Friday, September 17, 2010

If I were just a stump would you feed me Doritos?

I haven't yet documented my DNR, but I'm clear that I don't value life (or fear death?) enough to crave extraordinary heroic life saving heroic measures in the event (knock on wood) that something terrible happens to me. I haven't documented my DNR yet because I'm not sure where the line gets drawn.

My older sister and I were talking about this issue today vis-a-vis her decision making about heroic measures for both of her dogs who are suffering from slightly out-of-the-ordinary maladies.

Big Sister H articulated her (also undocumented) DNR beautifully when she said, "I don't want heroic measures if they will result in me breathing but with a poor quality of life."

"But how do you define 'poor quality of life'" I asked. "This is why my DNR or living will isn't yet written down. I'm now sure where to draw the line."

My sister explained that if she is in a position where she is in constant pain or severe discomfort, or she can't enjoy her life x% of the time - regardless of her mobility, she'd experience that as low quality of life.

I persisted. "What if you had no arms and no legs, but still had full capacity to 'enjoy' things. Is that quality of life?"

"Well, I don't think I'd have good quality of life if I were just a stump," she conceded. "Unless....there was always someone around to feed me Doritos, because I think that would bring me enjoyment if I were just a stump." She paused. "In fact, if they just put a big bowl of Doritos near my stumpy self that I could then stick my face in to eat whenever I wanted, that would probably be a good enough quality of life."


I'm still not sure what my 'quality of life' threshold is. Join the conversation. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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