Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A "Peaceful Death"

We lost one of our pets last week, a mixed-breed cat my daughter named "ItsyBits" because as a kitten he'd been the runt of the litter. ItsyBits died from feline lukemia - not the viral kind, but the blood cancer that is fatal more often than not in cats.

ItsyBits quit eating about three weeks ago. After a week of coaxing and trying to force-feed him, we took him to the vet. The bloodwork came back with the bad news - elevated white blood cell count, and some other serum changes that indicated lukemia. He also had a cancerous growth in his abdomen that was blocking his digestive tract, one of the reasons he wouldn't eat.

We did everything possible to make ItsyBits' last days on this earth comfortable. We helped him to the water bowl to drink, and cleaned up his accidents from the floor when he couldn't get to the kitty litter. The vet gave us something to help ease his pain, since the lack of vitamins and trace elements were causing muscle spasms, cramps, and other painful physical reactions to self-imposed starvation.

ItsyBits was never comfortable. He constantly tried to move from one place to another, searching for a comfortable spot. Noise bothered him, light bothered him, and holding or petting him was physically painful for him. I'm sure death was a release from pain for him, and he welcomed it.

There was nothing we could do to cure ItsyBits. The lukemia was too far advanced to cure it, and the growth in his abdomen was definitely malignant and spreading. All we could do was whatever we could to make him as comfortable as possible, and to let him know he was loved. Even with a half-dozen other cats in our household, he will be missed.

The situation with Terri Schiavo is different. There are no life-threatening illnesses wracking Terri's body. She has some form of brain damage - the extent has never been evaluated or determined. She has little control over her own body, but does experience life. She doesn't require any major external help to continue to live, only a tube that delivers food and water to her body.

Terri may respond to physical therapy, but we don't know, because it's never been provided as a long-term treatment plan. She may recover some of her mental abilities, but we don't know, because we don't really know what's wrong with her. She obviously isn't a vegetable, since she responds to outside stimulus. Yet Terri Schiavo is going to be forced to undergo the long-term suffering of starving to death that ItsyBits endured, simply to please her husband and the courts.

May God have mercy on Terri Schiavo, and may He forgive her husband, his attorney, and the judge that issued the final order that will force Terri Schiavo to die.


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