2006-07-21 17:42:09 UTC
BY PAMELA R. WINNICK
Friday, July 21, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
Afflicted with asbestos-related lung cancer, my father, Louis Winnick,
was rushed into the ICU in late May after a blood clot nearly killed
him. The next day, my husband and I raced to New York from Pittsburgh.
I packed enough work and knitting for what might be an extended stay,
but I also put in a suit for what I was certain would be my father's
imminent funeral. Still, he wasn't dead yet. And we had no intention
of precipitating the inevitable.
I complained about all the death-with-dignity pressure to my father's
doctor, an Orthodox Jew, who said that his religion forbids the
termination of care but that he would be perfectly willing to "look
the other way" if we wanted my father to die. We didn't. Then a light
bulb went off in my head. We could devise a strategy to fend off the
death-happy residents: We would tell them we were Orthodox Jews.
My little ruse worked. During the few days after I announced this faux
fact, it was as though an invisible fence had been drawn around my
mother, my sister and me. No one dared mutter that hateful phrase
"death with dignity."
Though my father was born to an Orthodox Jewish family, he is an
avowed atheist who long ago had rejected his parents' ways. As I sat
in the ICU, blips on the various screens the only proof that my father
was alive, the irony struck me: My father, who had long ago rejected
Orthodox Judaism, was now under its protection.
As though to confirm this, there came a series of miracles. Just a
week after he was rushed to ICU, my father was pronounced well enough
to be moved out of the unit into North Shore's long-term respiratory
care unit. A day later he was off the respirator, able to breathe on
his own. He still mostly slept, but then he began to awaken for
minutes at a time, at first groggy, but soon he was as alert (and
funny) as ever. A day later, we walked in to find him sitting upright
in a chair, reading the New York Times.
Full article at http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110008686
Yisroel "Godwrestler Warriorson" Markov - Boston, MA Member
www.reason.com -- for unbiased analysis of the world DNRC
"Judge, and be prepared to be judged" -- Ayn Rand