We all agreed that we would not go that route, but rather dial it back to simple oxygen in the nose and morphine to keep her comfortable until the end came. I left the ER that night at 930 or so.

Around 1130 Friday night I got a call from the attending physician in the ICU, saying that my mom's heart rate was through the roof. Basically her heart and lungs were working overtime (155bpm) and oxygen wasnt getting through her body. The doctor said that he had already conferred with my stepfather and the head physician at the nursing home and they agreed that they should take off the breathing machine and switch to morphine. I asked how long she would have if they took her off the breathing machine and he estimated a half hour. That's when it became very real to me. If I agreed to it, my mother would be dead in 30 minutes. I thought about it for a minute or two while he was on the phone before agreeing to it, knowing that it was the right thing to do. Still, saying it and actually doing it are two very different things.

I raced over to the hospital, doing 110 on the Edens, running red lights, the whole nine yards. But she didnt pass. She just sat there, her heart racing 155bpm as the hours passed. She still looked awful - eyes open and unblinking, eyes just moving back and forth rythymically (sp?), mouth wide open like she was screaming but wasnt. It was hard to watch, but still she wouldnt let go.

I spent the night that night and the next day lots of people came to say goodbye. I think she knew everybody was there and put on quite a show for them. Her vitals kind of stabilized. We also found out that she had MRSA in addition to the pneumonia, neither of which were being treated. But somehow, she didnt pass.

She eventually passed very early this morning, ten minutes after I left for the night after having been there all day long. Maybe she was waiting for me to just hurry up and GTFO so I wouldnt have to see it. I'm not sure. But at least her suffering is over. This disease really did a number on her and I wouldnt wish it on anybody.

I had a really interesting conversation with one of the nurses who sat with me and just talked for about two hours. She had been an ICU nurse for like 10 years so she is around death on a daily basis. I asked her whether she was spiritual and/or believed in God and she said yes to both. I said ok, give me a story, something that you saw in the ICU that was undeniably the hand of God at work. She said that's easy. She had a patient come in who was dying of Stage 3 brain cancer. They did a brain scan on him and it showed the huge tumor. He spent two days in the hospital basically waiting to die and they did another scan. The second scan showed that the tumor had absolutely disappeared. That patient walked out of the hospital healthy. She gave me a handful of other stories, but that was the shortest and sweetest.

I wasn't praying for any sort of miracle with my mom, knowing that it likely wouldn't come. I just prayed that God was somehow involved in the process and I'm confident that He was. Even if we cant see or understand whatever God's plan is, it's important to remember that it's there somewhere.

Thanks for reading all.
Sanctity of Human Life
You may choose only one
I believe in the sanctity of human life. My view is religiously based.
I believe in the sanctity of human life. My view is not religiously based.
I do not believe in the sanctity of human life.


Votes accepted starting: 10/31/11 10:27 AM
View the results of this poll.



Edited by Adam G (11/08/11 04:40 PM)

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#5896780 - 10/31/11 12:10 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Adam G]
caspersvapors Offline
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things I have to look forward to with my grandma who is in the first stages of dementia and has already become a danger to herself.

btw I said I dont believe in the sanctity of human life
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#5896792 - 10/31/11 12:13 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Adam G]
Back 5 Offline
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I watched my Grandfather go through the same thing. I don't think he was ever diagnosed with Alzheimer's but more dementia and loss of will to live due to his twin brother dying.

At any rate. I don't think we, as people, really have the capacity to administer assisted suicides. I think this will be something that ends up abused.

I have spent some time thinking about what decisions I would make should I ever have kids and prenatal testing reveals downs or another genetic birth defect.

I do not know how to answer your poll.

A 4th option of maybe I would vote for.
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#5896800 - 10/31/11 12:15 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: caspersvapors]
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I had to stop reading that part way through and finish after reflecting. I cannot imagine what your family is going through.
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#5896811 - 10/31/11 12:17 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: EDNKSU]
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\:\(
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#5896812 - 10/31/11 12:17 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Back 5]
Adam G Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Back 5
At any rate. I don't think we, as people, really have the capacity to administer assisted suicides. I think this will be something that ends up abused.

The assisted suicide thing should be a different thread. I ventured a little too far afield with my comments.

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#5896817 - 10/31/11 12:18 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: EDNKSU]
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Sounds like a familiar situation.

Out of curiosity, does it mean that you CANNOT agree with both merciful euthanasia AND the sanctity of life (in my case it would not be religion-based).

That is to say, are they necessarily mutually exclusive?

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#5896825 - 10/31/11 12:20 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Adam G]
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I believe in the sanctity of human life, but I also agree that there is a point at which you are torturing a person for no reason other than someone's perception of what is/is not moral. We do the humane thing and put down an animal that has no chance of recovering from an illness or injury, and I think the same should be the case for a human being.
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#5896828 - 10/31/11 12:20 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: paulsan2112]
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damn, Adam. I hope your Mom finds peace soon.
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#5896830 - 10/31/11 12:21 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: EDNKSU]
Adam G Offline
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 Originally Posted By: ednksu
I had to stop reading that part way through and finish after reflecting. I cannot imagine what your family is going through.

Thanks.

That's a discussion I got into with my father a few weeks ago. Obviously seeing her waste away little by little is a miserable experience. But as an outsider it is perferable, IMHO, to losing somebody very suddenly, like in a car wreck. You dont have to deal with the suddenness, no time to come to grips with what's happening, the questions about why it happened to somebody before their time, etc. As far as I'm concerned, the mother I knew for my whole life was gone years ago.

I can see the other side of the argument as well though.

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#5896832 - 10/31/11 12:21 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: caspersvapors]
M Offline
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I've watched thee grandparents between my wife and I waste away and die from dementia. I couldn't fathom seeing my parents or inlaws go through the same.

I believe in the sactity of human life, but there's a gray area in the beginning and end. If I'm in my death bed and want to end my life, I should be able to.

I hope before I succumb to dementia (very likely cause of the family history), I have a spark of awareness and can chose to off myself doing something cool, like blind folded African lion wrestling. \:D

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#5896835 - 10/31/11 12:21 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: paulsan2112]
Adam G Offline
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 Originally Posted By: paulsan2112
Sounds like a familiar situation.

Out of curiosity, does it mean that you CANNOT agree with both merciful euthanasia AND the sanctity of life (in my case it would not be religion-based).

That is to say, are they necessarily mutually exclusive?

Good point. I dont know.

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#5896839 - 10/31/11 12:22 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: paulsan2112]
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Sactity of Life means that life (a live body) must be kept alive at all costs, regardless of the quality of life being led or the wishes of the person whose life it is.

So yeah, I'd say they're mutually exclusive.
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#5896841 - 10/31/11 12:22 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: M]
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 Originally Posted By: M

I believe in the sactity of human life, but there's a gray area in the beginning and end, where I feel a mother and one's self should have control. If mother wants to kill her unborn baby, have at it. If I'm in my death bed and want to end my life, I should be able to.

I hope before I succumb to dementia (very likely cause of the family history), I have a spark of awareness and can chose to off myself doing something cool, like blind folded African lion wrestling. \:D


+1
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#5896845 - 10/31/11 12:24 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Philabong]
M Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Philabong
Sactity of Life means that life (a live body) must be kept alive at all costs, regardless of the quality of life being led or the wishes of the person whose life it is.

So yeah, I'd say they're mutually exclusive.


If that's the definition we're working off then I don't believe in the sanctity of life.

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#5896847 - 10/31/11 12:24 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: M]
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After reading your story, I feel like my opinion is entirely irrelevant and not worthy.
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#5896848 - 10/31/11 12:25 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Philabong]
paulsan2112 Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Philabong
Sactity of Life means that life (a live body) must be kept alive at all costs, regardless of the quality of life being led or the wishes of the person whose life it is.

So yeah, I'd say they're mutually exclusive.


OK, fair enough. I guess I was getting at the fact someone could have a reverence for life to the point of not wanting a life to suffer...

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#5896849 - 10/31/11 12:25 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: EDNKSU]
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I feel for your family, my family went through that with my grandfather and it's a terrible thing to experience, though he wasn't any where near as your as your mom.

my answer to the poll is that no, Human life isn't sacred, not in all cases. 200 years ago your mother would have already passed away from other causes, treating her illness only prolongs her suffering and delays the inevitable, and as terrible as it is to think of, all of the pain, suffering, and anguish will only be relieved by her passing. law makers will never sponsor bills to allow families to do the right thing for their loved ones, because (usually) christian churches make lots of noise to the contrary (and spend lots of money).
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#5896850 - 10/31/11 12:25 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Adam G]
240sx805 Offline
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My grandmother went through something very very similar. It is incredibly hard on the family to work with someone who is basically just a shell of the person they once knew. When my grandma passed, the family basically decided to not have funeral because she had been gone for many years prior to her death.
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#5896853 - 10/31/11 12:26 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: 96lapis coupe]
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Damn man, sorry to hear. I can't imagine being in your position, or your father's for that matter. As stated above, I hope she finds peace soon. \:\(
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#5896854 - 10/31/11 12:27 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: M]
scootergeek Offline
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 Originally Posted By: M
 Originally Posted By: Philabong
Sactity of Life means that life (a live body) must be kept alive at all costs, regardless of the quality of life being led or the wishes of the person whose life it is.

So yeah, I'd say they're mutually exclusive.


If that's the definition we're working off then I don't believe in the sanctity of life.


Yep. I feel sorry for your mom's situation, Adam.
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#5896855 - 10/31/11 12:27 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: 240sx805]
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That sounds awful. I know I'd seen you mention the situation before but did not realize it was this dire. \:\(

Your poll is tough for me to answer. I would generally agree with the second option - that I believe in the sanctity of human life and am not religious. But, IMO, there is more to life (and to human life, in particular) than taking breaths, having a heartbeat, or having detectable electrical activity in the brain. Your mother, as you have described, is not living. All that is really left is a shell.

I don't really know what the answer is, but I would agree that this type of situation would be an appropriate one for finding some other means for ending her suffering.

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#5896867 - 10/31/11 12:30 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: M]
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We're currently watching my grandfather wither away due to dementia.

My dad told me that if he gets like that, to shoot him.
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#5896871 - 10/31/11 12:31 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: 240sx805]
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Sorry to hear it adam \:\(
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#5896873 - 10/31/11 12:31 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Philabong]
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 Originally Posted By: Philabong
Sactity of Life means that life (a live body) must be kept alive at all costs, regardless of the quality of life being led or the wishes of the person whose life it is.

So yeah, I'd say they're mutually exclusive.

please don't troll here.


I wonder if the member who just had his wife pass from Huntingtons will share his thoughts.

I kinda feel like the soul is something bound to a body. Once that body starts to go the soul can be trapped there. That is why you see so much frustration and sadness when they cannot communicate with their loved ones or when they can't maintain a basic standard of living.


Edited by ednksu (10/31/11 12:38 PM)
Edit Reason: correct condition, apologies
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#5896880 - 10/31/11 12:33 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: EDNKSU]
Adam G Offline
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 Originally Posted By: ednksu
I wonder if the member who just had his wife pass from Parkinson's will share his thoughts.

It was Huntington's Disease. My cousin's husband has that. Symptoms haven't really set in yet, but that's a brutal way to die too.
 Quote:
I kinda feel like the soul is something bound to a body. Once that body starts to go the soul can be trapped there. That is why you see so much frustration and sadness when they cannot communicate with their loved ones or when they can't maintain a basic standard of living.

That's basically what's happening.

Thanks for the kind words, all.

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#5896892 - 10/31/11 12:36 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: EDNKSU]
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I don't. I also work in the cancer field and see people suffering on a daily basis.
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#5897095 - 10/31/11 01:33 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: JuliesmkVI]
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Tuesday With Morrie is a great read, given the subject matter.

I believe in the sanctity of a human life and I would like to allow people every opportunity to survive and live. However, there are breaking points and at that point I feel that people should be allowed to pass with dignity.

Modern medicine can extend life to a point where its no longer in the patients best interest.

One of the worst things watching my Grandfather suffer were the flashes of lucid thought that would pop out of the haze. In one moment we are trying to restrain him from throwing furniture out the window because his bunk is on fire (I think this was a WWII flashback) and in the next instant he is asking me if I think having his old Chevy Celebrity would help me.

How do we know when the end is the end for them?

I really hope your mom finds peace soon Adam \:\(
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#5897107 - 10/31/11 01:36 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: EDNKSU]
Philabong Offline
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 Originally Posted By: ednksu
 Originally Posted By: Philabong
Sactity of Life means that life (a live body) must be kept alive at all costs, regardless of the quality of life being led or the wishes of the person whose life it is.

So yeah, I'd say they're mutually exclusive.

please don't troll here.


I wonder if the member who just had his wife pass from Huntingtons will share his thoughts.

I kinda feel like the soul is something bound to a body. Once that body starts to go the soul can be trapped there. That is why you see so much frustration and sadness when they cannot communicate with their loved ones or when they can't maintain a basic standard of living.


How would you define it?

This is the meaning I've gleaned from any "Sanctity of Life" argument I've ever heard.
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#5897164 - 10/31/11 01:50 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Philabong]
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My condolences to you and your family Adam.

I don't believe in the rigid definition of the sanctity of human life. Not letting someone die who is obviously suffering and has no chance of recovery seems closer to torture than to anything holy. People who have a terminal illness should be allowed to die peacefully and with dignity.

If you have a dog and it's in pain, suffering from a terminal disease, you put it to sleep. You do that because you don't want it to suffer. You don't want it to live at the mercy of its disease and of your inability to let go. If only humans were granted such reverence.
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#5897201 - 10/31/11 01:59 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Platinum Tex]
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Wow, I was just about to make a *very* similar post. My wife's grandmother is in the final stages of lung cancer. She is confined a bed in her living room, with loved ones and Hospice taking care of her. She is by all rights dead to this world, however her and her family have to watch her starve to death in order to escape this cruel punishment. This was a good woman (she did not smoke, for anyone thinking this is somehow self-inflicted) who does not deserve this end. I wish for nothing more than mercy for her and the family, as it is tearing everyone apart right now. Why do we allow people - when no positive outcome is remotely possible - to suffer until the end. She is on high dosages of morphine, but even then you can't tell me she is any form of "happy" or "content" to die this way. It's sickening to me.

For anyone who wants to know what I truly think is the right way, look up "Brompton Cocktail" by Avenged Sevenfold. I believe we as humans have a right to choose our time, that no divine intervention does so for us, and we are allowed to go out on our own terms. Now, I am not advocating suicide by any means, but this (and Jimmy Sullivan of A7X) is far from suicide, or "quitting." It's an escape from a life of pain and suffering.

Todd
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#5897215 - 10/31/11 02:05 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: ElectronVTEC2]
Colon_Cleaner Offline
Poster


Registered: 09/27/11
Posts: 248
I just don't see how anyone arguing from a Benthamite utility perspective can not agree with you, or from a Kantian autonomy/dignity perspective could not agree with you.
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#5897224 - 10/31/11 02:09 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Colon_Cleaner]
Dope! Offline
Major Member


Registered: 01/30/11
Posts: 1346
No way to have the nursing home give her some morphine for the "pain"?
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#5897225 - 10/31/11 02:10 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Platinum Tex]
NOHC Offline
Post Master Supreme


Registered: 09/18/01
Posts: 39093
Loc: Lebanon, Virginia
Damn Adam, that's rough...I know, I went through it with my paternal grandmother, there were days when she wouldn't recognize any of us, and those little bits & shards of what she used to be, and what she could remember, just seemed to depress us even more, because they were so few and far between. Maybe it was just me being selfish, wanting grandma back, but at the same time, it literally drove us all just as mad as she had been to see her like that.

That being said...I wouldn't want to live like that...but at the same time, I'm a gigantic wussy, and scared of dying. I guess you could say I believe in the sanctity of my own life...keep me alive at all costs. I'm just not strong enough to make that choice for myself, but for a loved one, maybe I'd leave it up to someone with bigger balls than me, ask for input, advice, whatever...
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-Mike-
***Ask me about your broken 360/PS3***

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#5897252 - 10/31/11 02:22 PM Re: Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? v. poll [Re: Dope!]
Brainded Offline
Post Master Supreme


Registered: 12/08/03
Posts: 25256
Loc: Back in Sunny S.FL
 Originally Posted By: Dope!
No way to have the nursing home give her some morphine for the "pain"?

It's usually not physical pain, so not much can be done..

Alzheimer's disease is probably one of the worst people can get in terms of common diseases.. It's torture to everyone, including the patient..

I don't think we should be able to kill them though..
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