Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reflections on the Kennedy Prognosis

I was saddened but not surprised by the Ted Kennedy diagnosis. Even my modest medical knowledge had me thinking Saturday afternoon that a first known seizure in someone of Kennedy's age and with no previously known risk factors could very well be the consequence of a brain tumor and that, if it was, it was likely to be a malignant tumor with a poor prognosis.

I was also not surprised to hear Kennedy's friends and senate colleagues talk about how tough he is and how he might very well rise up and "beat" the death sentence the medical establishment seems to be giving him. This got me to thinking about the best way for someone to handle a poor prognosis, which, after all, could befall any of us at any time, as I have long suspected that it will me someday.

What is the best way to react if we find out that we have a disease with a poor prognosis? It seems to me that we have two major options. We can resign ourselves to the fact that we're probably going to die soon, or we can refuse to accept this and "stand up and fight." I wonder if any good scientific studies have revealed what effects these differing attitudes and approaches have on longevity and quality of life. Does giving in to a bad prognosis hasten decline and death whereas opposing it produces the opposite effect? Or has no such correlation between these variables been uncovered?

Speaking for myself, if and when I receive the kind of "death sentence" Kennedy has, I think I'll welcome or, at least, resign myself to it more than I'll fight it. Why? Because, I know that I was my parents' mistake, and I truly believe that I and the world would have been better off had I never been born. I'm simply not equipped for this world and am more of a burden than a blessing to it, and I'm constantly frustrated by an intellectual and psychological reach that perpetually exceeds my grasp. That's no way to live.

Tears aren't streaming down my face as I write this. I don't feel depressed. In fact, I don't feel much of anything except weary indifference punctuated by a twinge of sadness for a man who is equipped for this world and who has done something worthwhile with his gifts over his long and fabled political career and could have continued doing so if not for a dreadful disease that will likely rob him of his gifts and the world of his contributions in all too short a time.


Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I am sorry to hear you say that you are not equipped to live in this world. Personally I think you are very well equipped, I assume you are at the very least a productive member of society and are not involved in criminal activity, you don't harm people, in fact I think you try to help them?
As far as being a mistake...who cares, so was I and my mother and I didn't really care for each other till she stopped drinking about 2 years before she died. I made my own way and have a great family as a result. I am one of those rare successes to come out of a really bad situation. But I did it myself because I wanted to.
You shouldn't lead your life based on what your parents thought. As they say you can't choose your relatives, only your friends. So choose your friends well because the right friend will be much more help than most families.
As far as Senator Kennedy is concerned...I am always saddened by the untimly death of anyone but he has so much to atone for (Mary Jo is only one poor woman out of a littany of others) that I am not able to feel the same level of emotion for him as I normally would. His family and him have lived quite well off of the American Taxpayer. I do however feel as you do about his brothers John and Robert, their loss was truly, truly sad and more far reaching than people will ever know.


Nagarjuna said...

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. As I wrote, I didn't feel depressed when I wrote what I did about being an accident and indifferent about living on; I was just reflecting my longstanding frustration and discouragement over my learning disabilities and their psychological fallout. I've blogged many posts here about all of this.

As for Ted Kennedy, what things, including Mary Jo, do you think he needs to "atone for", how could he atone for them, and how have he and his family improperly "lived quite well off of the American Taxpayer" such that you feel less compassion for him than you might for someone else with his gloomy medical prognosis?

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

Mary Jo Kopeckne was the young lady that he allowed to drown in the Chappaquidick River after he drove off the road and crashed. Instead of reporting the accident and getting her rescued he went back to the party that they had left at 11:15. He asked his friends to help rescue her but they failed. He then SWAM back to the hotel he was staying at and didn't bother to report the accident till the next day. She lived in that horrible condition for at least 2 hours(according to the latest forensic evidence) and had Ted done the right thing, she would have survived. Instead he valued his political career more than her life. An undisclosed amount of money was paid to her parents and they have remained silent ever since. As far as the Kennedy clan goes there is ample evidence(at least three biographies that I know of) of the political corruption that Joseph Kennedy perpetrated and how the Kennedy clan pays no taxes even though they are one of the richest families out there.
I believe that his brothers were killed because they were trying to atone for the sins of their father and he (Ted)decided that he would do whatever his masters told him to do after the murder of Bobby. After the death of Bobby there is a marked change in how Ted comported himself. I could go on and on about the various deals that Ted has engineered over the years that have benefited his family but I won't bore you with the gory details.

He could atone for them by coming clean and telling the world exactly what happened on that night. He could expose the corruption in the Senate that he has been a party to and beneficiary of, and finally he could work to reverse the corruption that is exposed.


James Madison said...

Please. Kennedy has done far more harm to the world than you could ever do in your wildest dreams. You might be stupid, but I assume you're not evil enough to murder someone just to save your career, or to smear and libel a brilliant judge for partisan gain, or so many other despicable things he's done to hurt the interests of the working poor and to side with America's enemies.

Nagarjuna said...

Please pardon my stupidity, but WHICH "brilliant judge" did he "smear," WHOM did he "murder," and WHAT "despicable things" has he "done to hurt the interests of the working poor and to side with America's enemies"? Please be as clear and specific as possible.

Tom said...

Your life has tremendous value. You are a fantastic human being, Steve.