Are we are minds?
Or are we our bodies?
We cannot be both because our bodies are limited and our minds are endless.
How we deal with that mind/body disconnect is the biggest conflict of our existence but, sadly, many of us never realize that struggle or recognize our need to confront the mortal and the immortal within us.
Then there are bright examples of this human conflict that, for a moment only, shakes everyone from their core and into the realization that we are all broken and we are all sheared into inequal halves and that life is only precious when it is threatens the who of what we are.
The bedridden 9-year-old girl had her uterus and breast tissue removed at a Seattle hospital and received large doses of hormones to halt her growth.
She is now 4-foot-5; her parents say she would otherwise probably reach a normal 5-foot-6. … Shortly after birth, Ashley had feeding problems and showed severe developmental delays. Her doctors diagnosed static encephalopathy, which means severe brain damage.
They do not know what caused it. Her condition has left her in an infant state, unable to sit up, roll over, hold a toy or walk or talk. Her parents say she will never get better. She is alert, startles easily, and smiles, but does not maintain eye contact, according to her parents, who call the brown-haired little girl their “pillow angel.” … She had surgery in July 2004 and recently completed the hormone treatment. She weighs about 65 pounds, and is about 13 inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than she would be as an adult, according to her parents’ blog.
Ashley’s parents claim the reason they are keeping her body infantilized is for her own good and not their own selfish needs:
We hope that by now it is clear that the “Ashley Treatment” is about improving Ashley’s quality of life and not about convenience to her caregivers.
Ashley’s biggest challenge is discomfort and boredom and the “Ashley Treatment” goes straight to the heart of this challenge.
It is common for Ashley to be uncomfortable or to be bored. Even though Ashley’s level of tolerance has increased along the years, she is helpless when bothered and her only recourse is to cry until someone comes to her rescue.
These episodes are triggered by something as simple as sliding off the pillow or a hair landing on her face and tickling/bothering her, let alone menstrual cramps, adult-level bed sores, and discomfort caused by large breasts.
The purpose of medicine is to interfere and to heal or to make better the devastating natural progression of nature and it is our jobs as cogent human beings to realize that, by design, not all life is sacred or precious or deserving of continuation.
We make hard decisions each day about the quality of our lives and the lives of those who are unable to care for their own being.
I am in full support of Ashley’s parents. Their decision to freeze her in time in an infantilized state where her body will now not outgrow the limits of her mind is the most loving and respectful decision that could be made in this difficult case and they also help to try to avoid the overt and uncontrollable sexualization of a body that can never be conceived by the mind even though her body could have conceived without her mind.
We are not our bodies; we are our minds — the proof of that hard fact is found in the necessary dissection of a maturing body from an infantile mind and the medical restoration of Ashley’s everlasting childhood.