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Quadraplegic athlete decides to end her life

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    #46
    Eileen, My heart breaks for you hearing the sadness and abandonment that you still must feel. I can relate on that level, Though our family was there a bit at the beginning they quickly fell by the wayside as they saw us more as an inconvenience in their lives. We haven't seen or spoken to our son in 4 years. We are almost 5 years post.

    I think that this woman's age was a factor in potential recovery. It is in the literature for sci and non sci alike, that age is a complication in recovery. The body just doesn't heal as well or as quickly as we age. I didn't mean my comment to about her age to indicate anything other than this. I think my husband may have attained more return if he were younger. But the years of weight lifting, playing football and running though keeping him strong in someways also caused damage. I know that since he was a weight lifter all of his life, he has never broken anything during the almost uncountable times that he has fallen since his SCI. His bone density is probably massive. I remember him getting out of bed in the morning pre sci very stiff and with difficulty. That stiffness and arthritis still plagues him now, and is further complicated by tone and spasms.

    I doubt that this womans family really had all the information to consider when they decided to end her life. But having witnessed what my husband has gone through, including an unsympathetic view of his inability to adjust, if we had had the choice back then, I would have made the same decision.

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      #47
      Originally posted by Eileen
      I think her age irrelevant, and anyone who defines themselves as an athlete first is bound for future dissapointment if they live long enough.
      Glad you said this, Eileen. It's sooooooo true. I think that some folks are so filled with self-hatred (at having physical challenges) that they live in a constant state of denial about the fact that they are human and that exercise can not cure everything.

      Some folks erroneously think that aging is equated with declining worth. Those people will either have to change their attitudes as they age or be even more miserable in their own skin than they are now.
      "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

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        #48
        Originally posted by kittim
        ... having witnessed what my husband has gone through, including an unsympathetic view of his inability to adjust, if we had had the choice back then, I would have made the same decision.
        onset of SCI later in life is always a difficult, if not impossible, adjustment. In 30 years I've watched a lot of older men struggle. Hang in there.

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          #49
          OMG Eileen - I had no idea. That must have been terrible!!! My parents weren't allowed to visit during the week at the hospital and they were encouraged to only visit one day on the weekends. This was supposed to keep me focused on rehab. I was always left wondering why they didn't just break the rules? I would have if it were my child.
          Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

          T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

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            #50
            Originally posted by Eileen
            Kittim,
            I am very sorry your husband feels the way he does, and can only try to imagine how difficult it is for both him to essentially be waiting for death, and for you to have to live with and witness those feelings. Like Juke, I am sometimes surprised at the ageism that goes on within this community, and can't help but wonder if this woman, with her supportive family, could have had a good shot at enjoying what was left of her life despite the injury. I was injured at 17 and had no family support at all, on any front. Not emotionally, not financially, nothing. I spent my days in the hospital trying to make excuses for my parents who did not visit, while crying silently and privately at being alone in one of the worst moment of my life. Maybe the lack of family support pushed me in ways that ultimately helped me to self-advocate and to take control of my own destiny, but that doesn't lessen the pain, then or now, of a family who did not want me. So, I have a very different take on this, on anyone who has supportive family and doesn't understand how lucky they are and how much of a difference it can make. I think her age irrelevant, and anyone who defines themselves as an athlete first is bound for future dissapointment if they live long enough.
            Eileen {hugs} I'm so sorry you had to go thru sci alone. at 17 y/o even!
            I don't know how you did it. You grew up the hard way, into a remarable woman with a beautiful heart & spirit. What courage you have lady. You're one in a million!!!
            sigpic

            Comment


              #51
              Originally posted by lynnifer
              OMG Eileen - I had no idea. That must have been terrible!!! My parents weren't allowed to visit during the week at the hospital and they were encouraged to only visit one day on the weekends. This was supposed to keep me focused on rehab. I was always left wondering why they didn't just break the rules? I would have if it were my child.
              I know I would! I would have put them in their place.
              We all have the physical & emotional pain surviving sci,
              but to add on the lack of family to help us get thru it, just floors me.
              If I remember right you were just 12 y/o.
              I'm so sorry Lynnifer. {hugs} My heart hurts for the pain you endured.
              To lay there paralyzed wondering why they didn't come is hard to understand.
              You're a class act to not be bitter at the world.
              sigpic

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                #52
                Thank you Kittem and Lynnifer for your kind comments. Yes, it was pretty terrible, but not totally unpredictable either, since one doesn't go from being a great parent to an absent parent overnight. I think in many ways I was just so embarrassed and lonely. The hospital chaplin was an incredible guy who must have realized (well, I am sure the entire staff realized) that things were not exactly well on the family level, and he sort of stepped into the void in many ways. I was on a Stryker frame, and one day he pretended to kidnap me, pushing me through the hospital floors until we got to his private residence (Catholic hospital, so it was attached) where he had gotten me a frappe, which was one of the few things I could stomach at the time. We watched TV and then he pushed me back. In retrospect, I am sure the nurses were all in on it, but they pretended they had no idea where I was and that they had sent out an alert. He visited me for several months after my discharge too, and one of the things I remember about him was that he would arrive, turn his clerical collar around backwards, and tell me he was there as a friend first, and not as a priest.
                One of the things I was trying to express in my post about the quad who is the subject of this post was not about her possible recovery or how much more difficult it might have been because of her age. I agree that it would have been more difficult, but that is not where I was coming from. I think that sometimes people, even here, regard return of function as bigger player in return to happiness than it sometimes is. I guess what I am saying is that having a family who loves and supports you is huge, and while everyone wants as much return as they can get post injury, happiness can be measured in other ways too. If it couldn't be we would see that every quad was miserable and every low para was comparatively happier.

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                  #53
                  Aww, shucks Mona........thank you......

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                    #54
                    live and work for a SCI cure

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                      #55
                      Originally posted by Wesley
                      the difficult part of the story for me is that she had only been injured a few days before. I wonder how many of us would've chosen death if we had been able to in those first few days, weeks, months after injury. The only reason she was blinking instead of talking was probably because they hadn't installed a trach yet. I was on a ventilator for three months after I was first injured and in the future would choose no treatment before facing a lifetime of vent dependency. But should I have had the choice to turn off the vent in the first few weeks of my injury? maybe there's an argument that a recently injured person should be prevented from suicide until they have a clearer picture of their circumstances?
                      i agree. a lot can happen in a year. she could have gotten some return. life and death decisions shouldn't be made within those first few days.
                      Last edited by antiquity; 30 Aug 2008, 7:50 PM.

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                        #56
                        Originally posted by Eileen
                        Thank you Kittem and Lynnifer for your kind comments. Yes, it was pretty terrible, but not totally unpredictable either, since one doesn't go from being a great parent to an absent parent overnight. I think in many ways I was just so embarrassed and lonely. The hospital chaplin was an incredible guy who must have realized (well, I am sure the entire staff realized) that things were not exactly well on the family level, and he sort of stepped into the void in many ways. I was on a Stryker frame, and one day he pretended to kidnap me, pushing me through the hospital floors until we got to his private residence (Catholic hospital, so it was attached) where he had gotten me a frappe, which was one of the few things I could stomach at the time. We watched TV and then he pushed me back. In retrospect, I am sure the nurses were all in on it, but they pretended they had no idea where I was and that they had sent out an alert. He visited me for several months after my discharge too, and one of the things I remember about him was that he would arrive, turn his clerical collar around backwards, and tell me he was there as a friend first, and not as a priest.
                        One of the things I was trying to express in my post about the quad who is the subject of this post was not about her possible recovery or how much more difficult it might have been because of her age. I agree that it would have been more difficult, but that is not where I was coming from. I think that sometimes people, even here, regard return of function as bigger player in return to happiness than it sometimes is. I guess what I am saying is that having a family who loves and supports you is huge, and while everyone wants as much return as they can get post injury, happiness can be measured in other ways too. If it couldn't be we would see that every quad was miserable and every low para was comparatively happier.
                        ita and have pointed that out over the years. a support system is everything. sometimes those who have it don't realize how fortunate they are. one of my greatest fears as i age is becoming dependent on an abusive caregiver.

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                          #57
                          Originally posted by Leif
                          live and work for a SCI cure
                          Yes, she could have been an effective advocate but since she threw in the towel, we'll never know. OTOH, I can't imagine that fact having had much of an impact on her outlook in those critical days post trauma no matter how effectively presented to her.

                          Re. the title, I don't know for sure where Titan was coming from with his comment but it is misleading, leading the reader to expect news about an established quad athlete deciding to end her life.
                          Last edited by Juke_spin; 30 Aug 2008, 8:15 PM.
                          "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
                          J.B.S.Haldane

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                            #58
                            She was injured less then what within 4 days so, who is to say whether she would be "stuck" in that state, temp. yes, but they could not really say. How many were able to talk while on a vent. bty? We all know there is no crystal ball with SCI, the field may like to believe that at some points but there is not.
                            However; it was not our call it was her's, she made her choose, I very staunchly disagree with that but hey, just like everyone else here, I have my OWN opinion that I know it right! I find it somewhat taking the easy route and unfair to those left here but hey that is her choice, not mine. It is not my place to judge.
                            No offense she was "old" and being atheltic, what else could she have done.
                            "I've got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow, the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?"

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                              #59
                              Originally posted by SCIFighter
                              She was injured less then what within 4 days so, who is to say whether she would be "stuck" in that state, temp. yes, but they could not really say. How many were able to talk while on a vent. bty? We all know there is no crystal ball with SCI, the field may like to believe that at some points but there is not.
                              However; it was not our call it was her's, she made her choose, I very staunchly disagree with that but hey, just like everyone else here, I have my OWN opinion that I know it right! I find it somewhat taking the easy route and unfair to those left here but hey that is her choice, not mine. It is not my place to judge.
                              No offense she was "old" and being atheltic, what else could she have done.
                              You write that she "old" and being atheltic, what else could she have done? I guess I imagine her enjoying sunsets, enjoying laughter and conversation with her family and those who she considered friends. I think about all the books she will never read now, the movies she will never see, the concerts, and the fun of dining out in a good restaurant. So, what else could she have done? LOTS.

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                                #60
                                That is my point, she could still have done so much she just went the easy way, so soon, too who knows what time could have done, lots. It is a shame.
                                To me, that kind of is a slap in the face at the many ####### of people who live this life day in day out for years, decades, that hurts to know how someone sees living this life as "oh I can't live like this", look at the people who do! Maybe that is right, those who take the can't live route, can't survive this life so maybe it also should show us WHO DO LIVE this DAY IN DAY OUT HOW STRONG WE TRULY ARE! Something to maybe ponder on, perhaps?
                                "I've got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow, the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?"

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