Her father is sick, again—but this time she’s asked to choose.
The will of the father; the wishes of the daughter.
His body is spent; and intuitively, he knows it. Still he clings to life by one thin thread of hope.
She’s become the designated caregiver. Emotionally exhausted, she has no energy left for family and friends. Her career has suffered, and she wants her life back.
Suddenly, she has been charged with making a decision on his behalf: to intervene or not to intervene, knowing full well that intervention will ultimately only prolong her father’s suffering.
It would be so easy to say: “No, don’t intubate; let’s end this folie a deux right now and get on with our lives.”
Yet for him, that is not the right thing to do.
As his daughter, she respects his will to live.
In this case, technology is a curse. If we didn’t have ET tubes and ventilators, life would take its natural course. We have created our own demons, and they constantly come back to taunt us: in this case, six additional months of ventilator dependence, dialysis and a feeding tube before death from heart failure.
What a pity this whole scenario could not have been discussed with the father during one of his more lucid moments! Perhaps then he could have made a more rational decision.
But then, death is never rational, is it?