vegetables

vegetable – a person who is so severely impaired mentally or physically as to be largely incapable of conscious responses or activity.

a person who is in the vegetative state suffers from a long-term, chronic condition but it is not to be confused with someone with a coma, which is a state in which one lacks both awareness and wakefulness.  a vegetable can wake up from a coma but still have no awareness.  in colloquial terms, you are brain-dead (or brain-dying).

so.  if you are a vegetable, what do you do?  what is there you can do?  can you do anything?  in most cases, the answer is nothing.  the longer you spend in vegetable-land, the harder it is to ever to get out.  if you’ve ever watched Inception, it’s kinda like limbo.  the longer you spend in it, the more brain damage you suffer.  and even if you do recover, you’ll have to spend an indefinite amount of time doing physical/mental therapy for all those brain cells you lost.  if you stay a vegetable for longer than 12 months, you are now in the permanent vegetative state.  or what i like to call, the “dead zone”.

if you are on your way to the dead zone, or even just on your way to vegetable, whether it be a coma, alzheimer’s, etc, you’re obviously gonna be on life support.  the next big question is: do i pull the plug or not?  needless to say, that decision is beyond your control.  but let’s suppose in a hypothetical situation, you were given the choice to decide beforehand, whether to live or die.  now the question becomes more complicated.  should i keep the life support on so maybe one day, i might wake up?  what if it takes so long that my brain is already fried?  what if i forget how to perform simple body functions? what if i don’t remember any of my friends?  what if i just become a crazy maniac who should belong in a padded cell?  is it even worth staying alive after waking up?  what if i don’t wake up?  okay so maybe it isn’t worth it then.  i’ll tell them to pull the plug.  but wait a minute, isn’t that the same thing as committing suicide?  suicide is a sin.  even though i’m not the one actually pulling the plug, i’m ultimately the one who made the decision to end my own life.  does that still count?

this is definitely one of the questions that i’ve had the most difficult time answering and i still don’t know what i would do if i had to make that decision.  once you recover from a vegetative state, are you actually still “alive”?  your brain is still functioning (kind of) but is your soul still there with you?  or has it already gone into the afterlife (if you believe in such things)?  but i guess by that time, it wouldn’t even matter anymore.  i just hope that i’ll never have to find out.

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