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[Menzo] Heavier than a Mountain by Menzoberranzen


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#1

Graeme

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:26 PM

Heavier than a Mountain by Menzoberranzen

Death is lighter than a feather.


:nuke: :nuke: Spoilers Below!!! :nuke: :nuke:



#2

Graeme

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 10:46 PM

As usual, Menzo is not afraid to deal with tough issues. End of life decisions is one of the big ones, and he's shown some of the subtleties involved.

Personally, I didn't like Quentin. He came over as too black-and-white. The ultimate decision was black-and-white -- do it, or not -- but the process in coming to that answer is nowhere near that easy.

Quentin commented that "He wants to die." What was missing was an extra word -- "He wants to die, now." And that missing word encapsulates a lot of the debate on the subject. How much is it a decision of the now, and how much is a decision that takes into account the future? Ricky seems to have felt that, even though he couldn't articulate it, with his statement, "I love him, I want to see him happy!"

What was the right decision in this situation? I personally can't say. I'm not against the idea of someone choosing to end their life, but I think a lot of care needs to be made on how, when and why that decision is made. I definitely sympathise with Sasha, and I feel Ricky's pain. And I'm just glad I'm not in the position of either one of them and I don't have to make that decision. :(

Thanks, Menzo! :worship: Another fantastic and thought-provoking piece.

There are three types of people in the world - those that understand binary and those that don't.

Now starting to post: Leopard Spots, the sequel to Leopard Skin Cover


#3

Altimexis

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 11:30 PM

End of life decisions are always tough. The most difficult thing I ever did in my life was to help a 50-year-old man who'd been quadraplegic and on a ventilator for 33 years with his decision to end his life. One of the things that really troubled me about the case was that he had the legal right to be removed from his ventilator, but had his injury been slightly lower, he could have breathed on his own and would have had no such right. Isn't suicide the ultimate act of self-expression? Are we not then obligated to help those with a disability end their lives if they so choose?

There are some major differences between this case and mine, however, and they are quite troubling. For one thing, the injury is fresh - he hasn't even tried rehab, yet. Most quadriplegics can expect to regain at least one segmental level within the first year after injury, an some regain significant function. How truly sad it would be if he gave up now, but would have regained the use of his hands if he'd only waited. All newly disabled go through a grieving process - he's not even out of the first phase yet.

My case was reviewed by a hospital committee. He was evaluated by a psychiatrist, seen by pain specialists, spoke with his clergy and was reviewed by an ethics team. He was granted his request, but only after it was determined he was not suicidal and that there was nothing more we could do to relieve his pain. In the end he told me that if he could have lived his life all over again, he wouldn't have changed a thing.

#4

Red_A

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 10:54 AM

This to me comes from the heart, and I will comment on the outcome.

It leads to the on how to handle a similar circumstance, Quentin was hard yes of no, would you be as hard as that.
For me, what is left out of the story is the attitude of Ricky, why was he asking, what did he want to heard. That would be the basus of my advice.

An interesting story.

To Simplify is to Ly
To Understand requires Simplification
Explanations are Lies
G.N.Patchett 1968


#5

Nephylim

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 01:25 PM

It was a beautiful story. I am not sure what I would have done in Ricky's situation but i suspect I would not have gone through with it... not then. As Altimexis says it too soon. If, after six months or a year he still wanted it then that would have been different. But this is fiction and as fiction it certainly had me thinking. I would most certainly want to die on my terms and I would hate to linger on past the time when I am able to get pleasure out of my life.


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#6

Menzoberranzen

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 07:30 PM

Thanks for the response guys!

I realize that this story was not particularly nuanced, and the characters were black and white in their expressions. I agree with altimexis that it was probably too soon for Sasha to make that decision. But I didn't want to foster a debate on the issue; I wanted a simple, harsh portrait that could showcase the issue from one particular facet. That's why there is almost no backstory and we don't know much about the characters other than that they happened to find themselves confronted with the decision between life or death.

Thanks for reading,

Menzo

#7

Hamen Cheese

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 04:45 AM

Supportive of your writing (though euthanasia is a somewhat awkward topic for me). Good job though. :)

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#8

Altimexis

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 08:00 PM

The one thing that hasn't been mentioned here is that euthanasia, even in places where it can be practiced legally, is subject to restrictions. A formal process not unlike the one I described in my earlier post is usually required, and only a doctor can order a lethal dose of a medication. For a friend to administer a lethal injection is by definition premeditated murder, although some juries are lenient in cases such as these. Unless Ricky knew exactly what he was doing, the chances of his being caught would have been exceedingly high. Not only was it selfish of Sasha to ask Ricky to do such a thing, but it was selfish of him to ask Ricky to risk going to jail for a very long time.

#9

Menzoberranzen

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 10:42 AM

The one thing that hasn't been mentioned here is that euthanasia, even in places where it can be practiced legally, is subject to restrictions. A formal process not unlike the one I described in my earlier post is usually required, and only a doctor can order a lethal dose of a medication. For a friend to administer a lethal injection is by definition premeditated murder, although some juries are lenient in cases such as these. Unless Ricky knew exactly what he was doing, the chances of his being caught would have been exceedingly high. Not only was it selfish of Sasha to ask Ricky to do such a thing, but it was selfish of him to ask Ricky to risk going to jail for a very long time.


I thought about the legal issues involved, and then decided that trying to deal with them in-story would change the tone. I didn't want it to be about anything but Sasha's choice versus Ricky's personal dilemma; I thought the theme might get lost in the details.

Thanks again for the very thoughtful comments on this. I'm glad the story sparked this discussion; it wouldn't be much fun if you all viewed the story in the same way:)

Menzo

#10

Dolores Esteban

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 12:39 PM

This is a very grave topic. I could imagine that many readers object to the ending. I'm not sure I could do what Ricky did. And I'm not sure he really made the right choice. Only little time has passed and the decision is too hasty.

But I know from personal experience what it means to watch someone suffer tremendously. My grandmather was in a coma for several months because of cerebral bleeding. No chance to ever wake up again. It was a tragedy, and we actually asked the doctors to stop life-sustaining measures, which they denied. My grandmother died when she was taken from intensive care to a foster home. I then felt, and still do, that death came as a release. Her soul had been trapped and now was free to go.