What to Do with Me in the Time of Crisis
I want everyone to listen up: this is it; this is ‘the talk,’ my living-will speech to be referenced in the event the advertising staff finally pushes me over the edge with stress and I have a stroke, heart failure or just plain lose it. I’m not entirely sure if it’s legally binding, but it is in writing and at least no one can argue my desires at a later date in case, God forbid, something should happen to me.
I, Lauren N. Cartwright, of mostly sound mind and ever expanding body do not want to die hooked up to tubes, machines and/or life-sustaining instruments in the case severe bodily harm has occurred and the status of ‘no hope’ has been given by a qualified medical professional. Make that several qualified professionals; this definitely needs to be a team effort, (this blanket statement does not rule out CPR or a tracheotomy, because I’m cool with those). I would not like to have a prolonged death, living as a lifeless person whose largest accomplishment for the day is to smile.
With the recent passing of Terri Schiavo, I thought it would be good for me to lay it all on the table so if the traumatic occasion arises, then my loved ones will know what I would want them to do.
I think my feelings on this subject come from one of my most vivid memories as a child. When we were making plans for my dad’s services at the funeral home, my mom turned to me and said, ‘“That’s not who he was. I don’t want anyone to remember him like this.’” So the family decided on a closed casket.
During his yearlong battle with a brain tumor, he became a shadow of the man he once was ‘— bald from the chemo, pale from the months spent inside and shaky from his sickness. I remember his friends visiting and the look of fear their eyes held, thinking that maybe something like that could happen to them. The wilted person most of us knew as Terri Schiavo wasn’t truly herself at the end either, just a glimpse of the woman she once was.
Request two: If I become in some way incapacitated and the national media jumps on the story, I would like to request that only the pictures from the good days be plastered all over the place. Perhaps I’m being vain, but the pictures of Terri in her hospice bed made me feel only pity; they didn’t give me reason to fight for her somewhat listless life. Terri’s parents said that she was once a vibrant woman, but most of the images I saw didn’t get that message across. To prove to me she would want to live in that hospital room, the parents should have showed me her vibrancy, her liveliness.
In case CNN calls, I would like to see some pictures of me playing soccer, perhaps a few on a beach in my bathing suit, some of my honeymoon. None that make me look fat or like I’ve had too much to drink.
Request three: If any celebrity in some way turns my brain damage into a PR spin in their favor, then my family has my permission to sue for’… um, unauthorized character affirmation, or something of the sort. I don’t want to be Babs’ next charity case.
Request four: I don’t want my husband and family fighting. I don’t think this problem would rear its head, but then again I doubt Terri thought so either. I think the spouse should have the final say in the health of his/ her partner. No person outside of a marriage really knows what goes on between two people. So Michael Schiavo probably did know about Terri’s alleged eating disorder and may have had a conversation about feeding tubes and death. Most parents don’t know everything about their child’s marriage. I think it would be a little creepy for them to know every detail.
I’m not planning on buying the farm anytime soon but if something does happen, please refer to this as my living will. No arguments, no court cases, and certainly no machines, because I’d be in a better place, embarrassed at all the fuss.