Highlights From My Living Will

By: John Frank

1. Terminal Illness

If I have a terminal condition, I would like my life to be prolonged as long as possible, regardless of expense. I’d like all diagnostic procedures and treatments available, including like a full-body MRI every day just after lunch. If surgeries involving robots or lasers seem at all beneficial, I’d like those as well. Should any new type of surgeries or procedures be developed that are not in existence at the time of this writing and involve bionic limbs, synthetic organs, titanium bones, or electronic eyeballs, please perform these as well. If stem cells are available, I want those too. Similarly, if I need to be cloned and have resulting clones harvested for any therapeutic or palliative purpose whatsoever that might benefit me — even in the slightest — I am 100% in favor of this.

In addition to traditional, western approaches, I also want Reiki, healing-light therapy, primal-scream therapy, Haitian herbal poultices, past-life regression analysis, leeches, erotic massage, organic smoothies, crystals, Tai Kwon Do, and 24-hour access to a Native-American sweat lodge.

2. Pain Management

I would like a personal pain-management physician assigned to me whose goal is to keep a consistent level of near-fatal narcotics in my system so that I will feel no pain whatsoever. If at any time, I appear to be in pain or claim to be in pain, I want code blue lights flashing all over the hospital and even in the parking lot if they have them there. Should such a “code blue” for my pain occur, I would also like access to a small hammer for striking my physician’s knuckles with varying levels of force in order to properly communicate my pain level.

3. Coma or Persistent Vegetative State

Should I slip into a coma or persistent vegetative state, I would like large, motivational banners with phrases like “Don’t Give Up” and “Pray for a Miracle” and “This Guy Was Once Somebody’s Baby” to be hung about my room. I would also like a hi-definition flat-screen television placed in my room, to be on at all times, in case I wake up. And, finally, while I believe this goes without saying, I’d like my body suspended in mid-air by invisible wires like in the movie Coma.

4. Brain Death

Should my brain die, I want my body kept alive. I want use of all life-support machines available, even if that means duplexing my room into the room above (or below) to make room for them. I would like my body exercised and kept in top physical condition, and I would like to participate in any hospital picnics or outdoor fun days that come along, to the extent that I am able. Activities such as sledding, for instance, seem reasonable — provided cords of sufficient length for my life support machines can be procured. But I also want my dignity to be kept in mind at all times. Absolutely no Weekend-At-Bernie’s type hyjinks should be taking place at my expense. I don’t want to be treated like a ventriloquist’s dummy nor do I want to be propped up with a hot dog in my hand as though I’m about to eat it. Anyone doing these sorts of things should be fired. Finally, should it become possible to transplant someone else’s brain into my head, I will certainly want this done, but on the sole condition that all of their stuff will be deleted from their brain and all of my stuff will be downloaded into their brain BEFORE I wake up.

5. Cryogenics

If it becomes apparent that the condition I suffer from is so advanced, rare or otherwise baffling that it can only conceivably be handled in the future by highly evolved human or android doctors, I would like to be frozen until such care is available. I would also like a copper relief of my entire body placed in the hospital lobby to remind everyone of the stakes of the game being played. This is a human life we are talking about. Mine.


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