Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hanging on

My friend is still in a coma. Her fiance is struggling with what to do about her life. It is hard to be a support person to help a person make their own decision when you have very very definite ideas about the choice you think they should make. Or at least you did for awhile.

She has two doctors - one which says pull the plug, she will never recover and the other who says it is too early to tell, she is still improving. He says in one minute he is so tired of waiting and not knowing and having her not react to him at all - and then he says he will hold her hand forever waiting for her to wake-up.

His life is on hold while he waits for her to wake up. I want to help him move on with his life without feeling as if he is abandoning her. He worries if he is not there everyday by her bedside it will be his fault if she dies. But he is 22 and college is important. He needs to make money to support himself and his daughter. He can't be there everyday and give their 8 month old the attention she needs.

So does a point come where because her quality of life has to be set aside because two other people - the only other two people who truly care if she lives or dies - can't spend much time with her- so she shouldn't live anymore? We don't know what, if any, awareness she has - perhaps it doesn't matter to her that no one visits her for several days. Perhaps she is healing and has no sense of time. Is her life any less valuable because she spends days of it alone?

But I also wonder if the reason she doesn't wake up from her coma is that she doesn't want to. She, after all, attempted suicide. Could living be torture for her? She can't get the therapy she needs now to want to live. If she could - would she say pull the plug? We all have the right to refuse treatment, but she can't refuse it. Is it wrong to give life sustaining treatment to a person who has attempted suicide and failed?

I don't know anymore. I was sure before that she should be given as much time as she needed to recover. Months, years, whatever it took. But now I wonder. Is she hanging on or is she being tortured by being forced to live?

We can only guess.

Note: Everytime I post about these friends - something new happens. Well about the time I was writing this she woke up again. Still not communicating, but her eyes are open and she is tracking things.

End of day - she is moving a little, talking a little - things are looking good.

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