Italian media are reporting that Pope John Paul has been given "Last Rites" (the sacrament of the sick and the dying) although Vatican officials have not confirmed.
Thursday, March 31, 2005
• 1984: Michael Schiavo marries Terri Schindler after being engaged just five months.
• 1990: Terri Schiavo collapses in her home due to a suspected heart attack, and as a result her brain is deprived of oxygen, leaving her with brain damage.
• 1992: Michael Schiavo informs a medical malpractice jury, from which he was seeking 20 million dollars, that he would care for his wife for the rest of his life, that she would live a normal life span of at least 50 years, and that he would provide her with rehabilitation and therapy during that time. "She's my life, and I wouldn't trade her for the world… I believe in the vows that I took with my wife. Through sickness, in health, for richer or poorer… I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that."
• 1992: Michael Schiavo wins more than $1 million in a malpractice suit. Subsequently Michael Schiavo stops all therapy, despite medical records indicating his wife is responsive; and denies all food/water given by mouth to his wife, he has nurses who feed Terri by spoon and by bottle fired.
• 1993: Michael Schiavo prevents any further swallowing tests and swallowing therapy and further tries to deny treatment of an infection his wife has (the nursing home where she was at the time overruled him and treated the infection. Schiavo later told a judge under oath that he thought the infection would develop to sepsis and would be fatal); in response Michael Schiavo has a Do Not Resuscitate Order put on his wife; He refuses to release medical information to her parents (despite a court order requiring him to do so); In a deposition Michael Schiavo was forced to admit that he had already been involved in two lengthy relationships since his wife’s collapse (Trudy Capone and Cindy Shook).
• 1995: Michael Schiavo moves in with another woman he has been having an affair with, Jodie Centonze; Consigned Terri to a hospice (which she was legally not supposed to be in); Ordered the hospice workers not to clean Terri's teeth anymore; forbids pictures and video footage taken of Terri; Michael Schiavo says repeatedly to Carla Sauer Iyer, a nurse at the hospice, "When is she going to die?," "Has she died yet?" and "When is that bitch gonna die?"
• Michael Schiavo repeatedly tells Trudy Capone (a nurse who cared for Terri and dated Michael) that he and his wife had never discussed what to do if she was incapacitated. Capone says Michael was always asking her, "What should I do?" She described Schiavo as obsessive and claimed he stalked her after their breakup, as did Cindy Shook.
• 1998: Michael Schiavo suddenly "remembers" that his wife had made some remarks regarding her Grandmother who was being kept alive at thae time on a respirator, saying that she casually remarked "If I ever have to be a burden to anybody, I don't want to live like that." Michael Schiavo then hires sensational right to die advocate/lawyer George Felos, who has a court determine that Michael's sudden memory was clear evidence of Terri’s wish to die; prior to filing his May 1998 petition to disconnect his wife's feeding tube, Michael Schiavo got engaged to Jodie Centonze (He has since had 2 children out of wedlock with Centonze, whom he calls his fiancé).
• 2000: Michael Schiavo places Terri in a private hospice (where he has greater control over her care), despite the fact she is not terminally ill; Michael Schiavo controls his wife’s visitors list, first requiring they have his approval and then removing visitors at “his discretion” including Terri’s parents; Michael Schiavo refuses to fix Terri’s wheel chair (which she has used since 1994 to go places like the museum and the hair salon) and decides from now on she will not leave her room at the hospice; Michael Schiavo files again to have his wives feeding tube removed.
• 2001: Terri's feeding tube was disconnected and reconnected based on evidence given by Cindy Shook in which she stated that when she once asked Michael Schiavo about treatment for Terri he responded, "How the hell should I know? We never spoke about this. My God, I was only 25 years old. We were young. We never spoke of this."; Michael Schiavo then ordered Terri's shades down at all times so no sunlight would enter her room.
• 2003: Tube removed/reinserted for the second time; Michael Schiavo subsequently removes all family pictures from Terri's room, denies flowers from her family and friends, denies certain CDs to be played for Terri, and refuses to allow her to listen to music with headphones.
• 2004: A psychiatric assessment by Dr. Carole Lieberman M.D., M.P.H. reports that Michael Schiavo has been under long term psychiatric care, including being prescribed several psychotropic medications, and that one of his treating therapists (Dr. Peter Kaplan) had advised that the police should have been involved after Michael Schiavo argued with and attacked Terri’s sister, Susanne.
• 2005: Feeding tube removed (this time for 14 days). At the time of death Michael Schiavo has Terri's family escorted from the hospice. Michael Schiavo claims his wife died "clutching" her favourite stuffed toy.
Michael Schiavo has again ordered that Terri Schiavo's parents and siblings are not allowed in the hospice to see Schiavo in her final hours of life. Michael Schiavo gave no reason for this action, and has armed police ensuring that the Schindlers do not reenter Terri's room.
Schiavo has gone a full two weeks now without food or water.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
I don't understand why the 11th Circuit Court would agree to consider a petition by Terri Schiavo's family for a new hearing and then change it's mind 15 hours later.
This isn't some sort of game here, and it's not right to play with people's hearts. How terrible for her family. Would have been better if the court had not interrupted their process and interjected some kind of hope just to yank it away. It feels... well, like bullying.
A discussion with a patient:
"You want to know a secret?" he continued, leaning in with the confidence of a father about to tell his son the ways of the world. "I’m color blind. All these beautiful flowers… and I can’t be sure I’m even seeing their intended color."
I thought for a moment about what he had said. Intended color.
Many philosophers have struggled with the subjectivity of our individual experiences in life. Reality is no more concrete than our perception of it. Color blindness is perhaps the best example of how two people, gazing at the same photograph, can so differently filter the outside world through their disparate senses…
"A lot of people pity me because I don’t see the right colors," he told me. "That never bothered me much. First of all I don’t know what I’m missing, and second of all who’s to say my world isn’t prettier."
Via: The Examining Room of Dr Charles
"In the depths of winter, I finally realized that deep within me there lay an Invincible summer."
Well, if anything can be referred to as "11th hour" this is it... The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to consider a petition for a new hearing to decide if Terri Schiavo’s feeding may be resumed. Today it has been 13 days.
In other news The Pope is being feed through a nasal tube. Bet he’s glad he doesn’t live in Florida!
Meanwhile, also in Florida, two cases of men who starved their cattle are making it’s way through the courts. Michael Lee Swails and Christian DeNeergaard both faces charges, probation, fines and jail time for starving to death cows. Perhaps they should have married the cows... My favourite quote:
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
– Ed Smith is a retired educator and full-time writer, and he has been quadriplegic since 1998.
I hate it when people say "Terri Schiavo is not alive," or even worse "a vegetable." What do they mean by such hurtful, presumptuous statements? Who has the right to make such decrees? When did people become so offensive, especially towards people who are disabled and needing our care and/or support? It is well known that Schiavo is not actually "brain dead" (it is her cerebral cortex that does not function) and that recently more than 33 doctors and therapists (15 of whom are neurosurgeons) have publically contradicted a PVS diagnosis for her.
Without truly thinking it through, I think they mean to say that the life that Schiavo leads, especially in comparison to their own obvious standard of perfection, is meaningless, refusing even to acknowledge or recognize that she does indeed exist in many forms; to her family, friends and more importantly, to herself.
And why the headlong rush to kill her?
At some basic primeval level, Schiavo (and other’s like her) challenge their perfection, their notion of themselves and their individualty, and threatens what they worry is the ultimate degradation of that standard of humanity, or maybe better put, the standard of what is a perfect american – tall, strong, handsome, patriotic, and, well, overseas at war. It is a hateful, malignant infection brewing at the very core of american definition. It’s not new, or even uncommon, and I think I have read about this kind of struggle before, in a story called World War II. BUT, having said that, they are notions that most nations have rejected in favour of expressing compassion for their weakest citizens.
When the strong kill the weakest just because they can, definitions of who (and what)is weak begin to change. Power becomes justified as a tool of the greater good, and individuals (especially weak ones) are not always deemed beneficial to that greater good. And one day, every single one of these people are going to find themselves weaker, older, and needing care in some form or another. We'll all assume now they won't want to live that way.
Monday, March 28, 2005
There has been a large earthquake off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra that registered at a magnitude 8.5. The quake was felt about 482kms away from the epicentre.
Seismologists believe this quake was centred in the same area as the Dec. 26 earthquake, leaving some speculation that the southern subduction zone (which hasn't had quake activity since the 1800's) is now in danger.
There is still no evidence the quake has spawned a tsunami, but Thailand, Japan and Sri Lanka have issued tsunami warnings and are evacuating coastal areas.
And it's not that I necessarily believe that they mean to be, just that they judge other people before understanding what life is like for them. Just because someone leads a life that is less than their own perceived perfect quality of life, they deem it worthless (or worse decide that it should be ended). I further understand that in order to deal with these "conclusions" these people must also be blind to certain truths, because without their denial as protection they couldn't face themselves. For example, if they were to keep an open mind they might start to consider that maybe the person that Terri Schiavo is now is atleast a moderatly happy one, someone capable of enjoying a life they might not understand, and then how could they justify standing by while that life is ended, and ended in such a painfully drawn out manner - one they wouldn't even allow a serial baby rapist to endure.
Whilst we were in Calgary I was touched by the story of a little girl who lives there - a beautiful child really, a girl who will never know that such evils exists in a harsh world (we don't kill our severly disabled people in Canada), a girl who is loved - and in return loves those around her.
Her name is Eilish Wheatley, and she is 5 years old. Like Terri Schiavo, little Eilish is fed through a tube in her stomach, and like Schiavo her cerebral cortex does not function. She can't walk, but gets around her world via wheel chair (Schiavos wheelchair was taken away from her 7 years ago when her husband forbade her from leaving the hospice). She laughs when her Mom picks her up and cries when the dentist cleans her teeth.
Eilish's Mom Tricia Wheatley is angry and concerned at the Terri Schiavo case, especially that something like a feeding tube can be considered "life support".
"Life support is being ventilated with a tube to assist you to breathe when your body can't breathe on its own or having a machine keep your heart pumping, it's not feeding someone," Wheatley said, adding "I fear it is open season on the profoundly disabled."
But one of her quotes really hit home for me:
"Eilish may never walk or talk, but she does experience joy, happiness and sadness. People may not want to trade places with Eilish or Terri Schiavo, but that doesn't mean their lives aren't worth living and loving."
Courts have repeatedly accepted testimony from Michael Schiavo that Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state" and that she would not have wanted to be kept alive artificially.
First, PVS is the same as brain death (worse than in a coma), and people don't laugh and cry and sit up and get out of bed when they are brain dead. Also worth noting is that the medical community does not really know why a brain in this state can fix itself - like in Kate Adamson's case - or what the person knows or feels while in this state. Second, being fed is NOT being kept alive artifically as many of us would consider it when we would make similiar statements. Michael Schiavo's motives in this are obviously suspect and his claims that Schiavo said this came years after he told a court he wanted to help make his wife's life better (and after he had moved in with his mistress and sent Schaivo to a home). Third, no new evidence has even been allowed, no new tests or treatments since her rehabilitation was cut off (which, btw, doctors don't attempt to rehabilitate a brain dead person) despite the fact that medical knowledge of this situation has evolved by light years in the past ten years. Further, the courts have decided on sworn testimony already submitted even though there is much disagreement in the medical community about Schiavo's state and the american Congress directed the federal courts to look at the case from the very begining with no old evidence considered. Fourth, Schiavo was only married a couple of short years and yet this has given such complete power to her unfaithful husband that it is scary, complete enough that he is able to forbid her being fed by mouth (which nurses were fired for doing), and keep her on a feeding tube she didn't need so that he could make the argument she should die.
And lastly, Terri Schiavo is dying, but not from natural causes or even as a result of being terminally ill, but because a legal system has failed her. It pains me to imagine how much longer this ordeal might last for her. As my family bands together to wait for the death of one of our own loved ones, the fourth in the past year, I am painfully aware of the difference between life and death, and between living and dying, and of the sacred balance of trust that hangs between them.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Terri Schiavo draws nearer to her state mandated death and I read that the Schindler’s have decided not to file any more motions with the federal appeals court in response to their last loss before the Florida Supreme Court. I do think that they have done an admiral job of trying to protect their daughter and my heart goes out to them now in the last days of this horrid waiting game. I wish them all peace, especially on today. Also I think it is dispicable that the court has denied Schiavo last rites.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Someone somewhere once compared hope to a bird that sings to the dawn while it is still dark. Maybe the human emotion of hope is more based on expectation and trust than we imagine, but truly at it's best it is who we are, all of us together in a common human struggle find the courage and the capacity within us to hope, even if just a little, and even in the bleakest of times.
For a second time, Judge Whittemore has ruled against Bob and Mary Schindler. This seems to be the end of the last hope for Terri Schiavo. Whittemore acknowledged that there existed a larger emotional rhetoric that he was unable to consider in the courts judgement. He further acknowledged and praised the lawyers' civility, saying it was "a credit to their professionalism - and to Terri."
There are many thoughts right now to express but instead I will leave you to enjoy some quotes from my collection that span the wisdom of the ages.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world."
"Justice will only be achieved when those who are not injured by crime feel as indignant as those who are."
- King Solomon, 635-577 BC
"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
- Albert Einstein
"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves."
- Abraham Lincoln
"Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."
- George Washington
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Citing "evidentiary issues that were ignored in the first crack at federal court" the Schindlers have gone back to Judge James Whittemore to ask him to reconsider his previous ruling. Whittemore has scheduled a hearing on the matter for 6:00PM today.
Congressman Joe Scarborough: As you may know, I have spent the last week on my TV and radio show fighting to save the life of Terri Schiavo. Like many opinion givers, lawmakers, and American citizens, I am shocked and saddened by the forced starvation of a young, helpless woman who is being sentence to death simply because she cannot feed herself. Applying this standard, infants, Alzheimers patients, the elderly and infirmed would face a court ordered death (click to watch video).
Via: MSNBC and Jackson's Junction
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
In a "Fox News Exclusive" Carla Sauer Iyer broke a gag order today to talk publicaly about Michael Schiavo's treatment of Terri Schiavo that she witnessed during the time she worked as Terri's caregiver. Here's a link to the video:
Update 1: Interview with Nurse Heidi Law
Hat tip: Blogs For Terri and Jackson's Junction
I just read this on Blogs for Terri (but haven't yet found another source):
The Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, just completed a press conference with Tampa Bay media. He says that the Department of Children and Families, through Adult Protective Services are conducting an investigation of abuse against Terri Schiavo. As part of that, a neurologist by the name of Dr. Cheshire, observed Terri, lengthy videos of her and her case record. He has concluded that she is not in a persistent vegetative state. Rather, he felt she was minimally conscious if not functioning higher.
There is apparently a 3:45PM hearing today on this matter. More as it develops...
UPDATE 1: The story is being carried by the Miami Herald (subscription).
"State officials said they might attempt to place the brain-damaged woman under protective custody so her feeding tube can be reinserted. As a possible precursor of that event, they filed a new motion in state court in Tampa... Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings and the director of the state social services agency confirmed they were considering an intervention in the controversial and increasingly tangled case - based on calls alleging that Schiavo is being abused in her hospice... Lucy Hadi, secretary of the Department of Children and Families, said the state investigation into potential abuse is ongoing and the state is required by law to file a petition to bring Schiavo into state care if an emergency exists. The state does not have to wait for a court to act, she said."
UPDATE 2: Judge Greer Denies DCF Petition - the Department of Children and Families asked for access to Terri Schiavo's sealed medical records to begin a protective investigation. Greer also issued an emergency restraining order to block the DCF from Terri and to prevent Schiavo from being removed from her hospice.
A three judge panel of the 11th Circuit (federal) Court of Appeals has ruled 2-1 not to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.
It doesn't look like there's going to be a happy ending for this story.
Once in a lullaby...
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true
Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
I was just reading an article by Andrew C. McCarthy (a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) entitled Ducking Tough Questions. I have reprinted the first part of the article and you can follow the link at the bottom to read the rest:
Is Terri Schiavo a PVS case? That is the core of the wrenching dispute that has gripped the nation. That is the question that impelled the extraordinary intervention of Congress and the president over the weekend. And that is the question that U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore refused to entertain in rejecting, early Tuesday morning, a request to reinsert Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. Thus, her excruciating march to death by starvation and dehydration continues.
In 1990, in a case called Cruzan v. Missouri, the U.S. Supreme Court assumed that a competent person would have a constitutionally protected right to refuse lifesaving hydration and nutrition, and held that where a person (a) was actually in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) and (b) had actually evinced a desire not to be sustained in that state (i.e., a desire to die rather than be kept alive), the state was permitted — but not required — to allow her surrogates to discontinue sustenance.
Cruzan is distinguishable from Terri Schiavo’s case in that there is powerful reason to doubt that Terri is in a PVS. There was no such reason given the condition of the woman in Cruzan — the opinion indicates that from three weeks of coma she never progressed beyond an unconscious state, in which she was perhaps responsive to some painful stimuli but to nothing else. There was thus reason to doubt she would even appreciate the immense discomfort of starvation/dehydration. Cruzan is also distinguishable in that the evidence that Terri has evinced an informed and intelligent wish to die is even more suspect than the concededly thin evidence that supported this finding in Cruzan.
But, of course, Terri’s case is not distinguishable unless the federal court is open to a full reconsideration of the factual determinations made by the Florida courts that Terri is in a PVS and that she asserted an informed desire to die. This is where the bill passed by Congress comes in. In pertinent part, it says:
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida shall have jurisdiction to hear, determine, and render judgment on a suit or claim by or on behalf of Theresa Marie Schiavo for the alleged violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo under the Constitution or laws of the United States relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life.
[T]he District Court shall determine de novo any claim of a violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo within the scope of this Act, notwithstanding any prior State court determination and regardless of whether such a claim has previously been raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings. The District Court shall entertain and determine the suit without any delay or abstention in favor of State court proceedings, and regardless of whether remedies available in the State courts have been exhausted. [Italics mine.]
There are at least two ways to read this law. The first — and the one that I believe the plain language indicates Congress intended — is that there should be a complete, plenary, exhaustive review on a clean slate — ignoring all prior rulings and factual determinations made by the courts of Florida. This is not a limitless grant of authority. The federal court cannot grant relief unless it can be shown that some federal right of Terri’s was violated. But, the federal court is not bound to accept as fact — and, indeed, should not accept as fact — any factual conclusion drawn by Judge Greer and the rest of the courts of Florida. In other words: Fully develop the facts and then determine if federal law has been transgressed.
Continue reading Ducking Tough Questions
Federal U.S. District Judge James Whittemore has denied the request that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube be re-inserted.
In his 13 page ruling Whittmore wrote "This court concludes that Theresa Schiavo's life and liberty interests were adequately protected by the extensive process provided in the state courts" and that as he was bound by the constraints of the law and as he didn't see a "substantial likelihood" that the Schindler's case would succeed, her feeding was not to be resumed.
This means that Terri's case will not be heard in Federal Court. It also means she will die. I imagine there will be an appeal, but I am not hopeful.
Monday, March 21, 2005
No matter what side of this opinion war you are one, anybody who has taken the time to thouroughly explore the issues of the Schiavo case struggle with the conflictions that arise because the details challenge our specific definitions and notions of quality of life.
Schiavo is disabled. Every day she wakes up, moves around and communicates the best that she can. She breathes on her own, her heart beats on it's own, her brain functions on it's own. Like our children, and our sick and elderly, all she needs to live is to be fed. So we feed her. Or, in some cases, we don't.
Even though she can swallow (she swallows her own saliva) her "husband" has decreed that she is not to recieve rehabilition or any foods by mouth, so the staff where she lives are forced to use a tube when it is time to give her food. This tube is at the centre of the controversy surrounding her impending death.
We are not feeding her. That's it - there aren't any "plugs" to pull - we just aren't feeding her.
Sometimes as able minded and bodied people we tend to judge quality of life too harshly, without any consideration for other ways of living. My own father would have turned up his nose at the thought of living dependantly, and yet when a stroke changed his reality his life became more precious to him than before it had been threatened. His cognitive abilities and memories were greatly disabled, and yet he was happy, every day that he woke up, just to enjoy his life. At the end of his life, when his final stroke took away all his ability to move and he could only communicate with grunts, his desire to live was still very apparent in his eyes.
I hold my breath today with the news that the President has signed the bill because Schiavo's fate still remains in the hands of a court and her feeding has yet to be resumed. Also, I feel certain that as soon as it is resumed she will again have to face yet another challenge to her right for food, and that's a tiring thought.
This really is one of the most extraordinary legal and political fights ever, but I can't help but think it is also one of the most important. Our definitions are a little mixed up and we need them to be clarified. This isn't about letting a brain dead person die, it's about killing a disabled person by denying them the most basic human rights - food and water. And it's not just about Terri, it's about all of us, because one day this could be us too.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Saturday, March 19, 2005
I have blogged before about the testimonies of Barbara Weller (attorney with the Gibbs Law Firm in Florida) regarding her visits with Terri Schiavo, but I found this account on Blogs for Terri of her last visit with her (Friday, March 18) and I wanted to share:
"The most dramatic event of this visit happened at one point when I was sitting on Terri’s bed next to Suzanne. Terri was sitting in her lounge chair and her aunt was standing at the foot of the chair. I stood up and leaned over Terri. I took her arms in both of my hands. I said to her, "Terri if you could only say ‘I want to live’ this whole thing could be over today." To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri’s eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, "Ahhhhhhh." Then, seeming to summon up all the strength she had, she virtually screamed, "Waaaaaaaa." She yelled so loudly that Michael Vitadamo, Suzanne’s husband, and the female police officer who were then standing together outside Terri’s door, clearly heard her. At that point, Terri had a look of anguish on her face that I had never seen before and she seemed to be struggling hard, but was unable to complete the sentence. She became very frustrated and began to cry. I was horrified that I was obviously causing Terri so much anguish. Suzanne and I began to stroke Terri’s face and hair to comfort her. I told Terri I was very sorry. It had not been my intention to upset her so much. Suzanne and I assured Terri that her efforts were much appreciated and that she did not need to try to say anything more. I promised Terri I would tell the world that she had tried to say, "I want to live."
You can read the whole statement at Empire Journal.
She wants to live. Everything inside of me is screaming with this. She wants to live. SHE WANTS TO LIVE! Why can't people hear her?
Today I made breakfast for my family (delicious Omega 3 eggs on toast) and then we went door to door with Raven's Girl Guide Company collecting food for the food bank, to help feed hungry people here in Edmonton. In a few minutes I am taking my husband out for coffee and I am going to have a Moccaccino. No doubt tonight we will have something fabulous like baked salmon with lemon dill sauce and brocolli.
My mouth waters just thinking about it.
It has been a whole day and more since Terri Schiavo has been given any food. I can't stop thinking about her, waiting. I imagine she knows what is going on to some degree - we know from avadavits in 2002 that Terri is aware enough of her own mortality to be scared at the prospect of losing her life.
In the incident I am referring to, a counsellor from the Galaxy Wave Group (a therapeutic company on the cutting edge of medical technology) was talking to Schiavo on a cellphone (as they often did) when the counsellor said to her "If you don't get up and get out of there, you're going to die there." In an avadavit he said "I explained in detail that they would remove the single tube that was providing her nutrition and she would slowly die of starvation."
Upon being told she might be killed, Schiavo sat bolt upright and tried to get out of her chair. Her father reports that she became "teary eyed."
It's an old article (2003) but it raises some interesting points about the motivations of George Felos (a sensational right to die activist/lawyer).
I know I for one am questioning the motives of people involved in this case.
Please, please, please, save my little girl."
- Mary Schindler, Terri Schiavo's mother, moments ago.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Congress has issued Terri Schiavo with a subpoena ordering her to testify at an official committee meeting of The Senate Health Committee on March 28 2005. House Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) noted that it is a federal crime to harm or obstruct a person called to testify before Congress, including (one assumes) denying them food and water.
UPDATE 1: Pinellas Circuit Court Judge David Demers ordered that Schiavo's feeding tube will remain in place past the 1:00PM EST deadline.
UPDATE 2: Circuit Court Judge George Greer has reissued his previous order allowing Schiavo's estranged husband to remove her feeding tube. Greer said he saw "no reason not to move ahead with his previous order removing the gastric tube" and that "it could be removed at once."
UPDATE 3: Schiavo's nutrition and hydration are now being withheld from her. As her family was ordered to leave her room during this process it remains unclear if the port that accommodates her feeding tube has been surgically removed as well.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
- Isaac Bashevis Singer
Tomorrow at 1:00PM EST Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube is scheduled to be removed by court order.
To inflict death on an incapacitated person, someone who is as innocent as she is defenseless, is as wrong as any other type of murder, perhaps even more so. Further, to cause that death by starvation and dehydration is plainly inhumane.
Schiavo is not a terminal patient and is not in any sort of imminent health crisis. She is not in a coma - she is partially paralyzed due to brain dysfunction. She is not on life support but uses a feeding tube (only) at meal times to get sustenance; some doctors have suggested she could probably swallow foods with the consistency of baby food with minor amounts of rehabilitation.
She experiences pain and discomfort just like you and I.
Good evidence exists to suggest that Schiavo is responsive, and is as responsive as many other mentally and physically challenged people in our world. She controls her eye movements and watches people as they move around her. She listens to music, responds to her mother’s love, laughs, makes happy sounds, cries and tries to speak. She follows doctor’s and nurses directions and commands, including moving her limbs slightly.
Watch this video of Schiavo and her father.
Not only does she laugh at a funny story from her childhood, she obviously REMEMBERS it.
She is alive. Her life is valuable, and once ended it can never be given back. No one should have the right to take that away from her.
What does Starving to death look like anyways?
Starved bodies ache all the time as muscles cramp and deteriorate, the mouth dries and bleeds as the tongue cracks, the nosebleeds, teeth become elongated as the gums recede, the heart flutters and beats hard and painfully, blood vessels in the eyes rupture causing blindness, the kidneys and liver are progressively damaged, seizures accompany heaving as the body attempts to vomit, hair falls out, the patient starts to smell with a rotting odour, endures ravenous hunger pains and extreme thirst, hallucinations, confusion, anger and fear, until finally a death like coma silences the final hours (or days) before death.
We know scientifically what the symptoms and results of starvation are, but what does it feel like?
Kate Adamson was totally paralyzed after a double brainstem stroke in 1995. In a state even worse than Schiavo’s, she could both feel and think – and remembers everything that happened to her since the brain injury. Adamson’s feeding tube was removed by doctors for eight days before her husband was able to have it restored through legal intervention. Adamson eventually recovered her PVS like state and is now testifying to members of the Florida Senate about her experiences in the hopes that she can help save Schiavo:
We have voices for a reason, and if we can't (or won't) speak out for those who can't speak for themselves, what is the point? I am not in a position to influence this outcome legally but I know a good number of my readers are american:
US House of Representatives
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
World reacts to Wolfowitz nomination with skepticism and alarm:
JOCELYN GECKER, PARIS (AP) - "The nomination of hawkish U.S. Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to lead the World Bank has sparked reactions ranging from official reserve to skepticism and outright denunciation."
No Shit, eh?
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
So the past week of life has been consumed with the search for the "ultimate" junior high school. Wesley is strong academically and thus has many options to choose from... I narrowed the list down to 5 schools, each school with a unique program offering and particular claim to fame. All need applications, and some need testing, interviews, reference letters and uniforms.
After much touring Wesley has shortlisted three programs: Late French Immersion at Ecole Laurier Heights; Canadian Military Studies at L'Académie Vimy Ridge Academy (uniformed); and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program at Westminister Junior High School.
So far though, the decision hasn't been made any easier by narrowing the field - actually it seems to have increased the level of anxiety I feel about it. I realize that he would do well at any school, and that none of them would be even close to a mistake if chosen. Yet still I feel somewhat caught in my own personal paradox; and there really isn't one right answer for the question - either all or none are valid.
And when on earth did I have an "almost teen-aged" son?
I'm getting old...
Friday, March 11, 2005
Barbara Weller, one of Terri Schiavo's family attorneys, wrote an account of meeting Terri in December 2004. Weller witnessed that Schiavo looked at people, smiled and used words like "uh uh." She further writes:
"When her mother was close to her, Terri's whole face lit up. She smiled. She looked directly at her mother and made all sorts of happy sounds. When her mother talked to her, Terri was quiet and obviously listening."
Terri is faced once again with a legal order to remove her feeding tube, which would deny her nutrition/hydration and eventually (after 2 weeks) lead to her death by starvation. You can't even starve to death an animal.
The final measure of humanity is how humanely people treat one another.
Go Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Constable Lionide Johnston
Constable Brock Myrol
Constable Peter Schiemann
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends"
- John 15:13
"These men so cared about the public good that they were willing to die to serve it."
- Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson
"With their loss, there is a singular intensity to our mourning – those who have fallen have done so selflessly; those who have fallen have done so in service to a nation, to an ideal;
they have fallen in service to us."
- Prime Minister Paul Martin
"These are the spirits of four remarkable men, whose courage teaches us that keeping communities safe is often an act of unbelievable personal bravery, and of extraordinary generosity."
- Premier Ralph Klein
"Together, we combine effort, commitment, hearts and lives to achieve an ideal shared by every Canadian: That we can live in a world without fear; Where the weak are protected; And where all are safe. Leo, Tony, Brock and Peter knew this.
They chose to stand with us at the front of the line - in that place that marks the difference between right and wrong, between good and evil."
- Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli
"My brother, my best friend and the most important person in my life."
- Const. Lee Johnston, twin brother of Const. Leo Johnston
"Such are the risks we take."
– Bill Sweeney, Alberta RCMP assistant commissioner
"His last act was the ultimate act of bravery. He jumped the bar, and we are so proud."
- Pastor Art Hundeby, of Brock Myrol always setting the bar higher for himself
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Monday, March 07, 2005
Saturday, March 05, 2005
We were in Red Deer today for a PC Party "Revitalization" meeting aimed at the youth of the party... well, my invitation said everyone under 35 was a youth so ofcourse I was going to go - how often is it that you are given back your youth? (Our party's definition of youth typically ends at 25).
It was... interesting. I did take the camera, but we left it in the car, which was too bad because almost everybody was there. It was good to see everyone again and reconnect before the party AGM this April. The AGM is going to be different this year - it's an integral time in our party, not always exciting, but I am happy to be engaged and participating.
According to a statement from the american military their soldiers killed one civilian and wounded two others when a vehicle traveling at "high speeds" refused to stop at a check point. They apparently even used hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots to try to get the car to stop.
However, Giuliana Sgrena has testified that the car wasn’t speeding, that it was actually traveling at "regular speed" and that there was "no bright light, no signal, and at a certain point, from one side, a firestorm erupted." She further described the firestorm as as a "rain of fire."
Meanwhile Sgrena's boyfriend, Pier Scolari, has voiced some serious concerns about the incident, saying he believes Sgrena knows something the americans did not want to become public. "Either it was an ambush, as I believe, because Giuliana had some information... or we are at the mercy of idiots, frightened boys who shoot at anyone they come across," the Italian news agency AGI reported.
I think they shoot at anyone they come across, quite frankly. Anything else would be allowing them too much credit.
Friday, March 04, 2005
Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was released today from her month long hostage ordeal in Iraq. But don't get too excited... american troops opened fire on the vehicle she was travelling in, a car full of Italian secret service agents who had been instrumental in negotiating for her release.
An officer was killed when he threw his body over Sgrena's to protect her from their aggressors; she herself escaped with a gunshot wound to her shoulder.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi demands an explanation for the attack, but we all know he won't get one. As my initial shock at this wears off, I realize that I am not surprised. Incidences like this have become so commonplace that hearing "american troops" have shot another innocent person or persons just further dulls already numbed feelings: the irony; the injustice; the ignorance; the complete lack of respect for life; for law; it's all there in a special kind of anger that no one can do anything about.
If you are going to carry a gun, know what you are shooting at before you fire.
The american's are notoriously renowned for their "accidents of poor judgement." They have a myriad of excuses they use to justify their mistakes, but none of them make any of their victims feel better. Back in basic training I remember many tounge in cheek comments about shooting them on the battlefield before they could get you (or your allies) killed. It wasn't just a joke, it was a warning to watch out for them because they couldn't be trusted.
In the end, what it simply boils down to is just this:
Friendly fire ain't... and it's bullshit.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
What would you buy?
An investment firm and a sports advisory company (Boston based companies Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan LLC) yesterday made a joint offer to buy the National Hockey League and all 30 of its teams (estimating each team at $117 million) for more than three and a half billion dollars in an all or nothing deal.
Bain and Game Plan said they believe the sale would bolster the league's revenue because all the teams would "work together to generate more local television coverage, sponsorship and revenue" instead of competing against one another for resources. They have also arranged for a yet unnamed Canadian financier to join the consortium.
I know I believe the NHL needs a major overhaul but I'll admit I am skeptical about hockey being owned by corporate america.
... always seems to come a little too soon! But it is a beautiful day and I am happy to be awake for it. Yesterday was great, I thouroughly enjoyed the reception after the Throne Speech, and the good times continued (in more ways than one) to Earls afterwards. Duncan was/is the happiest man in Alberta. The only thing that could have made yesterday better was if Lois Hole could have been here to see it. I think she would have liked that.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Words can not describe how big a day it was today, so (since I am tired) I will let the pictures tell the story tonight.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
My life is an adventure and through all the terrific (and terrible) moments during all the years of my life, I’m proud of the person I am – and excited about whom I am becoming. I am a work in progress, evolving, ever thinking, chasing my dreams, and in many ways I hope to always be that way.
I perceive myself both growing up and being a grown up, but time is seductively illusive, and everything still seems like yesterday, or even just the day before, and I still have all the time in the world ahead of me. With a suitable inventory of experience behind me I recognize that my reality is altered significantly, sometimes even without my noticing, by the influence of each event upon my life. Memories of gentle touches and happy times are as important to who I am as my battle scars and bruises, and I welcome their impact on my love affair with life. Allow me to introduce you to the Milestones that have shaped and changed me:
My Grandfather’s death
Learning to read
Skipping a grade
Getting my period
My first date
Getting my Drivers license
Losing my virginity
Joining the army (first full time job)
Learning to kill
Moving out on my own
Moving (to a new province)
Being published for the first time
Discovering my sexual self
Divorce, after ten years
Moving (to another major city)
Death of my father
Death of my brother
OK, maybe that last ones a bit of a stretch, I don’t actually feel any different turning 33. Duncan says it is a milestone, a third of 99, and he’s right, of course, each year deserves a celebration. I approach my thirty third year with eager anticipation, excitement and none of the anxiety I had when I turned 30. My journey is full of delightful escapades and I can’t wait! And for the first time in my life I feel as if I am a grown up – finally, honestly – with a calm confidence that comes from knowing conclusively what is actually essential in life. I will start my 33rd year with the ability to face everything with a sense of wonder true to the nature of courage, an understanding of reality that comes from the veracity of evils, unabashed pride in my family and our accomplishments - and my amazing partner who fills my days (heart/soul/mind) with love, he is truly a treasure that makes life worth living.