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July 12, 2006



Something my wife and I were discussing the other day that's sort of related to this.

Say somebody is on top of a burning building and there's a fire. They're about to die painfully due to the flames (assume that this is a given and there's in reality no way out of this death) and if they jump, there's no surviving the fall (a skyscraper or something.) If death is imminent either way, is it still a suicide if they jump? Or a sin of any sort for that matter?

This would mean (and a lot of Catholics myself included would be very guilty) that we should keep ourselves in optimal health
No smoking (as there is no redeeming value and it is slow suicide and thus a sin as well as unintentionaly killing others)
better diet
and practicing religion which is healthy
don't the psalms teach that a merry heart is medicine
and trust in God
So not just not taking heart medicine or medicine but taking vitamins and being healthier


Others are aghast at possible consequences, and perhaps I ought to be, but I never considered my husband's stopping his taking of bp and diuretic meds as possibly against God's law, nor even as a negative thing. He loves life, he finds something wonderful in every moment of every day; he says he's had a full and happy life, and when God calls him, he's ready. But he doesn't want to live a life so restricted by meds and docs.

In late 2001, at 50, he (housebuilder) fell from a roof onto concrete, which shattered (including compound fractures and piecing him back together with metal) his right side. He was in the hospital for three weeks; two exceedingly long surgeries left him with a massive blood clot behind the knee, so he was on coumadin and heparin, and was in physical therapy for 6 months. He was helpless even in a wheelchair, as well as in the special hospital bed we'd had to get for here, and he couldn't negotiate steps by himself for a very long time. He eventually went to a walker, then to a cane, then to no assistance. Then, he went back to work. And two summers later, he and son placed second in a canoe race. He's working on two roofs this week.

It was when his surgeon had wanted to do a 3rd surgery to give him more ROM, however, that pre-op tests found he'd had a heart attack somewhere along the way. He went through all the Echo tests, the meds, the overseeing, the checkups, and the expense for about a year. For him, that's not really living, so he has let it all go, come what may. He's happy.


"This would mean (and a lot of Catholics myself included would be very guilty) that we should keep ourselves in optimal health"
As a general rule, yes. I see two extremes in this matter. One is people who are obese, in particular, who say, "Aren't we supposed to be *spiritual*?" (To which I usually respond, "Yes, and spirituality requires fasting").
THe other is those who take such an obsessive attitude about health, perhaps citing principles of respect for the body, that they a) do everything possible to avoid getting to Heaven, and b) fear death and disease to the point of not wanting to be around those who suffer.

In any case, modern medicine has made these issues very complicated. And we must also remember the issues of the psychological in all this. Motivation is the governing factor in these kinds of decisions, and if a person suffers a psychological (or psychiatric) defect, then motivation itself is suspect.

What about forgetfulness? I've been on prescription medication since I was 2, and I still have never developed the habit of taking my pills every day.

For 17 years, I was on beta blockers. I suffered horrible side effects from them, and even though I probably should be on them, the doctors agreed the side effects were too bad and took me off after my surgery in 96. Now, I'm "on" Coumadin, but I react horribly to it. My INR is always either too low, or if I increase my dose, it shoots up so high I bleed into the toilet. Not to mention the various issues of going to a lab regularly to get blood drawn. It was one thing before I was married, and had my schedule all to myself.

And what I've discovered is taht taking an Aspirin a day and a couple Coumadin a week keeps my INR at 2.0.

So it really boils down to your motivations and your level of knowledge. Arbitrarily stopping medication just because you don't like it or trust it or something (e.g., "don't like the colors") is wrong. But if you genuinely have problems with it, and you've dnoe your research, then that's your decision.

The problem at work is that most medicines are *preventative*. For example, I was on beta blockers to *prevent* me from having an aortic aneurysm (or prevent it from growing too large, depending on whose definition of "aneurysm" you go by).

All the beta blockers did was prevent me from having a life, since I was constantly tired and horribly asthmatic on them.

I still needed open heart surgery at 19. I might have needed it sooner without the meds. Or the meds might have made it come sooner by forcing my system to work all the harder. But I was just a guinea pig in a clinical trial.

Now, I'm on Coumadin to prevent stroke and prevent my artificial valve from getting clogged. There are other ways (e.g., Aspirin) to prevent those eventualities. However, Coumadin or not, they're still going to happen one day, either way.

Some Day

I am not going to say much, as it is a very delicate thing, and I don't want to be hated by readers.
The 5th commandment involves taking care of ones health to the point in which it will not, by your fault, kill you or stop you from doing your duty. Therefore, not eating for 3 months is a sin. Objectivly. Subjectivly, one must see consent and knowledge for there to be a sin.
That is why saints don't kill themselves with pennence either. Now, over caring for your body is a sin too!

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I haven't gotten much done. Basically nothing noteworthy going on right now, but shrug. I can't be bothered with anything recently. I guess it doesn't bother me. Maybe tomorrow. I feel like a bunch of nothing.

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I can't be bothered with anything lately. Such is life. Basically nothing seems worth thinking about. I've just been staying at home not getting anything done. I haven't been up to anything today, but oh well. I haven't gotten much done lately.

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Pretty much nothing seems worth doing. I've just been letting everything happen without me these days. I've just been sitting around waiting for something to happen, but whatever.

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