My Living Will
Note: Inspired by the Terri Schiavo situation, I rewrote the basic template for a living will from one that was emailed to me by a reader, R (thanks!). This was then nominated for a 2005 Koufax Award for "Most Humorous Individual Post".
Date: 2 April 2005
Living Will of GrrlScientist, (also known as Hedwig the Owl in some parts of the blogosphere), [address elided], NY, NY, 10024.
I, GrrlScientist (also known as Hedwig the Owl), being of sound mind and body, unequivocally and publically declare that in the event of a catastrophic injury or terminal illness, I do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. I hereby instruct my friends and loved ones to remove all life support systems once it has been determined that my brain is no longer functioning in a cognizant manner and there is no hope of me living again as a fully conscious human being. However, that judgment should be made only after thorough consultation with medical experts; i.e., individuals who actually have been trained, certified and have worked as medical doctors.
Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerheaded politicians who couldn’t pass ninth grade biology if their lives depended on it. Furthermore, it is my hope that, when the time comes, any discussions about terminating my medical treatment should remain private and confidential.
However, I am acutely aware that the legislative and executive branches of federal and state governments have become fond of meddling in family matters in this country, with little concern for the privacy and dignity of individuals. Therefore, I wish to make my views on this subject as clear and unambiguous as possible. Recognizing that some politicians are cerebrally challenged themselves (but with no medical excuse for it), I’ll try to keep this simple and to the point:
1. While remaining sensitive to the feelings of my friends and loved ones who might cling to hope for my recovery, let me state that if a reasonable amount of time passes, say, 6 (six) months, and I fail to sit up and ask for a cold microbrew beer and a steaming plate of nachos with extra cheese and sour cream, guacamole, jalapenos and hot salsa, it should be presumed that I won’t ever get better. When such a determination is reached by 5 qualified medical doctors who have thoroughly examined me for several days and on more than one occasion (and not by some erstwhile doctor-politician watching me on a video while eating popcorn and sitting in his snuggly chair in Washington, DC), I do hereby instruct my spouse or lover (if I should ever find one), friends and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.
2. Under no circumstances shall the members of the White House, or federal or state legislatures enact a special law to keep me on life support equipment. It is my expressed wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business by actually doing something to improve the health, education and welfare of Americans who aren’t yet in a persistent vegetative state.
3. Under no circumstances shall the governor of Florida butt in to this case and order my doctors to put a feeding tube down my throat, even if it is used to pour beer and liquified nachos into my stomach every day. I don’t care how many fundamentalist votes he’s trying to scrounge for himself, his brother or his cronies for 2006 and 2008, it is my wish that he plays politics with someone else’s life and leaves me to die in peace.
4. I don’t care if a hundred thousand religious zealots send snailmails and emails to legislators, pretending to care about me. I don’t know these people and I certainly haven’t authorized them to preach or crusade on my behalf. I am minding my own business and they should mind their own.
5. It is my heartfelt wish to expire quietly and in the presence of my friends and lover/spouse (again, if I should ever find one), without becoming a public spectacle. This is obviously impossible once elected officials become involved. So, while recognizing the wrenching emotions that attend the prolonged death of a loved one, I hereby instruct my friends and loved ones to settle all disagreements about my care in private or in the courts, as provided by law. If any of my friends or loved ones goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence into a living hell on earth filled with perpetual, unrelenting unemployment, punctuated with the occasional shit job to keep the rent paid (barely).
Signed: GrrlScientist (otherwise known as Hedwig the Owl)
Witness 1 ______ (insert name and address)
Witness 2 ______ (insert name and address)
© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist