|a tall glass of shut the fuck up...
||[Mar. 19th, 2005|02:37 pm]
|||||moe. - Y.O.Y.||]|
Despite my best efforts to ignore trivial and frustrating news stories, it seems the tale of a feeding tube in Florida is too important for America to avoid.
The problem here is that America is up to the same impassioned frenzy over bullshit agendas. We are talking about a tubular form of plastic that delivers medical slush to an invalid. This story conveniently draws the attention away from important matters such as the environment and America’s military machine.
But since we’re already talking about it…
A feeding tube is an intravenous line attached to a tube that is wrapped around an asymmetrical cog. At regular intervals, the cog turns and forces precious sustenance down the line and into the dying patient.
I like to take a pragmatic approach to these kinds of matters. Let’s look at the benefits of prolonging the magic of life via a feeding tube. I’d be hard-pressed to find one beyond fulfilling the interests of the family members to keep a loved one alive.
How about the negatives? Feeding tubes prolong an already difficult road to death. They enable a person, who is naturally dying, to continue to live. If every dying person were on a feeding tube, it would take a tremendous amount of energy to keep them alive and I sincerely doubt they would have much to gain from the endeavor.
It is no surprise that my position is to leave the family alone. Let them kill their wasted-away relative in peace, America. Don’t come around the hospice with “life” taped over your lips to torment an already grieving family. That is cruel and hateful and awfully familiar to me.
You see when my grandfather was dying of Alzheimer’s disease, he entered a care facility and had a feeding tube inserted. They tube was the only thing standing between his ultimate peaceful rest. Bed sores and complete incoherence filled his days. It was not really a situation worth living for. My grandmother wrestled with letting him go. It was an extremely difficult decision for her. She didn’t want to let the love of her life go. After much loving counsel from her four children, she finally agreed to have the tube pulled. It was a dignified act. It was right. In nature’s book, he was already gone.
At the funeral, all of the family turned out to honor Granddad. Clearly, Grandmom was suffering and needed a lot of support from her family. We all sat in the temple for a brief service followed by speeches to remember my grandfather. My mother spoke of his adoration for her. My father about the kind of character Granddad had. All of it was very appropriate. Then came Alan’s turn to speak.
Alan is an orthodox Jew. He joined one of those ultra conservative cult-like movements akin to the kind of religious fundamentalism that afflicts millions of Americans. The tragedy of this affliction is an inability to love those standing right before you when they need it most. Alan got up, cleared his throat, and proceeded to condemn the family for making a difficult decision. He said that the Torah commands that we preserve life at all costs. That is his interpretation. He said that we should be ashamed for disobeying this holy commandment.
I made the mistake of listening intently to his words. I care what people say, and when they take the time to speak to me, if I am not already engaged in something else, I listen. Nobody else listened to Alan. Well, except for my uncle who looked as if he wanted to strangle him. Uncle Gary booted Alan off the stage before Grandmom realized what was happening.
But something deep inside me ached when he spoke. It had nothing to do with religion. It was the penetrating sorrow of hate. I could feel the hate in this person too wrapped up in a ritual to love those bleeding at his feet. And, in Alan’s damning speech, I heard the voice of terrorists and murderers. I felt the sorrow rush back—the same sorrow I felt when I visited New York two months after the attack. His was an act of the fanatic. It was irrational. Who could sin so much to abandon the broken soul of an old lady who just let her life companion go? Is that not a greater evil than pulling some trivial man-made contraption from an already dead man?
Sitting there in the temple, I began to sob uncontrollably. It was subtle at first, but then built to an overwhelming intensity. It was the overwhelming defeat of looking hate directly in the face. As my family watched me walk out with the procession, they assumed I was crying for Granddad. Given my distant relationship with him, it probably seemed disproportionate yet touching. It took a full forty-five minutes to compose myself, but I’ve never forgotten the feeling.
So I really wish that people would just let these Floridians be. I haven’t taken the time to learn the victim’s name because I don’t think it is America’s business. America needs a reality check. Let the goddamn woman die. She’s already past due. Leave her family alone. And please, for the love of God, turn your attention to some more pressing matters for a change and open up a little.
The News Story…