Freudian Slips: The Case of Terri Schiavo

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

March 21, 2005

The Case of Terri Schiavo

Where There is a Will There is a Way
Space is not the final frontier. I believe science is the final frontier. I am convinced that the longer we inhabit this planet, the more complicated life becomes. A nation seems divided on the Terri Schiavo's case. It is gonna take a whole lot of love to get this thing right. At the heart of the matter, is a right to die issue but in this case it is her proxie's interpretation of her right to die in her stead. Another problem is our fleeting existence on this planet. Human beings are not reliable informants on what embodies life or what constitutes the right to die. Our embryonic beginning cannot attest to life's commencement and our last breath cannot punctuate the mystery of death. The right to die has become as much of a question as the timeless controversary over when life actually begins. We still haven't settled that score. In our ire, we bomb abortion clinics over the pro choice vs. pro life battle. There is almost as much fallout from the Terri Schiavo case. This case has divided a family, sparked the nation into water-cooler to religious debate, and will now force the gaveled hand of judicial power.
I have asked myself, would I be able to remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube if I were her assigned nurse? Negative. Nope. Nada. Not any more than taking employment as an executioner during the French Revolution. Some argue that without man's interference Terry Schiavo was last alive 15 years ago. I am not sure what conclusively constitutes life, a vegative state, or death myself. I have had visitors to my place of employment question why my developmentally disabled clients are being kept alive. One such visitor surveyed the room full of non-ambulatory, non-verbal, medically frail people. He offered up a quick dismissal.
"What an absolute waste of human resources." he commented.
"Consider yourself fortunate." I told that same auditor of life. But I wasted my breath, the same indictment he rendered life on any other planet but his own.
Just because roses cannot be kept in constant bloom doesn't mean you stop watering the rose bush. The reason I work with this clientele is because people who love them can keep them alive. Love needs no affidavit any more than the end of life deserves a subpoena to remove a feeding tube or a judge's landmark order not to reinsert it. People experience life on different levels of existence. We can put a man on the moon and probes in the far reaches of space but humans with all their extraordinary science still can't agree on when life begins and if or when life should end. There is a sad irony and poor commentary on life, in court-ordering the removal of a feeding tube from Terri Schiavo who suffered from an eating disorder. Sustenance and breath are the umbilical cords of life but so is personal choice. Maybe humans were never meant to be in a position to meddle with those things or maybe since science and technology can manipulate life and death we ought to continue to tinker. I do not know if we should. I only know we will because that is the conquistador nature of human beings. One other thing is for sure. One of these days in the not so distant future, I will get around to drawing up a Living Will. Live or die, Terri Schiavo can teach us all that lesson.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe, if one is afraid that they will be kept alive and in a persistent state of vegetation, these people must draw up a living will that specifies their wishes. Otherwise, they will be at the mercy of whomever! Hopefully, not at the mercy of the "Man." The Feds should keep out of the state's business. As for myself, don't keep me alive if I'm in a vegetable state with no hope of revival. Post by ET

12:21 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

This is a tough one. Frankly if it were a loved one of mine, I don't know what I'd do. HOWEVER if it were me on the other end, I'd hope that my family would let me go. I know I would not want to exist in such a state.

What I do know, is that the feds should keep the hell out of this matter.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

I think you already made your intentions known to us.

Let's hope that road is not transversed. worst case scenario, you go on your own terms, I take over your blog.

9:14 PM  
Blogger justrose said...

This is a very sensitive and compassionate view on this that makes me think.

Ethics are fun until someone's life is hanging in the balance. Then we pit dogma against technology. If it were me lying there, I'd want to go, but the most unnatural thing of all is having to make a decision like this in the first place.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

I don't want my intentions left to interpretation. In the Will I may even identify who should take over my Blog.

10:33 AM  

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