“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage wrote in his veto letter, according to the Portland Herald.
This quote is from the governor of Maine who recently blocked access, for heroin addicts, to a lifesaving drug that could potentially save thousands of heroin addicts a year from accidental overdose. While being possibly the most moronic reason I have ever heard to veto a bill (kudos to the legislature BTW for being compassionate enough to pass the bill), he did accidentally stumble across a truth. That is no life is ever truly saved.
We come into this world with various agreements, various things we want to accomplish and experience, but the one thing we have in common is that we all go out. No one is here forever (thank God). He’s right. If you save a life via overdose, that life isn’t saved. It’s extended. The person might not die of an overdose though, Governor. It at least gives him the chance to die as an old man, in his bed. You don’t know what could happen if he’s given one more chance to turn things around.
When we agree to become parents we are taking on what I believe to be the biggest risk we can possibly take. I remember the feeling of having tiny vulnerable Kayla and Shayna to be responsible for. Shayna nearly died during childbirth- maybe only a slight exaggeration. She was in distress and her heartbeat kept dropping dangerously low. I knew the day she was born what it felt like to worry for her life. When she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, it was a pretty severe case. Thankfully, the drugs they put her on worked, but they were poison. I had to give her a weekly dose of a chemotherapy drug and there was no end in sight. I had to inject her weekly, then bi-weekly with a drug that had cancer as one of its possible side effects. Then, she had the heart condition. We were told it wasn’t life threatening, but I had to watch her go into surgery for it, not once but twice and wonder if she’d come back. Especially giving her the arthritis medications was a true test of my powers of denial. I couldn’t think about what I was doing to her body. I couldn’t let myself look out into the future and wonder “What if the Enbrel stops working? What if she gets cancer?” I had to just be grateful that they were working while they were and she was enjoying her childhood. When we have a child, we all know that one day, as sure as she was born, she will die. We put it out of our minds though. It’s not our concern. It’ll be a long time off. A long time after we’re gone. Unless it’s not.
Morbid people like me think about death all the time. I have since I was about five years old. But, most of us put death out of our minds. It’s for other people. It’s for old people. The reality though is if you look around you at your family, your friends, everyone you know, if you maintain that relationship, it’s only a matter of time. We will watch each other die until we are the only one left in our group or we’ve gone on before. I love the show Game of Thrones, one of the lines from Season 1 or 2 that stuck out for me was when young Arya was being trained by a master sword fighter and he would have her repeat this exchange “What do we say to the god of death when he comes for us?” Her reply was always “Not today.” Yes, maybe not today, but one day the god of death won’t take no for an answer. Yes, Governor, we can extend our lives (maybe), but we can’t save them. We’re all going the same way.
On a brighter note, we don’t have to be nihilistic about this. Death is merely an illusion. No life is ever truly lost. When we pass on, we pass on to a different life. We are like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. We don’t yet know what we shall be (but we will be like Him). Eventually medical science will fail each of us. Something will happen and the extensions will run out. Or, an accident will put an end to the functioning of this body. It might be a heroin overdose, especially if the Governor has his way, but something is going to get us. None of us gets out of here with this body. But, we do get out. No life is ever saved. But, no life is ever lost.