Monday, March 12, 2012
In 2005, artist Christina Symanski fractured her neck diving into a swimming pool. She was pulled out by her boyfriend but has been a quadriplegic since that time.
Symanski continued her art, using her mouth and an iPad. More of her art can be seen here. The effect her injury had on her art is obvious.
She wrote about her experience in her blog, Life; Paralyzed. She also wrote a book about her experience. In April 2011(not posted until December), Symanski wrote a blog post entitled Quality vs. Quantity. In that post, she writes about what quality of life means to her and discusses the importance of having an advanced directive, how she wished she had had one prior to her accident.
"Because I didn't think things through before hand, or have a living will, I created a very difficult life for myself (unintentionally), by having to live within the confines of paralysis. Living with paralysis (at my level-C4/C5 complete) means I have very few options. In order to stay alive, I HAVE to take medications, accept help from others (for EVERYTHING), and tolerate unbearable (to me) treatments, like having an indwelling catheter, and bowel program. I HAVE to do all of those things, just to survive. That doesn't include coping with the loss of freedom, lack of privacy, loss of sensation, loss of dreams, aspirations and having to deal with constant compromise. It also doesn't account for the physical pain, discomfort, and sickness, that comes along with living with paralysis, and ultimately autonomic dysreflexia.
I have come to a point in my own life, where I'm struggling with the question "is this life worth living for ME, or am I just prolonging my own suffering?"
It is a very interesting and well thought out post about her life and the decisions she was making.
Christina Symanski's life made headlines when she died on December 1, 2011 after she decided to stop eating in order to end her suffering.