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View Full Version : You are paralyzed from the neck down. Now what?


Cartooniverse
05-20-2007, 12:26 PM
A friend of mine fell down the basement steps on Friday and landed with her head jammed against the wall opposite the bottom of the steps. She already had spinal stenosis in the cervical area. She lay there for 2 1/2 hours until she was found. She's about 50.

She is currently paralyzed from the neck down. Breathing on her own, but otherwise has but a tiny bit of movement in one foot. She feels nothing. The spinal cord was not severed but was crushed by the angle of her head/neck/spine from the fall, and the pressure from the angle of her body when settled.

It's quite frightening. Long-term no neurologist would dare predict right now what will happen to her. She may wel regain quite a bit of mobility and sensation, or this may be it due to damage to the spinal cord. She has zero mental defecit as a result, she is fine in that regard.

I hope she gains back most if not all mobility and is able to care for herself but the one neurologist who spoke to her ( recently EX ) husband was quite grim as to what he felt was the outcome- little if any improvement in the coming year.

I would go insane. Once it was quite clear that I would not be making any meaningful progress, I would petition the court to remove all responsibility from the hospital and starve myself to death. It is the stuff of made for t.v. movies to imagine that a friend or loved one would be willing to do life in jail for killing me just because I asked them to put me out of my misery. Were I the victim of this accident, I wouldn't ask that of anyone. Instead a lawyer and court would be involved and I'd be permitted to control my own destiny.

I don't know what will become of her, or what she will want to become of her existence. I do know that even a 10-15% recovery of sensation or motor skills would likely be useless because that 10-15% could well be random areas of movement or sensation that are useless in terms of mobility and quality of life.

I am not advocating euthanasia at all here, I am simply saying that I would not want to live with that kind of broken machine trapping a working mind.

Would you?

Cartooniverse

Khadaji
05-20-2007, 12:41 PM
I would prefer death to this existence. My heart goes out to your friend.

Frank
05-20-2007, 12:46 PM
Though my gut reaction is to say I'd rather die, there are people who chose to live in such a situation. So I have to say I dunno. If it ever happens to me, I can give you an answer then.

lavenderviolet
05-20-2007, 02:08 PM
I'm sorry to hear that your friend experienced such a tragic accident.

As for what I would want if that happened to me, I think it is impossible to know for sure how I would feel unless I was actually in the situation. Sometimes, you change your view of things once you've had a chance to cope and adjust to a difficult situation.
"Paralyzed from the neck down" doesn't mean the same thing in every situation. Someone who is injured at the first neck vertebra will end up like Christopher Reeve. Someone injured at the last neck vertebra (C7) will still be able to move their arms and be able to take care of a lot of their own needs without help.

Last year I attended a lecture given by two quadriplegic men about their lives and abilities.
One of the men had been injured at C3 and has absolutely no arm movement at all, yet is still running a business (using an adapted keyboard that he can control with his mouth), had gotten married and adopted some children. I think a lot of us would consider having a loving family reason enough to want to carry on living. During his talk, he was "pacing" around the lecture hall in his wheelchair (which he controlled by sipping and puffing on a control stick in his mouth). He was getting around quite well for someone who could only move his head.
The other man had been injured just two vertebrae lower (a C5 injury) and had enough arm movement to be able to drive a car by himself (that had been adapted for him to control it with his arms, of course).
I think when a lot of people picture life with quadriplegia, they think it would involve laying in bed at a nursing home. Of course nobody would want to live that way. Fortunately, the technology out there nowadays is helping people with spinal cord injuries become more independent. I definitely hope that your friend is able to have a good recovery and regain a lot of independence.

feppytweed
05-20-2007, 02:22 PM
My dad got injured at work about 10 years ago. He hurt his back near the middle, I'm not sure which vertebrae. His injury progressed from using a cane to now being in a wheelchair full-time. He's been confined to this wheelchair for about 5 years. After seeing how he takes it, all the stuff he goes through, and seeing how his condition affects those around him, I'd take a bullet the second I found out that the injury wasn't fixable. Sure, people can still lead a life after such an injury, and maybe they're happy, and maybe their loved ones are getting along just fine, but a physical blow like this would just take the life outta me.

Just the whole adaptation, constant concern over accessibility into places, medication, hospital visits, other people... it's just not worth it.

Having said that, I feel horrible for your friend. My best wishes to her recovery. Coping with injuries such as these can be difficult.

SnakesCatLady
05-20-2007, 02:35 PM
My best wishes going out to your friend.

My husband is a private duty nurse for a quadriplrgic patient. The patient can control his wheelchair by puffs of air, but that is about the only control he has over his life. Since his care is funded by workman's comp, his nurses are hired by an agency that is horrible; he can't even get a nurse he dislikes taken off the case. (He has reason to dislike her. She doesn't like baseball caps worn in the house, so she won't put one on him when he requests it. She's really bloomin' lazy and is always trying to come up with reasons to avoid taking him to his parents house on weekends - other than doctor's visits, it's the only time he gets out of his apartment. This person should not be a nurse.) He has gone so far as to refuse to eat for her; exercising what little control he has over his life.

I would not want to live in such a situation and my husband knows it. If I couldn't even turn the pages of a book or operate a mouse - please be sure to trip on those wires on your way out of the room.

Magiver
05-20-2007, 02:38 PM
If I were absolutely sure there was no chance of mobility I would be inclined to ask for the check.

lokij
05-20-2007, 03:36 PM
I don't know... I can't say for sure that any injury would render death an attractive alternative for me. Being Asatru, these words always come to mind when considering quality of life issues..

Not all sick men are utterly wretched:
Some are blessed with sons,
Some with friends,
some with riches,
Some with worthy works.

The halt can manage a horse,
the handless a flock,
The deaf be a doughty fighter,
To be blind is better than to burn on a pyre:
There is nothing the dead can do.

-The Havamal

I have kids, I have a good mind... even were I incapacited in the manner you describe, I think I would still manage to find something in life that would make it worth sticking around. Besides, medical science marches on... alive you have possibilities, dead you have none.

TimeWinder
05-20-2007, 04:03 PM
I'll go against the general consensus, too: I can't think of a situation other than unremitting terrible pain where I would prefer death to life -- and even in that case I would try extreme solutions to the pain first. Partly it would be the "they're constantly making strides in medicine" hope, but even if that wasn't available I can think of lots of ways I can be productive and useful even with only single-switch or limited-switch technology to access the outside world: heck, my life is pretty sedentary anyway.

You've heard this a lot, but again: my condolences on your friend.

phil417
05-20-2007, 05:24 PM
My prayers are with your friend. Please let her know that, even though her body isn't what it was, she still can think & reason.

Also, please let her know that there are therapies available now that weren't even considered possible 10 years ago. So who knows what might be available later this year, or next year, or a few years from now? Hope is wonderful.

alphaboi867
05-20-2007, 05:27 PM
If I could still comunicate I'd be begging nonstop for someone to kill me. :(

Napier
05-20-2007, 05:37 PM
What a terrible thing.

If it were me? I used to be sure I'd want to die, but now I think I'll be dead long enough as it is and I might prefer to see what I could make of the situation. I splend plenty of quality time not moving a limb now, reading and thinking and talking and so forth. Maybe that would be better than nothing. Since the choice is so one-sided, that is, since you can die any day but can never come back, there's a good reason to err on the side of postponing death.

Stephen Hawking has been an amazing leader in his field for decades. It is hard to know, but he seems to have an excellent life.

NinetyWt
05-20-2007, 05:39 PM
Personally, although it's impossible to know unless it happened, I believe I'd adapt. I could still do my consulting work with the proper 'helper' computer tools (such as the keyboard mentioned above). I have a loving family, too, and that would ease the burden.

Best wishes for your friend's recovery.

monstro
05-20-2007, 05:47 PM
I was just thinking about something...

If I were paralyzed from the neck down, I would be sad and miserable and would probably want to die.

However, if the doctors could take my head and place it in a life-sustaining container ala Futurama, I would be relieved and grateful. For some reason, it seems like I could cope with having no body. But having a body that doesn't work would be a nightmare.

Marienee
05-20-2007, 05:59 PM
The reasons most often given for wanting to die by people who become disabled has a lot more to do with the conditions in which they live than with the broken machine trapping the working mind. And the way they live is not an immutable law of nature; it's a series of social decisions. Great strides have been made; but greater strides remain to be made.

But there is a subtext to the conversation and it is the belief on the part of many of the non-disabled that people who are disabled are better off dead. And it is not limited to regular folks: the gap between how disabled people rate their own lives in terms of happiness and how their doctors and other health care professionals do is enough to frighten anybody, particularly since those values and beliefs on the part of the doctors affect their treatment decisions and the advice they give and the resources that are discussed with people who become disabled.

Anyone can become depressed and some people become suicidal for any number of reasons. When a physically healthy person becomes suicidal it's a four alarm fire, but when a quad does we call a lawyer to find out how we can help them do it -- it's regarded as a purely understandable and rational desire.

And it's just wrong. If you feel like stretching your mind on the subject, look up Ragged Edge or Not Dead Yet or read some of the stuff out there by Carol Gill and Harriet McBryde Johnson or Paul Longmore. You might be surprised.

alphaboi867
05-20-2007, 06:12 PM
...Anyone can become depressed and some people become suicidal for any number of reasons. When a physically healthy person becomes suicidal it's a four alarm fire, but when a quad does we call a lawyer to find out how we can help them do it -- it's regarded as a purely understandable and rational desire...

But is it always irrational to conclude that death is preferable to life?

FairyChatMom
05-20-2007, 06:22 PM
Much as I'd hate to continue as a burden on my loved ones, I can't say that I'd want to die. Maybe I'd make lemonade in the form of being a living science experiment. Why not let some researchers poke around and maybe learn something that could help someone else? <shrug>

Marienee
05-20-2007, 06:40 PM
But is it always irrational to conclude that death is preferable to life?

I don't know. But it isn't invariably rational. Larry McAfee thought it was, some twenty years ago. He petitioned a court in Georgia to allow him access to assisted suicide. To the public, this meant a man wanted to end his life because he was disabled. But his desire to die was directly related to the state's long-term care policies, which forced him to live in a nursing home. The folks at United Cerebral Palsy helped him find the resources to live independently and he decided he didn't want to die after all.

We applaud the "rationality" of the decision to die by a disabled person, all the while ignoring that it is often social decisions, not medical conditions, that create the unbearable life they wish to escape from.

jabiru
05-20-2007, 07:17 PM
My husband has just passed his 30 year anniversary as a quad and his biggest regret is that they saved his life the night of his accident. As his sole carer, I can definitely see his viewpoint.

Lionne
05-20-2007, 08:25 PM
I wouldn't be strong enough to continue living.
To me, life includes freedom. Freedom to move, to walk, to dance...these are some of the simplest. If these were taken away and I was in a prison of my body, I'd off myself as soon as possible.

Sapo
05-20-2007, 09:53 PM
With a loving wife and two young children, I would certainly prefer to live through a lifetime of suffering just to be there and see them thrive. Yes, I know that would change their lives, but not break them. Keep me around.

(oh, and I am insured for 10 times more than I could make on a lifetime of hard work. My death would mean total financial security for all of them. Still, I would want to live)

panache45
05-20-2007, 10:41 PM
Most people who go on living in that condition do it with a great deal of support from their loved ones, plus great insurance. I have no insurance and only one loved one. It would place a terrible burdon on him, and I'd have to do a great deal of soul-searching to decide what to do. I'd never want to be a burden to him, but I also wouldn't want him to feel responsible for my death. We've talked about this, and both agree that life isn't worth living without "quality." But if it actually happened, I have no idea what we would decide. But I know it would be our decision.

Cartooniverse
05-20-2007, 10:44 PM
We applaud the "rationality" of the decision to die by a disabled person, all the while ignoring that it is often social decisions, not medical conditions, that create the unbearable life they wish to escape from.

I wouldn't personally say I applaud the choice. I feel "respect" is a more accurate phrase. I would also disagree with your statement up here. It is not a social decision. If my friend does not experience a rather remarkable reversal of fortunes, she is a sentient aware being trapped in a skull whose bodily machine is now useless in all ways to her aside from being a working power plant. That will take a heavy toll on her, one I can barely imagine.

I say barely because in September of 2000 I fell off of a ladder and broke my back. By pure luck my spinal cord was not affected. I've lots of other bad after-effects but I can wiggle my toes and for that I am grateful. I know the toll of being in pain 24/7 without relief. I do not know the toll of what she is enduring. ( it doesn't involve pain right now, at least. ).

As I said in my OP, I suspect I might well go insane. However it robs the patient of quite a bit of self-determination to blame society instead of their medical condition as the influencing factor in their decision to live or die.

A quad has lost self-determination because they are physicall incapable of taking their own lives aside from starving to death and a forced feeding tube would stop even that action.

Again, it is not a social condition. The people we are discussing have lost everything below the neck. That is in all ways a medical condition and one that deserves its due.

jabiru, thank you for being that honest.

Captain Carrot
05-20-2007, 11:11 PM
With a loving wife and two young children, I would certainly prefer to live through a lifetime of suffering just to be there and see them thrive. Yes, I know that would change their lives, but not break them. Keep me around.
Seeing you like that might do them a lot more harm than knowing you're no longer in pain.

I probably wouldn't be able to survive it; my body is important to me, and not being able to control it would be catastrophic.

hawksgirl
05-20-2007, 11:14 PM
I like to think that I would learn to deal and live a decent life.

zagloba
05-21-2007, 12:47 AM
I don't know whether to recommend the film The Sea Inside (El Mar Adentro) or warn you away from it.

Sam I Am
05-21-2007, 01:15 AM
If I could communicate well in some form or another, I could still do my work, I could still guide my daughter through life, and I could still maintain the strong connection I have with my husband. It would take a huge amount of adjustment to accept my new situation, obviously, but seeing as how most of my strengths are in my brain, I think I would eventually adjust ok.

gladtobeblazed
05-21-2007, 01:28 AM
I wouldn't mind living with paralysis. I would get stoned all day and watch a lot of tv, read books, talk to friends, etc. It wouldn't be too bad especially if I had someone to help me. Then I could continue my hobby of learning mathematics. Of course you have to keep in mind that I'm a very lazy person and in general I don't move much anyways...

Nava
05-21-2007, 02:36 AM
I'd have to learn to type with my mouth, and the diapers would suck, but heck, so long as I can talk the ears off people's heads I'm fine.

Last year, Gramps had a stroke that affected mostly his right side but also the left. Doctors said we should start thinking about a wheelchair and didn't expect him to be able to use the right hand again. Now he can dance (not the twist, eh, slow and easy does it); he can write, button and unbutton with either hand... his fine motor control is better with the left, though. His neurologist says if he ever figures out what is it Gramps has, we should distill and sell it. He also once healed a broken neck in less than a month (being over 80yo).

My SiL's father has ALS. He can barely talk any more, or even swallow. Two weeks ago, someone made SiL a gift of fresh asparagus; Mom showed them how to cook them. They made the "miracle" of getting SiL'sDad to be able to eat the chopped up tips. Giving him more varied food than what he'd been receiving has prompted a partial recovery. Watching his 18mo grandson brings a smile to his face every time.

Nava
05-21-2007, 02:54 AM
zagloba, it's Mar adentro, without the El. Means "out at sea," as well as being literally translatable as "the sea inside". The title plays with the double meaning of being a sailor (someone who has the sea inside) and of the accident happening out at sea.

Jaochai
05-21-2007, 06:51 AM
Me, I'd live. I'm already pretty sedentary, and in any case you can go out right now and purchase a crude cybernetic interface that's mostly noninvasive.

The joys in my life have nothing to do with walking, or running, or skipping, or even touching, and have everything to do with imagining, creating, designing, composing, and sometimes eating. Plus, even if it takes me half an hour to set one note in Soundforge, well, I'd be quadrapalegic so people would instantly want to listen to it! Gotta look on the bright side of things.

As an aside note - considering that most Dopers definitely don't believe in life after death, it surprises me how few of them have a desire to live-at-all-cost, especially since I do and believe in it definitely.

Pushkin
05-21-2007, 07:59 AM
Sad story Cartooniverse, best wishes to your friend in her circumstances.

With a loving wife and two young children, I would certainly prefer to live through a lifetime of suffering just to be there and see them thrive. Yes, I know that would change their lives, but not break them. Keep me around

I know what you mean, even if it was from a wheelchair, I'd still want to watch my little girl growing up and hear her tell me what she's been up to day to day.

That's saying that knowing that it would be such a bloody hell to have a dead weight of a body needing someone else to clean it and the chances that I might die of something as stupid as a bed sore.

Someone my parents met in a pub in Cork told them, as he drank his large inheritance away, that he didn't care about his liver or the rest of his body, as long as his mind was in good shape. The damage the alcohol was probably doing to his brain didn't seem to worry him, and he did tell them a silly Dan Dare joke too.

scareyfaerie
05-21-2007, 08:02 AM
I think I could deal with it for a while but, having seen The Sea Inside, I think I'd want to be able to decide when I'd had enough and wanted to be put out of everyone's misery.

Kalhoun
05-21-2007, 08:12 AM
Anyone who caught Million Dollar Baby last night would probably side with the Right To Die mindset. I wouldn't want to go on. No way.

Shodan
05-21-2007, 09:24 AM
I wouldn't mind living with paralysis. I would get stoned all day and watch a lot of tv, read books, talk to friends, etc. It wouldn't be too bad especially if I had someone to help me.I think what a lot of people object to is the infantilization that often accompanies this.

"I want to get stoned. Roll me a joint."

"No, drugs are illegal. You can't have that."

"Turn on Jerry Springer."

"No, that will rot your brain."

"OK, I will read. Would you get me that book off the top shelf?"

"I'm on my break."

IYSWIM. It doesn't have to happen all the time to take the heart out of one.

A friend of ours lived like this for several years, or as long as she could stand it. Then she committed suicide by not eating.

I couldn't think of a reason to talk her out of it.

Regards,
Shodan

monstro
05-21-2007, 10:40 AM
I think what a lot of people object to is the infantilization that often accompanies this.

"I want to get stoned. Roll me a joint."

"No, drugs are illegal. You can't have that."

"Turn on Jerry Springer."

"No, that will rot your brain."

"OK, I will read. Would you get me that book off the top shelf?"

"I'm on my break."

IYSWIM. It doesn't have to happen all the time to take the heart out of one.

A friend of ours lived like this for several years, or as long as she could stand it. Then she committed suicide by not eating.

I couldn't think of a reason to talk her out of it.

Regards,
Shodan

That's why I would get a helper monkey.

Shodan
05-21-2007, 12:10 PM
That's why I would get a helper monkey.
Makes sense, but can you teach one to roll a joint? What if the trainer refuses to do so?

Regards,
Shodan

Cartooniverse
05-21-2007, 08:56 PM
As I said, I was not advocating hard for death. I was asking where folks stood. I hope she doesn't die unless she decides she wants to. Then I dunno what we will all do.

A friend mentioned Million Dollar Baby yesterday. My friend is not on a respirator, which would make her wish, were she to arrive at it, more complex.

sunacres
05-21-2007, 11:47 PM
I don't know whether to recommend the film The Sea Inside (El Mar Adentro) or warn you away from it.This film made it clear for me - help me die, please. For better or worse, my somatic experience is primary and essential for me. I'm sure there are plenty of people who can find fulfillment elsewhere, but I know that for me I either can't or don't want to.

I highly recommend the film, by the way, whatever your stripe.

MontyKReed
11-04-2010, 04:15 PM
Would you want to die? or do whatever it takes to walk again? I had to think long an hard about it. I had been an Army Ranger jumping out of perfectly good airplanes just to get to work.
When my parachute failed things changed.
The doctors told me I was a quadriplegic (four limbs paralyzed) and that it would get worse. "Get used to it" they suggested.
Fortunately for me I had a relationship with God already. Many people begin their relationship with God when they just get into a situation like this. I knew the worst thing that would happen to me is that I would die and go to heaven so risking my life hunting terrorists was okay.
I never imagined I would survive and be paralyzed. I decided I would do whatever it takes to walk again.
I was lucky and blessed to find my injury was 'incomplete' (the spinal cord was not severed) and I began to walk within a month of being hospitalized.
It is now over twenty years later and I still have issues from the accident. I have some days I can not walk and others I am is so much pain I can not get out of bed. I take methadone, robaxin, and neproxin for pain, muscle relaxation and anti inflammatory effects.
I am glad I chose to live. I have a wife and two kids and we do pretty well financially (all the bills are paid). I have a mission at the lab to give the gift of walking so it keeps me going. Some days I am so excited about the LIFESUIT robotic exoskeleton I can not sleep at night.
For anyone who is paralyzed or has a family member or friend that has been recently paralyzed it is VERY important that you know most people are depressed the first four months and if they say the want to die it is usually the depression talking not reality. If you love them you will make sure they have to wait until five to six months after the paralysis before they decide.

Cartooniverse
11-04-2010, 04:48 PM
Oh, the change in Zombie Thread rules. Okay, I got an automatic response and so back I come to this thread.

She is still in the state she was in when I wrote the O.P. Her medical benefits are just about gone, aside from Medicaid. This means she will lose her home to pay for 24 hour health aides by her side.

Her quality of life has not improved in any way.

I'd say, kill me when it happens because throwing the dice and hoping that technology or theology save me is a mighty long shot.

In the biggest way possible, I'd add Y M M V to the above sentiment.

Cartooniverse

Mr. Excellent
11-04-2010, 04:56 PM
I'm sorry your friend hasn't improved - that sounds horrible.

For myself - I'd absolutely want to die in that situation. It just doesn't sound like something I could endure.

Brynda
11-04-2010, 04:57 PM
I used to work with patients with spinal cord injuries, and very few wanted to die. I bet if you had asked them before their injuries if they would have wanted to die if they had become injured, most would have said yes. The will to live is much stronger than most people think.

Sampiro
11-04-2010, 05:22 PM
While there is absolutely not one single advantage to being in this new condition than to before, she is fortunate enough to be alive in a time when the paralyzed can do more than they ever have before. I've known students who were in wheelchairs that were operated by breathing into a straw but they were able to attend college, take notes (I'm not sure what this technology is but it exists), surf the net and other quite normal things and still managed to get some joy and accomplishment out of life.

I doubt I'd rather die, at least not at first. Certainly I'd hope and pray that at least partial recovery would be possible, but generally I think- one day at a time.

Broomstick
11-04-2010, 07:25 PM
I have a cousin who met her husband after he became a quad. They married and had a long, (mostly) happy life together.

If I suffered such an accident I know my family would do whatever they could to take care of me. I'd probably wind up living on the first floor of my sister's house in Buffalo, but there are lots worse places to be.

I could still read, still watch movies, still talk to people, still cruise the internet (as a couple of quad Dopers demonstrate). I wouldn't be happy about being paralyzed, but I think I could find something meaningful in life, and if I'm cared for I wouldn't want to die.

That said - I try to avoid even minor accidents, much less disabling ones.

psychobunny
11-04-2010, 09:22 PM
This might be a good place to link again to this thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=539322&highlight=blinkie).

Lobot
11-04-2010, 10:55 PM
I've occasionally talked about this before, but I may as well elaborate.

I'm severely disabled, effectively making me a quadriplegic. I can't breathe without a ventilator, either.

Being disabled can be hard at times, to say the least. But the hand you're dealt in life is not what's important, but how you choose to play your cards.

I've had so-called "experts" tell me such things as "University is not an option--you need to realise your limitations." Well, I've got a degree in computer science and I'm now discussing the possibility of moving into astroinformatics research. And that degree I got while having a brain haemorrhage part way through!

I go to movies and concerts and have dinner with friends; I get drunk (and I'd get stoned if I felt like it) and if someone says I shouldn't be watching Jerry Springer, they'll soon know what's what.

I'm not sitting at home all day watching The Bold and the Beautiful while eating stewed prunes. You can live a rich, full life without being able to walk. Not being able to think is a bigger disability, but then again, Paris Hilton still seems to survive, so what do I know?

Cartooniverse
11-04-2010, 11:36 PM
I surely meant no insult to the way you, or anyone else in your position, is living your life by writing that O.P. several years ago.

From the outside ( as is always the case in life... ) I cannot imagine the transition. I whistled by it once in my life, when I fell and broke my back. Had the vertibrae fractured at a slightly different angle, I'd be paralyzed from the waist down.

Quite different than the life you articulated.

It appears Paris Hilton ain't got nothin' on you.

:)

Lobot
11-04-2010, 11:48 PM
Hey, I'm not angry or upset. And besides, this is a zombie thread.

But I thought it important that someone "on the inside" give an account of how positive life can be, no matter your physical condition. And were you, or anyone else, put in this position, I think suicidal thoughts would be likely. But that's because of society's myths about what living with a disability entails, and it's why these myths need to be dispelled.

I've seen too many disabled people believe those myths, and they end up living them out. But if you don't listen to those myths, anything is possible.

MPB in Salt Lake
11-04-2010, 11:55 PM
I go to movies and concerts and have dinner with friends; I get drunk (and I'd get stoned if I felt like it) and if someone says I shouldn't be watching Jerry Springer, they'll soon know what's what.

I don't know where you are located at, but if I am ever in your neck of the woods, I would be happy to meet up for many, many rounds of drinks, all on me......

Lobot
11-05-2010, 12:17 AM
I don't know where you are located at, but if I am ever in your neck of the woods, I would be happy to meet up for many, many rounds of drinks, all on me......

Sorry, mate, but I'm Down Under. If you ever find yourself near Sydney, however, drop me a line...

Lobot
11-05-2010, 12:22 AM
I'll add that the real problem, as touched upon in the update, is the U.S. health system. Not to get too political, but my attitude wouldn't be great, either, if I had to sell my home to get proper care.

MPB in Salt Lake
11-05-2010, 12:24 AM
Sorry, mate, but I'm Down Under. If you ever find yourself near Sydney, however, drop me a line...

Heh, small world---My family lived in Sydney for two years, and in Wangaratta for a year after that....... (both a LONG way from Salt Lake City)

Have a couple of Tooheys on me until I can get back down there!!!

Rachellelogram
11-05-2010, 12:42 AM
Given that I don't believe in any sort of deity or afterlife, I would be willing to put up with anything short of painful physical torture to continue existing. Like the stuff in Hostel or Saw, would make me want to die. Quadriplegia, not so much. I mean, if I can talk and use a keyboard to type with my mouth or eyes, I've still got people, message boards, and maybe World of Warcraft to keep me going.

Rala
11-05-2010, 05:10 AM
I'm another one saying I would adapt and go on living. I've known quite a few disabled people (OK, none as severely disabled as this, but I'm extrapolating) and their lives don't suck. They're nowhere near as miserable as some people seem to think they should be - they're good people with friends, family, fulfilling lives and some extra challenges to cope with. I don't need physical activity to be happy. I could still read, write (by which I mean type), go to uni, talk to friends and family and probably continue to pursue a career in psychology if I were paralysed. And yeah, it'd be hard, but I certainly don't think I'd consider my life any less worth living.

You sound like a great guy, Lobot, and you stand as proof that my optimism isn't unfounded. Cheers.

Saganist
11-05-2010, 06:16 AM
It seems to me to be rather offensive and tasteless for a completely healthy person to announce they would rather die than be in a state that a good number of people are actually in.

People handle personal tragedy all the time. They usually don't want their lives to end because there are other people around still willing to treat them with dignity and provide assistance. I can't imagine hearing people say "if I were in your shoes, I would definitely end it" helps, especially when they have no idea at all what it's actually like to be in their shoes.

Annie-Xmas
11-05-2010, 09:25 AM
I heartily recommend reading Christopher Reeve's book Still Me. And best wishes to your friend.

Hari Seldon
11-05-2010, 05:50 PM
What a sad story. But still, if it were me, I would want to go on. If Stephen Hawking can go on, so could I. I am a mathematician and most of what I do goes on between my ears. As long as that is intact, I could go on, although I might need an amanuensis. I would hope that technology might have advanced to the point that I could even dictate and have it appear on the screen.

Not everyone has this out, of course, and I don't know what I would do if I didn't. Also, since my pension would still come rolling in, I would have few money worries. Up here in in the frozen north, my medical care would be assured.

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