Thursday, November 30, 2006

Beauty & Death

Quite the unusal title for a post, but I could not come up with something more witty that would go along with the two unusual pairings that I am offering up today. Spent a good amount of time studying the musculoskeletal system and brain trauma / neck and head injury while also taking breaks, at the coffee mega giant, to read all the newspapers. A treat that I have not had time to indulge recently. I have not worked since Tuesday and do not work again until next Monday, so I am able to take a slower pace and not push quite so hard.

Anyway, among all the more important news items of poisoned spies, the war, Prez and his escapades, more police shootings and other such topics there were two things that caught my attention that could not be more diverse from each other. Beauty and death.

Assisted suicide is what we like to call it in this country. It is illegal in Spain. A woman with muscular dystrophy is seeking help to die. She has been in a hospital bed for 20 years. Immaculada Echevarria is now 51 years old. That means that at the age of 31, when life is still so young and with much joy to be had, she became bed ridden. She says that , " Life stopped having meaning for ma a long time ago. I want them to help me die because I have spent my whole life suffering." She fell ill at the age of 11 and must be connected to a respirator to stay alive. She wants to be taken off and allowed to die. In May, of this year, a man was taken off his ventilator, by an unknow source and he died. he too had a terminal illness and because it could not be proven who pulled the plug no one was ever charged. She is asking her government to reconsider their law.

I know that if I was close to someone that was in this type of situation and they asked me I do not think that I could tell them no. How can we watch anyone that we love and care for suffer? Especially through dibilitating diseases? All and any religious thoughts and / or notes aside. Why is it so wrong? To honor the wishes of those we love? If this is their desire and they are still able to articulate their wishes? The diseases are not only killing the person who has it, but also those family members that must watch them daily and care for them or visit them in special nursing home and hospitals.

This lady just wants to be unhooked so she can stop breathing. She is not even asking for any lethal drugs, just some sedation to ease whatever pain and so she would not suffer. Is that too much to ask? Who should decide how long to prolong the suffering of others?

Then finally, we come to the big business of beauty. It seems, according to today's New York Times article, that Americans spend around $12 billion a year, and that is an estimate, on invasive beauty stuff like Botox etc. It is such a lucrative line to follow that even more traditional doctors, such as OBGYN's are now getting into the race. The race for the almighty beauty dollar and a piece of the "Barbie pie". Five years ago all of this was the domain of plastic surgeons and their ilk, but now it seems that everyone is wanting to spread their wings and enter the fray. It seems as if injecting Botox to smooth out wrinkles, Restylane to fill out smiles plump their lips is the menu du jour. Since medical insurance does not cover this sort of vain procedure it is all cash up front and there you have the, pardon the pun, beauty of it all. oodles of women and maybe even some men are willing to dish out big bucks for the chance to keep looking younger. Seriously, look how good Joan Rivers looks!!

I don't know. I know that doctors do have hefty insurances to pay and they are looking for lucrative ways to add some extra cash to their coffers, but the article does go on to say that they are not getting the same length of training that regular platic surgeons etc. receive.

Sure, I would love to be able to afford some of this stuff. If the idea of injecting botulism into my face did not also scare the crap out of me. I still can not believe that a local up scale community around here actually has Botox parties!! Well, maybe soon the Tupperware ladies will also be able to shoot ya up and cover both avenues. Then, if they also start to sell pizza stones and veggie dips they will have a corner on the market. A market that does not ahow any signs of slowing down.


Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dawg said...

This is a very thoughtful and thought provoking post,Dharma...thank you.Our society has made death such a big boogey man that death with dignity is something not often allowed.Life at all cost,so to speak.I find it strange that the way of choosing Christian love is by making a person to needlessly suffer beyond any justifiable amounts in the name of life at all cost.What is heaven supposed to be...chopped liver?
As for beauty,concentration camp chic is repulsive to me...give me someone with real beauty any day.Real beauty is someone mostly happy with who and what they are,and only try to enhance their looks,not disguise who and what they are.For instanst,I believe women in their 40's are the most beautiful of all of God's creatures.Why would such a woman go through surgery to take away this natural beauty?Corporate vanity?It's mind bogglying

Dharma said...

I love your idea of "concentration camp chic". Very funny!! They are basically assembly line, deer in the headlights looking bimbos. Sure, I hate the idea of the wrinkles and sagging, but at what cost are they doing this to themselves? Injecting poisons? Implanting foriegn objects in their bodies? You know this all can not be healthy at all!! Just look how crappy and botched up Meg Ryan looks now. Not so cute anymore.

Mixter said...

I don't understand what all the hubbub is about death. We all have to do it! It's a part of life; none of us gets out of here alive! If I had a loved one who was desperate and wanted help easing out of this life, I would do it. No doubt about it. And I hope that if I ever was in that type of situation that my loved ones would do the same for me. I'm not afraid of death, even though I have no idea what, if anything, comes after.

Botox? Injecting poison into my face? No flippin' way! I like my wrinkles, and dammit, I earned them! (Mine are mostly laugh lines anyway...) I happen to think I'm pretty good looking just the way I am! Fortunately, I have never had a self-esteem problem...

Good post!