Arthro-Pilates and Lupus





Terri  Schaivo: The Lesson

Late last week On Thursday, March 31st, 2005, Terri Schiavo slowly passed away as a result of having her feeding tube removed after a lengthy and explosive battle between her parents Bob and Mary Schindler and her husband Michael.

Terri who suffered a heart failure in 1990 at the young age of twenty-six lapsed into a persistent vegetative state that had ultimately become the center of controversy not only for those close to her but for North America and the world in general.

While the atmosphere in her room was deemed serene, the atmosphere outside of the Pinellas Park Hospice in Florida could hardly be called the same. Supporters of her parents, who sat in vigil hoping for a last minute reprieve and an overturning of the courts decision to let Terri die, did so in vain! And while I can understand the view point of the Schindlers who loved their daughter without condition and who were prepared to take care of her despite her unchanged situation, I can also empathize with her husband’s efforts. After all, as he said, “This is what Terri wanted”! Unfortunately this statement was only hearsay as she was unable to speak for herself!

Terri’s fate was undoubtedly tragic, but if we as a society are going to learn anything from her demise, let it be in the understanding that everyone needs to make sure that our own voice will be heard even in the face of incapacity. Creating a living will is the only way to ensure that our wishes are fulfilled should a similar tragedy befall us. The recording of our thoughts in this regard would assist our loved ones, who ultimately have the final say, in making some very difficult decisions regarding our future. The question then remains, “ Why is the formulation of a living will so frequently overlooked”? We all understand the importance of creating a standardized will in an effort to bequeath our earthly possessions to the appropriate parties of choice upon our death, but a living will is erroneously considered a non-necessity even though reality dictates its value.

If we can gather the courage to look at the truth, it then becomes painfully clear that most of us will not endure an uneventful death. Although a harsh pill to swallow, going “quietly in our sleep” is more myth than reality. Frequently, an illness befalls, or an accident happens and we are left in an unimaginable situation that for some is a fate worse than death, and is a destiny that we would not want for ourselves. When we are young, we believe that we are invincible and nothing bad will happen to us, when we get older, it is difficult to face the thoughts of our own mortality, or the “terri”fying idea of life support and a “Kevorkianesque” outcome.

It is easier to just ignore these hard cold and unspeakable facts and as a result living wills are overlooked as a necessary tool to assist our family members in determining our wishes. The idea of a health care system hell bent on cutting costs, where doctor error frequently occurs, or worse yet a judicial system manipulated by political agenda determining my outcome, is simply not acceptable. It is our choice and our right to decide our fate, and it is this same right that needs to be strongly protected.

Terri Schiavo clearly showed us this! If she had created a living will, with exacting specification outlining her wishes, it would have been determined without a doubt, without hearsay and without conflict as to her outcome years ago. Let Terri’s tragic story be a lesson to us all. A living will is not only important, it is, an absolute necessity!


©Lori Weisbrod


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