Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché
I raise horses and my dad just suffered a massive heart attack. He is in hospice
but clearly he is suffering. I would never allow one of my horses to persist in
this condition. Why must I with my dad? I live in a state where euthanasia is
Law is not based on right or wrong, nor on moral good or bad. It’s intention might begin that way but what the law is really based on is precedent. Once an argument is
successfully made it can be lifted out of context in what’s called the slippery
slope. Because of this, as humans we need to be careful and err on the side of caution even if it seems that on a personal level it takes some choice from you and your family. Otherwise you could use the argument for euthanasia to justify genocide; this has happened before in extremely rational cultures.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: I am watching my cat die slowly from repeated strokes right now. It is completely legal for me to take her to the vet and send her on the Big Sleep.
But despite the constant tending and trouble she is, when I think about taking the final step, I just can’t do it.
There is always a point at which suffering far outweighs the quality of life, for any living thing. But determining that point is not as easy as you’d think.
My cat appears to be in dreadful shape because she has stopped grooming herself and keeps walking in circles to the right because half her brain is gone.
She staggers as she moves about the room and can’t climb stairs.
But if I pick her up and hold her, she purrs and snuggles to sleep.
She still has an appetite for her food and she can sometimes figure out where her litter box is.
She actually seems more content than when she was a demanding little bitch who bit every stranger who tried to pick her up.
Do I kill her because she’s a bit more trouble to take care of? Is that my call to make?
I do understand your pain. Everyone who watches a formerly strong parent enter their demise wants it to be over. But the elderly have lost a certain awareness that still plagues us, and we are projecting ourselves onto them when we imagine how they feel. Do you want their feeble fumblings to end? Of course you do, the situation totally sucks.
But if it came time to pull the plug, you might have more of a struggle with that decision than you imagine. Dead is forever.
Annoyance and irritation fade in time and all you are left with is what you did.