Thursday, February 11, 2010


I support choice. It is a good thing.


Sometimes, I think people abuse it.

Tonight, I saw 2 people whose choices upset me.

Which is a shame; the thing about choice, individual choice, is that it should be just that. Individual, not affecting anyone else.

But, of course, that is pretty much an abstract concept. Every choice we make is bound to have knock on consequences for others.

Maybe it's the reasons behind the choices that needle me? Maybe I have no right to be bothered by them.

The first choice I didn't really understand, nor the motivation behind it. Maybe that's the point. A young man, seeing his Cardiologist privately, has a dysrhythmia. His heart, intermittently, short circuits, surrendering the regular, ordered beat that thrums out our lives, for a cacophonous, disordered, irregular beat.

A number of treatment options are unfolded for him, and many rejected, some because they are unpalatable, or do not work. One is agreed upon; it seems simple enough, and yet he chooses not to bother.

And so to the ED. Why bother asking for, and taking, an opinion if you won't follow up on it?

Too busy? Forgot? Didn't seem important enough?

Maybe I just don't like this choice because the end result has been another patient in the ED, and maybe I'm workshy. But maybe I know choosing not to treat conditions sometimes has consequences.

The second patient was visiting their alternative health provider when they collapsed. Deep coma followed, and CT showed the deadly tendrils of sub-arachnoid blood, snaking around, and over the brain. The patient, it turns out knew they had high blood pressure, but elected to take herbal remedies rather than prescription meds. Because they didn't want to end up taking a pill for life. Was this choice made in the knowledge that there is little difference in taking a herbal remedy for life, versus taking a prescribed drug for life, purely in terms of the taking?

Is it any comfort that life had turned out to be much shorter this way? Did they make the choice knowing what the consequences would be, or at least could be?

I doubt it, and am ashamed to say I had to bite my tongue to stop from telling her family what a ridiculous choice this seemed to be to me. Not my choice to make, not my place to offer an opinion after the fact.

As if they needed any more evidence.

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