Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Dreams May Come...

Screen shot from Fox
website of Masters in House

This week on House, there was a dilemma I'd like to discuss.  I won't give the detail so as not to spoil it for anyone who missed it and still want to watch it.  It was a hard episode.  Some episodes are like that every season.  This was one of them.

To summarize the issue, not the story, there was a young sixteen year old girl, who had a condition that had a high chance of killing her.  There was a solution, a hard solution, that would more than likely save her life, but would mean missing the opportunity of an immediate dream, a sailboat race, and possibly mean never sailing again, the thing she loved more than anything.  She wanted to put the decision of the procedure off until after the race, but there was a high chance it would be too late by then.

The girl convinces her mother to side with her, but the dad thinks they should do it to save his little girl's life.  The mother tells the dad if he signs the consent forms and allows the hospital to perform the procedure, she will divorce him.  She has threatened this before to get her way and started the process before he gave in, so he knows she's serious.  He is torn up inside and doesn't sign because he doesn't want to lose her.  I won't tell what ended up happening and will let you watch and find out.

There are several issues here I'd like to discuss.  First, is a long life worth it if you can't live your dream?  Is a life without dreams really a life?  Second, should someone make a decision that effects someone else without them?  Third, should a child, a minor, be allowed to make life and death decisions about their health and their life?  Fourth, is it alright to choose your marriage over the life of your child?

Is a long life worth it if you can't follow your dream?  Is a life without dreams really life?

First of all, do your dreams always stay the same throughout life?  when I was her she, I wanted to be a marine biologist.  I lived near the Oregon Coast and loved walking along the tidal pools, looking at the animals.  I loved learning about various marine animals.  I loved everything about the ocean.  But as I got older, I realized what I wanted was to be a field marine biologist but would start out as a research marine biologist and may never get to the part of it that I longed for.  I still love those things but I moved on and found other dreams.

Dreams change over time and the death of one dream doesn't mean you'll never find another dream.  Not that you should give away your dreams and give up on them easily or lightly.  You need to fight for your dreams.  Dreams are important and are what makes life worth living.  A life without dreams is no life at all.  But sometimes you have to make hard choices.  As Robert Cochrane said, "Do not do what you desire, do what is necessary."

Should someone make a decision that effects someone else without them?  I'm not talking about decisions that effect the person directly but the other person indirectly, like an abortion effecting the father of the baby, or a sex change effecting a spouse and children.  I think it's best to talk to the other people involved, but it's ultimately that person's decision.  I'm talking about circumstances where the person directly effected has the decision made for them.

An example from House was when House didn't want a surgery done on him and made it clear, and while he was in a coma, his ex, who could legally consent for him while he was in the coma had it done.  She knew he didn't want it, but did it anyway.

Another example is in the movie Adjustment Bureau.  The main guy was told that if he stayed with her, something would happen and though they'd be together, she wouldn't be able to live her dream.  Instead of talking to her about it and asking if she'd rather live her dream or be with him, he made the decision for her and left.

I think that no one should ever have their ability to make their own choices away from them.  For instance people with handicaps are often not allowed to be part of the decisions that effect their lives.  I think they should be involved to the largest extent possible with their abilities.  Likewise, people in old folks homes shouldn't have their choices taken away from them simply because they are old and don't live on their or own.

I struggle on this issue in the cases of suicide and assisted suicide.  If I have the right to live, do I have the right to die?

Should a child, a minor, be able to make life and decisions about their health and their life?  I struggle on this one.  On one hand, as I said, I believe everyone should have the right to make their own decisions.  On the other, part of the reason children have legal guardians is that they don't have the experience to see the long term.  A good parent should be able to look objectively at the situation, listen to their child's thoughts and desires, and make the decision best for the child.  To quote the Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what you want.  Sometimes you get what you need."  Of course, the next question is are all parents good parents, also, are all parents objective, and do all parents listen to their child?  There is a reason the courts sometimes have to step in and make the decision for the parents.

Is it alright to choose your marriage over the life of your child?  In the literal sense, of course not.  But how many parents compromise what is best for their child purely to keep their spouse happy?  Think about it.

So, what are your answers to these four questions?


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