Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sketches ........!

Ravi is a person of many talents and facets. The most endearing quality he has is that he can wholeheartedly laugh at himself, just as he makes fun of the absurdity of life at times. Like all artists he's more into himself than the outer world, and perhaps, out of that ocean of creativity hidden within, he etches out his beautiful sculptures and drawings. And like a true artist, he's more concerned with making his concepts clear to the layman than hanker after recognition and applause.

This week he has an exhibition of his drawings at 'Time and Space Gallery', on Lavelle road.(connecting M.G.Road and Vittal malya road). Art enthusiasts in bangalore and all of us who wish to open our minds to new horizons should visit the exhibition between 15 and 21st of this month and also listen to ravi as he talks about his art, ideas and inspiration.

Religion of hatred and destruction? Why---Islam of course! Wit has an interesting perspective on this issue.

Comments to our posts! Who doesn't want them? Many times these comments sprak fresh ideas in our otherwise nascent brains or we enter into healthy(?) discussions over some issues. Well, here's an arguement over why you should disable the comments section.

A friend's dad who's suffering from kidney failure is in a critical condition---he's in the ICU for the past 4 days. When I met my friend yesterday, he spoke about the severe pain his dad has to bear with, and about the doctors having given up hope, etc. 'We're all prepared for the worst,' he said,'but it's difficult to see my dad suffering.'

I said,'What is everyone waiting for?' He explained something but I realised the insensitivity in my words only a bit later.

The elderly man had lived life to the fullest and now death was at his doorstep. But it would be an agonising death, not an easy one.Those who were around him, who loved him, couldn't make sure that his departure would be a smooth one, without much pain and suffering. The doctors had said earlier that this was the rarest of the rarest case, and they couldn't diagnose what was wrong with the patient. 'It's like a case study for us', they'd said. Wonderful!! And the relatives from far and near were trickling in, to have a last glimpse of the dying man. Good!! The sons must've been torn between their eagerness to keep their dad alive as long as possible, hoping for some miraculous recovery and on the other hand, the agony of seeing him suffer, praying that he pass away as quickly and painlessly as possible.

What's the best course of action in such a situation, when it's clear that nothing can be done? Do you endorse euthanasia and remove the life-support system? Or do you go for the best medical treatment and keep him alive as long as possible?

Two questions still linger in my mind. One, if the dying person was not an oldman in his 70s but a small child, would we still oscillate between euthanasia and prolonged treatment?

Two-- isn't it funny how our perceptions change once a person is on the deathbed--how we view him differently when he was healthy and how we wish for 'certain' things because he's sick and beyond recovery?

What are the thoughts of that elderly person? What would be my state of thinking and living if I end up there?


  1. Hello:)
    A elder if able to talk can express what he or she wants for his or her diagnosis, but a child hasn't a say, because he or she doesn't knows really what's going on, so the parents need to make the choice. My daughter almost died at the age of 3, and then I wanted her to be happy either with me or Christ and of course I wanted her with me, but now what we are going through with her, sometimes I wonder if I should of let Christ have her, but of course you do anything for your own child, so she lived and now she's here struggling. My parents are 77 and 81 and I would do anything to keep them here on earth as long a possible, but really it would be their dessision and they know what will make them happy. I don't know if I answered to what you wanted, but this is what I think. Take care:) Elisa:)

  2. Laughing at one’s self is a wonderful gift. I am able to do so much of the time, but there are other times when my demoralized Ego can’t break a smile. Then I sometimes I remember the words of the man who the director of social services for Kentucky when I was a beginning social worker, “Remember the Eleventh Commandment for social workers—“Thy shall not take thyself seriously.”

    Thanks for the link to the blogchaat post of Islamic terrorism. The facts are basically accurate. Yet, what seems missing is the role that Islamic fundamentalism plays. In May of 2005 I wrote a piece on my blog entitled “A Fundamentalist Is a Fundamentalist.” By its very nature, cotemporary religious fundamentalism can have its fanatic/terrorist fringe. In that post I quoted an interview with Karen Armstrong, author of the excellent book on fundamentalism entitled “The Battle for God’:

    Dave: But in regards to fundamentalism, as differently as it may have manifested in each religion, something all fundamentalists share is the fear of annihilation, the fear that their way of life will not survive. And it's a legitimate fear.

    Armstrong: It's true. In the Muslim countries, that has been immensely true. In Judaism, fundamentalism took major leaps forward, first just after the Holocaust, then again after the 1973 war when Israel suddenly felt vulnerable again and felt its isolation in the Middle East. Then look at Muslims whose modernizers were aggressive and mowed you down in a mosque if you didn't wear modern dress; or took women's veils off in the street and ripped them to pieces in front of them with a bayonet; tortured mullahs; abolished Sufi orders and forced them underground This is experienced by the ordinary Muslim in the street as an assault against religion, and yet what are these modernizers supposed to do? They've got to modernize fast. They've got to secularize. Somehow we've got to see that this has been counterproductive.

    What we know from the past is that when fundamentalists are attacked, whether they're Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, they become more extreme. Certainly that happened in this country at the time of the Scopes trial. The ridicule they faced at the hands of the secular press led fundamentalists to go from the left of the political spectrum to the right, where they've remained.

    I don’t want to take up all of the comments space, so I’ll stop now with one last word regarding your link on not having comments: Yeah, I get flamer’s comments, too. But just like the spam, I simply delete and ignore them.

  3. Elisa...If the elderly person could speak, he'd have chosen to depart soon, without much pain and fuss. We do have our individual perceptions and opinions on this subject---whether to prolong the treatment or to allow the ailing person to pass away. However, the best course of action could be taken keeping in view, the interests and condition of the patient. This is a grey area and cannot be generalised. My opinion, in this case, would be to allow the person to have a peaceful death.
    With children, the parents should take a decision and it's very tough to decide against prolonging treatment.
    However, if we look at death not as a horrible end but a part of life itself, then maybe our perspectives change. All complications seem to arise out of treating death with horror and feeling a sense of guilt when something like this happens. Or maybe it's our attachment to our dear ones and an inability to deal with our emotions in a proper way.

    Nick....'Thy shall not take thy seriously.' Fantastic. How wonderful would it be if everyone of us is taught such things very early on in life?
    Honestly, your comments to my post are more interesting than the post itself. So I, for one, wouldn't think about disabling the comments option.

  4. Very interesting questions posed by you regarding euthanasia.I do believe inspite of written protocols and law, each person faced with similar situations goes through a hundred emotions, with answers difficult to find.I have only worked in India and England and I know that euthanasia or mercy killing is not permitted by law.From a medical point of view, once we have done everything under the sun to ensure recovery, and we are convinced that no further intervention is going to bring about any cure,or relief,then we are but forced to let nature take its course with the patient.But as medical professionals we are bound to keep the patient symptom free.Which basically means take care of pain,vomiting and make living as pain free as possible.Giving up on a patient doesn't mean not ensuring a quality of life for whatever its worth.It only means that no active intervention will be further undertaken in the form of external feeding, resuscitation in case the breathing or the heart stops etc.
    Same is the case with childdren.Similar guidelines are laid down for them.How ever in the recent years there have been more legal interventions allowing the parents the right to continue life.
    However the aspect has a different angle to it,when patient's family comes into the picture.That for me is going beyond the scope of this comment column.

  5. Edu....Thanks for a doctor's perspective on this subject. Sometimes i'd wonder how the doctors and nurses who attend to the terminally ill patients would feel. Do they think similarly about not prolonging the treatment? Or after being accustomed to death and suffering for so long, do they become numb and cold?
    Once my friend's wife had labour complications and we all were worried about what would happen, what next, etc, and the senior doctor (who also owned the nursing home) cooly told my friend to first make all the payments and then go ahead with other plans(Whether to abort the baby or not). It was shocking!
    Thanks once again for your views.