Is that a real question? After all, if we don’t breathe we don’t live, right?
How about Prince Hamlet’s time honored question, “To be, or not to be?”
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to?
Blah, blah, blah.
It seems as if poor Prince Hamlet has had enough of the discouragement in life.
I understand the sentiment and I’m not even a prince. The best comparison I could make is “To breathe, or not to breathe?”
The body has a rather natural tendency toward the proper answer but with a similar result. Breathing trumps eating. ALS has robbed me of the ability to use most of my breathing muscles. The diaphragm went first. Now, the chest muscles have weakened and can support non-ventilator breathing for only a few minutes at a time.
Yet the ventilator mask needs to be off so I can eat or drink.
Hmmm. What to do?
For now, I can take the mask off for about five minutes at a time. That gives me six quick, 5-minute meals a day. The 10-minute bath leaves me completely exhausted as breathing on my own for even that amount of time is demanding, tiring, and dangerous.
To breathe, or not to breathe? That is the question…
The initial consideration is rather simple and straightforward. I will breathe as long as I can. At some point I wont be able to drink or eat because the ventilator mask needs to be removed and when it comes off then breathing will stop.
That time is near.