for weeks now aimee copeland has been in the news. about a week ago the headline for the Huffington Post stated that Aimee had now asked for the morphine doctors had been offering her for the pain she was experiencing. here is a little about her if you have not heard before now. though her father has not characterized her decision as “pleading” that is how the headline ran.
It was nearly seven weeks ago that Copeland sustained a cut on her calf during a fall from a homemade zip line over a west Georgia river. She was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, an infection from a rare flesh-eating bacteria. Doctors were forced to amputate her left leg, right foot and hands. The Georgia student, 24, originally refused pain medications due in part to her personal convictions and graduate-school background in holistic pain management techniques. Her preferred method of dealing with the pain was meditation, but that has done little to assuage the sting of skin grafts and muscle flaps that were necessary
“I am blessed to be able to have a challenge that not many others get to have,” Copeland’s father wrote, quoting Aimee. “I am blessed to have the capacity to share my experience with others and have a chance to improve the quality of someone else’s life. I’m blessed to be different.”
when reading this short article my mind wandered back to the young woman who through an accident of adventure had become a quadriplegic. this young woman had been sort of the poster girl for the disabled. she was an artist, gave speeches, was active in the christopher reeve organization and seemed to be moving on with her life “bravely” as some might say. tragically she ended her life. she decided her life was not worth living the way it was. she was in pain and yet it would seem the psychic pain was perhaps the breaker. the organizations for the right to die with dignity used this as an example of why we need to change our laws. the disabled were outraged that she was used in this way. there is such difference between someone who is terminally ill, has no chance of recovery, and someone who is disabled. this does not in my opinion make the case for death with dignity. it was her dignity at issue for her, however, was her inability to accept dignity in a different form the heart of the problem?
it is my deepest wish that Aimee is allowed to be weak without making headlines. if asking for pain medication is a weakness at all. meditation is a tool to be used and as corny as it sounds it is just one tool in the tool box. her family is suffering as is this young woman. she made a decision out of youthful exuberance and is now paying a heavy price. my heart goes out to her and if i could say anything to her it would be to embrace her tears as well as her joys. sometimes bravery is crying and accepting the pain medication.