What do you imagine is happening when you see this scene:
I am lying in a hospital bed, very ill with aspiration pneumonia and starvation. I have a visitor from out of state, someone who recently lost her father to pneumonia and wants to see me just in case. A doctor walks in.
This is a teaching hospital, so he’s not alone. He’s followed into the room by a line of assorted med students, residents, and the like. I call them ducklings, because they followt he main doctor around in a line. Someone online said “Not ducklings, doclings.” So now they’re doclings.
So the pulmonologist — not my pulmonologist, just a pulmonologist — walks into my room followed by a gaggle of doclings, who fan out around my bed. And the first thing out of his mouth is a solemn, “Are you at peace with your decision?”
I say yes.
He repeats his question, “Are you at peace with your decision?”
I say yes.
This keeps happening until he solemnly leads the doclingsgout
What would you assume was going on there?
Because I’d assume that I’d chosen to end my medical treatment and go home and die, or something along those lines.
But that’s not what he was doing.
His question was about whether I’d be at peace with getting the feeding tube that ultimately saved my life.
Guess what, doctor?
I’ve had feeding tubes for six or seven years now.
I’ve had my share of complications. Infections, abscesses, a tube wrapping around my intestine.
I. Still. Want. My. Tubes.
My tubes are life, not death. When you get a feeding tube, nobody should ever treat it as if you’ve just chosen to die. But they do.
For my 38th birthday dinner, I had soup: Sweet Pea (sweet peas) and Super Greens (spinach, broccoli, green peas, and coconut).
Then I had kombucha.
I enjoyed all of it.
And I’d never have reached the age of 38 without my feeding tubes.
So the answer to the question is still the following:
Yes, but your question and the way you’re asking it could get someone killed.
Stop treating people choosing to live as if we’ve chosen to die.