Monday, March 21, 2005

Weighing in on the Terry Schindler Schiavo case

This Terry Schiavo thing has really gotten to me.

More than I thought it would.

I didn't really know the whole back story. I knew that she couldn't care for herself, and I knew that she wasn't exactly comatose, either. From the coverage, it seemed pretty clear that her parents and family are devoted to her, but that the husband has moved on, had children with another woman, and seems hell-bent on unplugging her ASAP.

Something about the whole case didn't sit right with me. Aside from the husband's willingness to starve her to death despite her family's wishes, I mean. Something about the whole thing seemed to be more sinister, hidden . . .

Even when I read a breakdown of the complaint filed by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) against Hubby, I still felt that there was more to the story. They are charging him with, among a few other things:

Failure to exercise Terri's arms, resulting in "severe contractures,"
Failure to provide appropriate medical therapy,
Failure to investigate the rehabilitation value of newly available technologies,
Interference in communication with and visitation by Terri's family members and friends,
Denial of access to independent legal counsel,
Failure to file guardianship reports as required by law,
Failure to provide required legal notices to Terri, and
Performing experimental procedures without following proper medical and legal procedures.

It finally became as clear as crystal when I kept reading, kept poking around. I finally realized why the case bothered me so damn much.

But for the grace of God go I.

According to this article, Before fight over death, Terri Schiavo had a life , Terry and I are kindred sisters:

We are the same age.

Like me, she was painfully shy around men.

She was a heavy child and a heavy preteen.

She managed to lose a large amount of weight in her teen years.

When she was still too young to know better, she became smitten with a handsome man that told her that she was beautiful. "It was the first guy who ever, ever paid any attention to her," her mother said.

Within a year of her marriage, her Prince Charming saw her high school graduation picture and warned her "if she ever got fat like that again he'd divorce her."

Her husband was controlling. "When she would go visit her parents or a friend from work, Mrs. Schindler says, Schiavo would check the mileage on her car. She could go to those places (but if she went any) other place, he gave her crap."

Coworkers remember that Michael Schiavo would frequently call his wife at work and leave her in tears.

According to the article, Bobby Schindler says his sister began talking about leaving Schiavo in 1989. "She said she wished she had the strength or the energy or the know-how to get a divorce," he says.

By this time, Terri's weight had dropped below 120 and Mrs. Schindler says she confronted her daughter about how thin she was getting.

Terri most likely collapsed from anorexia. I don't think that alot was known about anorexia back then, but most of the articles that I have read state that she collapsed from potassium disorders and heart failure. Combined with her dramatic weight losses, and pressure from her husband to stay thin, I think it is pretty safe to say that Terri had a serious eating disorder.

To be more blunt, she was constantly ridiculed and threatened by her husband about her weight, she starved herself thin, and she collapsed and lost her life because of her husband Michael Schiavo.

I think she stayed because she truly thought it was all her fault, that she wasn't good enough to leave, that her body was imperfect, and that her husband was the only man that ever WOULD pay any attention to her.

God, I remember feeling that. I fought it. I'm still not sure why I did. What if I had been just a little weaker? What if I had stayed?

We were the same, she and I.

Is anyone else marvelling at the macabre coincidence that starvation got her where she is, and her husband, the one for whom she was willing to starve herself to be allowed to stay, is now demanding that she be starved until she is forced to go?

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