Sunday, October 25

#43 - paralysis

During your recent annual checkup, your physician scheduled a series of tests without going into a great deal of explanation. You went through these various tests, which seemed harmless (if a bit unusual). The results have since come in, and you have been asked to come back to the office to discuss them.

Upon entering, you are greeted somberly by your doctor, who is the bearer of bad news. You are suffering from an ultra-rare condition that has recently been termed "synapse fatigue". For whatever reason, your nervous system is overworked and needs to rest. For this to occur, your body will soon become paralyzed from the neck down (the doctor estimates that this will happen within a month's time).

The good news is that this period of paralysis will only last two years. After that time, your body should come back "online". Additionally, the doctor offers another wrinkle. There are groundbreaking drugs in existence that will allow you to delay your body's resting period for a very long time, though not indefinitely. The two year rest must be allowed to occur within the next forty years. If not, your body would likely shut down (despite any medications) and the paralysis would at that point be a permanent one.

The drugs in question would have no associated side effects. Also, because they are relatively new and because you would be among the first to use them, they would likely be provided at no cost to yourself.

It is now up to you to decide upon a course of action. What do you do? For what two year period of your life do you choose to accept paralysis?


Mike said...

I think the hardest thing about this question is that we have to decide now. Like, for instance, right now I have a job so I have disability insurance, so I would probably be tempted to choose now. But if I knew, say, in 40 years where my life would be, I'd be tempted to push it out as long as possible because (a) I might die before (take that synapse fatigue!) and (b) when you get older your physical abilities are reduced anyways.

I think though, practicality aside, maybe I'd pick age 40-42. I'm due for a midlife crisis and this would give me some time to be contemplative about my life but would also would help me avoid any rash/embarrassing choices in the process.

Sheila said...

I think I might just want to get it over with now. I couldn't imagine my life waiting for that day when I would become paralyzed. I think I might take a few weeks to get everything in order and just go for it. No kids to speak of, and I know my disability discrimination stuff, so why wait?

Or, I might just wait until retirement age, but before I'm near death's door... say... 65? But who knows whether any of us will be able to retire anymore :-p

Holly said...

Hmmm...I think my dilemma with this question is whether to wait due to advancements that are currently being developed to aid people with such difficulties. I would actually want to get this period of life over with sooner than later and would say "now" if it wasn't for the question about how much more I might be able to do later due to technology. I feel that later in life I'll probably have more responsibility and more people counting on me - holding kids, for example, would be difficult without the use of limbs - I just realized Sheila had the same idea, so I think I agree with her.

Matt said...

I would wait a bit, but not too long. I feel like I would want to have full use of my limbs throughout my twenties.

Also, I would try to get to a point where a few big "life" things are figured out. For instance, I'd want to be settled in a job or career that would be workable in a paralyzed state.

Paul said...

I'd like to get this over with ASAP.

1) I can tell stories about it for the rest of my life

2) Mike makes a good point about disability insurance - I can live at a friend's house for the duration of the 2 years and let all that money accrue

3) its going to be tragic no matter when it happens. At least at the moment I don't have a family depending on me

I'm not excited about this, but lets take the plunge. I'd like something to look forward to every month, so perhaps I can convince friends in advance to do high risk things with me close at hand: skydiving, parasailing, racecar driving, etc