|IN THE COURTYARD AND INSIDE THE NOGUCHI MUSEUM|
I’ve been in NYC the past week and my time has been rich, fruitful, and jam-packed.
It’s also been a bit overshadowed by the visit I paid to the probate attorney the day before I left, which was also jam-packed but not in a fun way. (Not that NY has exactly been “fun” either–is anything, ever?–but that’s a different discussion).
Like perhaps most of us, “admin” is not my favorite activity. But I’ve been trying hard to remember to be insanely grateful that I have anything, of any kind, TO administer.
To that end, I looked up the etymology and found: “late 14c., aministren, later administren, “to manage as a steward, control or regulate on behalf of others,” from Old French aministrer “help, aid, be of service to” (12c., Modern French administrer).”
Note: on behalf of others. So let me try to administer with patience and love.
Anyway, one of documents the attorney gave me was a sheet with six different situations, each more outlandish, hypothesizing gruesome medical situations, that just COULD come to pass.
Then you’re supposed to choose which of about fifteen different medial treatments you’d want, or not want: thorny decisions that I am hardly in a position to make even now, in full possession of my faculties.
“If I am in a coma or persistent vegetative state and have no known hope of recovering awareness or higher mental functions: I want OR I do not want: Minor surgery: for example, removing part of an infected toe.”
I mean just try to wrap your mind around that. First, I thought, well for heaven’s sake, no, at that point it’s a little late to be worry about an infected toe. But then again, you don’t just want to be lying there like a big hunk of gangrene. What if it were an infected leg? Or torso? Does a person feel pain in a vegetative state? On some level does he or she still want to “look nice?”
Situation B: “If I am in a coma and have a small but uncertain chance of regaining awareness and higher mental functioning: I want OR I do not want Chemotherapy: Drugs to fight cancer.”
Well let’s see. If I were in a coma, I probably wouldn’t care all that much that I also had cancer. But what if I miraculously “came to,” only to realize that if I had made the “right” decision, I wouldn’t now have Stage 4 melanoma or whatever!?
Sitaution E: “I have an incurable chronic illness that causes physical suffering or minor mental disability and will ultimately cause death, and then I develop a life-threatening but reversible illness: I want OR I do not want Pain Medications: even if they dull consciousness and indirectly shorten my life.”
I mean at that point I would want a quart of gin and/or a gun. Although in general I am for going through life (and death, for that matter) with as little pain medication as you can possibly muster. I like being awake, even though that means you’re awake to suffering.
Because suffering invites us to ask the right questions, to figure out what is truly important in this crazy world, and to live accordingly.
And did you get
what you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on this earth.
|SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK