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On ME and teaching and school life...

A woman in the UK has assisted her ME daughter to die. It's a very, very moving situation and I don't think it should be murder even though I don't accept euthanasia as ethical. ME is one of the most confusing, debilitating and frustrating illnesses around. It's still not certain how it begins, viral, trauma, physical or psychological, or how it develops and worsens, but the point is, it's there. I've always been really interested in it since a friend of mine developed it after a bout of pneumonia. Here it was called Tapanui Flu in the early '80s, it must have been 1983 or 1984. He fought it and got over it. Then years later, while I was still reading up on it, my mother was diagnosed with it for ages. But she didn't have it. It was something else.
Thing is though, ME is a very hard thing to live with not only because of what it does but because there isn't a cure and it's hard to treat something when you don't know why someone has it. And for a young person, it is the end sometimes of life as they had hoped to have it. And on top of all that, the frustration of not knowing what treatment to try or what is going to go wrong next, it's so very awfully hard. I'd love to be able to study it but of course, it's not my area.

And my area is getting going again. The students have been coming in to finalise courses so Heads of Dept like me have to be on deck to wrangle them into suitable option lines! And get some preparatory work done. I have a department meeting tomorrow afternoon so I'm going to have to work hard in the morning. The funeral we went to offered a lot of inspiration about teaching and how important it is to engender enthusiasm for learning. I have to do more of that. It's so important. Some of my students are so lacking in drive. It's partly their circumstances. If you saw their homes, for some of them, you would wonder how they even get dressed and get to school. But they do and we must help them. Our motto this year is 'how will you live your life?' I rather like it. I hope it challenges the girls. Our Principal puts a lot of thought into her motto each year! Last year was Be the Light. Before that, Raising the Bar (a lot of girls didn't get that one LOL).

It's so hot here, we just went for a walk around the block, just in t-shirts and shorts. It's just midnight and there must be a fog in Cook Strait - the very infrequent foghorns are hooting for the second evening this week.

Better go to bed, have to be up to get Christy to the bus for Parachute (Christian music festival up north) at the crack of dawn... have a good one, my friends.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
sashajwolf
Jan. 28th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
I feel so sorry for this mother and daughter and so fortunate to have largely recovered from ME myself, thanks to a very on-the-ball consultant. I have issues with the morality of suicide, but I don't think assisted suicide should be illegal if the patient is able to express a wish for it. It looks very much as if this woman may have suffered unnecessarily because neither she nor her mother knew what dosage to use or how to care for her as she died; that strikes me as cruel. It would seem so much more humane to let competent medical professionals help her to carry out her wishes. People find ways whether it's legal or not, so what do we really gain by prohibiting it?

Euthanasia is more difficult because it presupposes a situation where the patient can't indicate their wishes, so it needs more safeguards. But even there I think we should have some kind of system for people to make advance directives, after appropriate counselling. I think holding life sacred means giving people a right to end it as well as a right to continue it, because how sacred can you really believe something is if you're forced to have it against your will?
natesmountain
Jan. 29th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
You make some very good points. I hadn't realised you had had ME. That must have been some struggle to get through. Good on you! There are not enough doctors who know or respect ME as a condition so there are a lot of people not getting the best treatment, as far as I can see.

-I think holding life sacred means giving people a right to end it as well as a right to continue it
That's a really interesting statement. I can't wait to bring that to my ethics class for discussion!!
moth2fic
Jan. 28th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
Your school motto sounds good. So many schools just have a single motto that goes on year after year and everybody forgets all about it.
natesmountain
Jan. 29th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
-So many schools just have a single motto that goes on year after year and everybody forgets all about it.
We do have a school motto, Mercy and Wisdom, and trust me, we rub that one in too, but each year there is a new focus which is definitely refreshing. And promising. Like a new start. And hopefully this one will engender some respect for self.
margaret_r
Jan. 28th, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
Sounds like your holiday is coming to an end. I hope you managed to get lots of rest in, as well as writing. I do like the motto, it's one that can apply to everyone and anyone.
natesmountain
Jan. 29th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
-I do like the motto, it's one that can apply to everyone and anyone.
Yes, it seems like a motto that will hopefully make some girls really think about where they are going with their choices! Some of our girls make REALLY BAD choices!!!
eliper
Jan. 29th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
I agree with moth - it's great to hear of a school with a changing motto to challenge the students. Sounds like you are at a good school.
natesmountain
Jan. 29th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
-Sounds like you are at a good school.
It's a great school!! Yeah! Remind me of that when things get murky as the term progresses, huh!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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