There's nothing new to share since my last entry, I just want to post an e-mail I received today. It's a good'n.
I, _______________ (fill in the blank), being of sound mind and body, unequivocally declare that in the event of a catastrophic injury, I do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.
I hereby instruct my loved ones and relatives to remove all life-support systems once it has been determined that my brain is no longer functioning in a cognizant realm.
However, that judgment should be made only after thorough consultation with medical experts; i.e., individuals who actually have been trained, educated and certified as doctors. Under no circumstances -- and I can't state this too strongly -- should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.
Furthermore, it is my firm hope that when the time comes, any discussion about terminating my medical treatment should remain private and confidential.
Living in Florida, however, I am acutely aware that the legislative and executive branches of state government are fond of meddling in family matters and have little concern for the privacy and dignity of individuals.
Therefore, I wish to make my views on this subject as clear and unambiguous as possible. Recognizing that some politicians seem cerebrally challenged themselves (and with no medical excuse), I'll try to keep this simple and to the point:
- While remaining sensitive to the feelings of loved ones who might cling to hope for my recovery, let me state that if a reasonable amount of time passes -- say, ____ (fill in the blank) months -- and I fail to sit up and ask for a cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.
- Under no circumstances shall the members of the Legislature enact a special law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Floridians who aren't in a permanent coma.
- Under no circumstances shall the governor of Florida butt into this case and order my doctors to put a feeding tube down my throat or through a hole into my abdomen to keep me alive. I don't care how many fundamentalist votes he's trying to scrounge for his run for the presidency in 2008, it is my wish that he plays politics with someone else's life and leaves me to die in peace.
- I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my behalf. They should mind their own business, too.
- It is my heartfelt wish to expire quietly and without a public spectacle. This is obviously impossible once elected officials become involved. So, while recognizing the wrenching emotions that attend the prolonged death of a loved one, I hereby instruct my relatives to settle all disagreements about my care in private or in the courts, as provided by law. If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living hell.
IMPORTANT: This email is intended for the use of the individual addressee(s) named above and may contain information that is confidential, privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humor or irrational religious beliefs. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email is not authorized (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social faux pas. Unless the word "absquatulation" has been used in its correct context somewhere other than in this warning, it does not have any legal or grammatical use and may be ignored. No animals were harmed in the transmission of this email, although the poodle next door is living on borrowed time, let me tell you. Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this backwards, so just ignore that Alert Notice from Microsoft. However, by pouring a complete circle of salt around yourself and your computer you can ensure that no harm befalls you and your pets. If you have received this email in error, please add some nutmeg and egg whites, whisk, and place in a warm oven for 40 minutes.