Pull the Plug, Reel in the Tubes,
and Call it a Day

This light-hearted spoof of a Living Will is only meant to get the conversation rolling. It is a humorous look at a very serious subject. Please suspend judgement for a brief moment and laugh with us. Sometimes we just have to laugh or we'll be crying. This particular spoof has made the rounds on the internet, so you may already have seen it. As far as I can tell the Author is Anonymous.

Living Will

I, _________________________, being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of posturing politicians, religious nuts, or lawyers/doctors interested in simply running up the bills or protecting their butts from malpractice suits.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one of the following:

______a Bloody Mary
______a Margarita
______a Beer
______a Glass of Red Wine 
______a Starbucks Coffee
______a Steak
______Lobster, shrimp, or scallops 
______The remote control
______Sex in some form 
______Italian Food of any type

it should be presumed that I won't ever get better.When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and go get a beer. _________________________________________; Date

Following is another rendition of a Living Will. While just a tad more serious, it is still not to be considered legally binding. It does, however, give some sincere guidelines to the writer’s wishes. It is funny, but real, and takes into account that no Living Will can really list all conditions and situations you might find yourself in. This, again, will get the conversation rolling with your family and loved ones.

It was written by Arthur H. Fabian, Jr.


One of the difficulties people have with Living Wills is determining just what the wishes of the incapacitated person really are. It's probably impossible to list all the bad states of being that could describe an older person's condition. But I'll try to describe a few situations and you can take it from there.

Note that, in no way, do I intend for this to be a legal document. It is simply to suggest some guidelines of how to interpret my wishes when I can't.

Of course, all of this assumes I cannot reasonably think and communicate. If I can reasonably think and communicate, then, obviously, none of this applies because, by definition, I can make my own decisions! However, once I don't seem to be able to make and communicate my own decisions then the only question becomes: Will he recover or won't he?

It's all based on what I consider a reasonable quality-of-life. That's when:

A. I can perform most of my own Activities of Daily Living (the five ADL – Wikipedia has a good simple definition) and,

B. I can converse with and enjoy the people around me. This is especially critical; when this is gone, I ought to be gone!

My age will have a lot to do with your choice of when to pull the plug. If I'm in my sixties or early seventies, and there's a reasonably good chance I can recover and be rehabilitated, then, by all means, try to do so. But if I'm in my eighties or older, then don't bother. I don't want to go through a whole lot of therapy to only be able to drool in a wheelchair.

Well, I guess I should explain what I mean by pulling the plug. If the conditions listed below are true, and they are not temporary, then you should:

*withhold medication (except to keep me free of pain);

*absolutely keep everyone repeatedly informed of my Do Not Resuscitate request;

*remove life-support equipment;

*withhold intravenous feeding including liquids (however, I'm guessing I might appreciate a little moisture to keep my mouth parts from sticking together).

I don't want to be hand fed, unless it's during a brief period of recovery. Brief? I suppose that means a few days to maybe a few months. After a month or two, review the situation.

I don't want to sit in a wheelchair and drool or stare or mumble.

If I'm severely burned, stop right there. I don't want the pain or deformity.

Don't take me out (to restaurants, public places, etc.) if I embarrass you, that is, make funny noises, have to be hand fed, say impolite things loudly, play with myself, etc. This will be a sliding scale. The criteria might be different for church, a fancy restaurant, a fast-food place, or a backyard family picnic. If I'm keeping you from enjoying the event, then my presence is not contributing anything.

When any expensive procedure has a marginal chance of success, consider my age and mental condition. The older and less mentally alert I am, the less you should consider spending on me. I'm not worth more just because I'm older. Quite the opposite.

Do I take a whole lot of care and am I preventing Louise or one of my children from going out and leading a normal life? Then the sanctity of my life doesn't trump the life of others. I DO NOT WANT TO BE A BURDEN ON OTHERS … especially for Louise and our offspring (and relatives) – all of whom deserve a life of their own. I know Louise and our daughters may feel it's their loving obligation to give back to, or take care of Art/Dad. However, except for a brief period of rehabilitation, I don't want that level of care.

Dementia is not necessarily a special case. See quality of life above. I don't believe in euthanasia or assisted suicide, but if I can't do most of the activities of daily living, do not allow medications that prolong the twilight state.

My body is not me. My ability to interact and enjoy life is who I am. God has already taken care of me in the afterlife. Do not prolong this life if I'm not engaged in it.

I think you get the idea.

Written with all my love of you and this world.


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