"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dear Scott Adams, Love Dilbert, but you're blaming the wrong person
Posted by Jill | 11:04 PM
Everyone who's ever worked in an office chuckles at Dilbert, but its creator, Scott Adams, is a douchebag. He likes to fancy himself a libertarian, but like many libertarians, he's just a douche. In his latest missive, he's decided that it's the government's fault that his 86-year-old father was being kept alive in a hospital by means he does not detail:

My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I'll spare you the details, but it's as close to a living Hell as you can get.

If my dad were a cat, we would have put him to sleep long ago. And not once would we have looked back and thought too soon.

Because it's not too soon. It's far too late. His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering. Rarely has money been so poorly spent.

I'd like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can't make that decision. Neither can his doctors. So, for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies.

Scotty, if you want to blame someone for this state of affairs, blame your father for not doing an advance directive. With an advance directive, you would have been able to meet with his doctors and determine what treatment was appropriate for his condition. Anyone who is in his or her eighties and doesn't have one should do one now. Even if you are younger, you should do one now.

I went to an attorney this week to draw up a will and an advance directive with a healthcare proxy, so that if I am ever in a situation like the one Mr. Brilliant was in, I'm not kept suspended between this world and the next for months or years with a tube to make me piss, another up my ass, a PICC line in my clavicle, an arterial line in my arm, and a ventilator and nasogastric feeding tube down my throat. That's not to say I don't want a chance at reasonable quality of life, but when to withdraw care isn't always a simple question, and I know that as well as anyone. I will always be grateful to Mr. B.'s doctors for heeding my pleas to be honest with me about his prognosis and whether it was going to be worth putting him through the invasive things he went through. They wanted as much as I did for him to come back from whatever place he went to when his brain started seizing and he had to be on heavy sedation and four anti-epilepsy drugs in order to quiet it enough to keep the seizures from coming back. There are people who have had strokes and left the neuro ICU with a trach and PEG and woke up six months later. But they are the exception, not the rule. And when it was clear that no amount of any medication was going to keep the seizures at bay without keeping him in a coma indefinitely, perhaps permanently, they offered him as quiet, painless, and fear-free an end as was possible. And they could do that because Mr. B. was thoughtful enough to make his wishes known well in advance.

So, Scott Adams, it wasn't the government keeping your father alive against YOUR will, since we don't know what his will was (and what the hell does his estate matter to you anyway? You're a fucking multimillionaire). It was your father himself, who put you, your family, and his doctors in the position of not knowing what he would want. You're blaming the wrong person, pal.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share
Blogger Jimbo said...
Scott Adams, another clueless wingnut? What is happening to this country and are we seriously doomed by having a mainstream media (including comics) that are just ignorant?

Anonymous newbroom said...
I appreciate your thoughts on this important subject.

Anonymous The WP said...
You know how I feel about this. Adams doesn't mention from what his father suffers. Was the expectation that he would die quickly....or did the disease drag on?

Adams' says: "'d like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. "

His issue seems to be assisted suicide, not hospice or machines or even health care directive. It sounds as if the dad did not provide guidance on hospice or anything like that. That's something a little difference from "keeping" someone alive. Or was the dad in a hospice being allowed to pass on his own? Again, Adams doesn't tell us what his father wanted.

He sounds hurt and angry and powerless. I agree his anger is misplaced, but let's cut him at least a little slack.

Blogger jurassicpork said...
I'm surprised to hear that his dad was able to get on the ObamaCare website, switch his health care plan for a cheaper one and all before he began going downhill. Where does it say ObamaCare doesn't allow people with POA to pull the plug? And does Adams even have Power of Attorney?

The whole death panel meme, amplified by Sarah Palin, was over a provision in which end of life consultations with physicians would be covered under ObamaCare's provisions. I can't recall if the Democrats left that in or took it out as a bone they threw to Republicans. But either way, ObamaCare does not prevent a person from pulling the plug when quality of life isn't in the prognosis. Plus, ObamaCare is not a government health care plan, but merely a mildly regulated gateway to the free market. You would think a Libertarian loony like Scott Adams would know that, since they're "Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah" over the Free Market 24/7.

Blogger The New York Crank said...
I've got a living will that specifies that the plug is to be pulled and when;and so did my late girlfriend, but take my word for it, assisted suicide would be easier.

When it was obvious she would never recover, when her doctors showed us cat scans of my late girlfriend's brain, withered by her own unstoppable internal bleeding, her son gave the order to withdraw life support, per her wishes.

We were told by the medical professionals that there was nothing left except a reptilian brain, that she was not thinking or feeling. But watching her go was one of the most horrifying experiences of my life. Maybe the most horrifying.

For 45 minutes, that reptilian something kept fighting, making her gasp for air, causing her chest to heave, fighting with extraordinary strength. It was like watching her slowly drown.

The people in the ICU and her son were following her orders. If I suffer the same end, someone will be following my almost identical orders. But make no mistake; there is something elemental in us that will not go easily, no matter what rational decisions we make for ourselves.

I am in favor of living wills. I support the right to die. But I hope no one ever has to exercise it on my behalf. With luck, perhaps I'll simply go to bed one night and not wake up.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Blogger Batocchio said...
All good points. When I read his statement I also thought, his less conservative political views notwithstanding, maybe he shouldn't endorse the party that interfered with Terri Schiavo, ran around screaming about death panels (and opposed end-of-life discussions), and generally opposes a right to die.

(More importantly, condolences again to you and to New York Crank.)