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Every morning I have been seeing this crap on the front page!! the front f&^king page! I didnt think there was anything else to fuel the fire that is my disgust and astonishment at Bush but alas, I have. This really is a sad case, sad and ridiculous at the same time. I really liked what you wrote and that jimmy luxury song.


We were just discussing this today at the office. We decided the best way to keep the government out of our personal lives was to make living wills mandatory. To me it comes down to quality of life. If you would not let your dog or cat live like that why would you let your son/daughter/wife/husband/mom/dad?

Plus I think all the media hype is trying to distract us from other doings in the world. For example drilling in the artic or the Minnisota school shooting.

amy in bc

I don't know how I feel about this case... For the past 20 years I have worked with the disabled (mentally, physically and sometimes both.) I have worked with individuals who function on a very 'high' level as well as those who are very 'low' functioning.

I can understand how many refuse to draw the line and decide who lives or dies as it is all so relative. I have had clients I work with that are to our standards 'barely functioning' who I have truly enjoyed meeting and working with, who warmed my heart and made me love what I do.. And others that I wondered the point.

I DO believe in living wills and unfortunately this woman did not have one. She supposedly made her wishes clear to her then husband. The sympathetic softie side of my sits with her mother and sister. If they want her alive and are so willing to fight why all the struggle? The husband has clearly moved on with his life, perhaps he should divorce her and let the family do what they will.

Of course this brings up the families motivations, how much it costs society to keep this woman alive, and all the rest.

I am thankful I do not have to make this decision. But the bleeding heart part of me thinks that if her family is so willing to fight for her life she should live. And does society really have the right to starve a person to death?

(and yes, I am Pro Choice!!)

amy in bc

BTW I think your idea is an excellent one. In addition, one should check a box regarding organ donation. What an organized death it would be...


This case infuriates me to no end...I shake with rage when I read how the politicians are behaving and hear what they are saying. I've wanted to write a post about it, but there are just too many things to cover!
This is PERSONAL. Cases like this are happening Every.Single.Day. It is awful that it has torn this family apart, just tragedy upon tragedy.
BUT IT IS NONE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S BUSINESS! For most (not all) Republicans to swoop in for a Sunday night emergency meeting, for Bush to come racing back from his regular business...to make an exception for ONE CASE among countless thousands...
I want to scream. Thank you for writing about it.


My grandmother got to die peacefully with morphine last month because she was a strong advocate of the living will and had made it very clear to her children that she wanted no heroic measures.


Sorry...guess I should have written my own post! One more thing...
The unbelievable hypocritical nature of some "Christians" makes me want to VOMIT. Apparently it's okay to pick and choose when medical intervention is allowed and not allowed. Allowed to keep a woman in a persistant vegetative state, but NOT allowed to save a mother's life. They are trying to force-feed bread to a woman who CANNOT SWALLOW.
Yeah. Go bid on a grilled cheese sandwhich or something and keep your opinions out of the fucking legislature.


You must have awesome dinner conversations! Can I come over?
Very well said...


Since I'm from Florida, we've had this case in the news for what seems like forever. It is scary that it has come to this. I honestly have no idea where I stand. We've heard all kinds of stories over the years from both sides. Who to believe?

Husband and his lawyer/doctors:
-She's in a vegetative state. She did not want to remain alive via artificial means.

Parents and their lawyers/doctors/nurses:
-She's not in a vegetative state - she swallows juice via a wash cloth and jello - and enjoyed both. She has said 'mommy help', she is visibly happy when she sits by her hospital window,...etc., etc.

The stories go on and on, from both sides. Most of what we've heard before this went national were accusations against the husband. (He wanted the money, refused to give her proper care, and has even been accused of injecting insulin into her IV, on and on.)

What I can't believe is that the F'g President has gotten involved. And Congress. And the Governor. And Patricia Heaton (you know, from Everybody Loves Raymond, Charlie's favorite show. Ha.) Yes, she was on Entertainment Tonight or some similar show talking about this case. It truly is crazy. I feel for everyone in this situation and honestly, I don't think anyone can know the truth at this point.

If nothing else, hopefully this pushes people to make their wishes known before anything this tragic happens to them. (FYI, Charlie, I love the form attached to the state tax return idea, but some of us don't have state income tax ;-). Maybe in our case, we make people decide when getting a driver's license, like we do with organ donation?)

Regardless, I really would like to NOT see this case on the front page EVERY DAY.


Wow, sorry that was so long! Maybe I should take Sarah's suggestion and do it on my own blog and not hijack yours!! ;-)


Yes it is a personal issue. But the parents of Terri Shiavo have REQUESTED intervention from many different sources....I believe that is why the government is getting involved. I have never had a problem with assisted suicide...if the person wants do die, go for it, ease thier suffering. THe problem I have with this case is that we don't KNOW what Terri herself wants. All we have to go on is her husband's word against her parent's word. That is why this case is so horrible and divisive. Because she had no living will.

Anyway it looks like the whole issue is moot now anyway. The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case, and unless Gov. Bush succeeds in getting custody of Terri turned over to the state, it's a done deal.


I believe she has the right to die. I believe everyone has the right to refuse "heroic" measures if they want. My problem is that by pulling the feeding tube she is starving to death over the next few days. I feel that is a bit inhumane. There has to be a better way to go about this . . . . but we have to figure out if we are able to pull the tube/plug first.


So, I have felt really passionate about this case-since five years ago!! Love that it is the "big thing" today but this has been going on for 17 years-and it just bums me out that when one of our congressman would like to create a nice little diversion ((bang)) poor Terri's face is all over the news. I belive that Terri's husband knew what was best for her-She gave him the right to make that decision when she wed him. Furthermore, Terri had a severe eating disorder-I am pretty sure she wouldn't want images of her "vegitative" self all over the news. Finally, I agree with all the points you made and think we should push this income tax/what to do with my non-functioning brain and body idea-brilliant. Oh yeah-and give the girl a fatal dose of morphine instead of pulling that tube for god's sakes!


You questioned"
"When did the Republicans stop being the party of personal responsibility and small government and start being my nosey Aunt Ethel?"
I believe the answer is truely somewhere back in the McCarthy era, however they've been really working hard at it ever since September 11th and pretending its all anti-terrorism efforts. Communists, terrorist - same thing different name.
You knew that though, didn't you; because you really are quite clever.


What's been bothering me today (mostly) is what kind of "connections" do the Schindler's have that this case has gotten as far as it has? This is not the first time the husband and the parents haven't agreed on a case like this and it has always been solved in the courts before. That leads me to think there's something nefarious going on elsewhere that's pushed this single case into the limelight and that bugs.

I mean, seriously, every single judge in 15 years has ruled for the husband. Every. Single. Judge. Why is this still being litigated and why haven't the parents been tried for contempt??


Well, I originally came over to say how much I enjoyed reading your poetry, to which Cecily posted links on her blog.

But then I read this topic.

I'm just so glad that this whole thing will soon be over. I can't believe what some of these crazy politicians are doing. The case has been to Courts - you name the Court, it's been there. Allegations of abuse have obviously not been substantiated to any judge's liking. Allegations of her not being in the PVS state have obviously not been substantiated to any judge's liking. This case has gone through the proper hoops, and been adjudicated properly, according to the reviewing standards of the courts.

So why is Gov. Bush trying to take custody of this woman??

amy in bc

Emily you said it best. Why the hell is this woman STARVING to death. When we put down our pets they get better care. Give this woman a BIG dose of morphine and lets be HUMANE about it.

Maura in VA

But the bleeding heart part of me thinks that if her family is so willing to fight for her life she should live. And does society really have the right to starve a person to death?

Charlie, great post. I hope you won't mind me responding to one of your commenters as well as to you!

One of the (MANY) things about this case that makes my head nearly explode is the continual repeating in the media of the suggestion that, "If her family wants to care for her, why doesn't Michael just divorce her and move on?" What's even worse is when these bastards jump in and imply that because Michael has found love with another woman, he doesn't "count" as her husband any more.

If Michael didn't give a shit and just wanted to be rid of his wife, he could just have gotten a divorce and walked away long ago. All of this fighting, these years of torturous allegations and horrible media attention, have been because he loved his wife so much that his ultimate expression of this love was to protect her and stand up for her wish to die in this case. If I'm ever lucky enough to find love and get married, and I'm then unlucky enough to find myself in a PVS, I surely would want my husband to (after an appropriate time of grieving) find love again and maybe even have children. But if my parents jumped in and forced my body to be kept alive despite my express wishes to my husband that I wouldn't want that, I sure do hope that he'd stick around and stand up for me as my next of kin. Michael Schiavo has done that, for years and years. That's love in my book.

As for the starving -- I hate the distortions of reality implicit in the use of that word. Schiavo will not "starve to death" in the usual sense of the term -- suffering for months and months, growing emaciated and then skeletal, etc. from lack of nutrition. Her death will be much quicker since the removal of hydration will likely result in organ failure any day now. There are more aggressive forms of actively bringing about death, but the removal of nutrition and hydration is typically not considered active euthanasia - it's simply removal of life support.


Love the idea of attaching the living will to the tax documents every year. Firstly, it would force folks to fill it out. Secondly, it would force folks to discuss the issue with their loved ones. Thirdly, it would give you a chance to review the info every year should you change your mind!

I won't even go into my rant about the whole situation. Amy in bc summed it up for me - We treat our pets that are to die much more humanely and dignified than we treat humans who are about to die. UGH.

Now maybe I'll go into my rant on my own blog, lol.



Thanks for all your comments, and for your support of the "check this box on your tax return" living-will idea. Perhaps it's time we all send emails to our State Senators or Congressmen on the subject.


Your premise on why, "More of Us, Fewer of Them" actually holds a lot of water, although I think the application in this case is a stretch. In that it strengthens the "culture of life" facade that is being pushed down the throat - could someone please remove the Christian right feeding tube from the main stream media - I think you have gone straight into the heart of darkness of our leaders. Last April my mouth dropped when I heard Midge Decter (biographer of Donald Rumsfeld) on C-Span talk about the reproduction imbalance between the Christian world and the Muslim world. I just checked and the video is still available on www.cspan.org, just do a video search on her name. If you want to spare yourself the sheer disgust over this woman's vicious hatred jump to the 45 minute point of the video.

I am having serious issues with these protesters. Back in 1999, my grandmother was in hospice and I sat by her bedside for a week and a half until she passed. Undoubtedly, it was the most emotionally gut wrenching time in my life. I basically lived at the hospital, leaving only to sleep, shower and grieve (which was usually crying my eyes out in the shower). I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like for the other families with loved ones in that hospice to face that crowd of protesters.

amy in bc

" Her death will be much quicker since the removal of hydration will likely result in organ failure any day now."

Yeah, as her parent that would bring me great comfort.. (Sorry, would have written you personally Maura but you didn't leave a real address. And when quoting someone you might want to quote the whole gist of the comment rather than the first line.)

As a parent I would prefer my child to die of a morphine overdose than starvation given the circumstances. And right or wrong I can see her parents perspective. Not what I would choose for one of my kids in a similar situation, but as a mother but I can understand their perspective, and pain.

Fine, it has been decided she will die. Can we be HUMANE about it already?

And the news keeps coming, even up here in Canada.. "Terri is hours from death", sigh.


The problem with asking someone not in that state, is that they can't predict what they would want. And obviously you can't ask someone in that state because they can't answer. There is a phenomena called "bargaining down." ALS (Lou Gherig's disease) patients often go through this. They will, for instance, say, when i can't feed myself, I want to die, but that time will come when they can't feed themself and they change their tune, it then becomes, when they can't swallow and then when they can't swallow they will bargain down again.

The point is that a healthy person may think they know what they want, but at the end, most people want as much as they can get.


"So in a sense, they too are in a persistent vegetative state, at least emotionally."

I have to tell you, this phrase has been in my head ALL WEEKEND. What a perfect way to describe where the parents seem to be.

Like you said, it would seem that after awhile (a decade!) that hope for improvement would diminish. I can understand from a parent's point of view that it would be very difficult to let go of that hope.

I just find it so very sad that Terri seemed to become a pawn in a huge power struggle between her husband and her parents.

Thanks for all your great and thought-provoking writing.


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