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S01.E06: The All American

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Sydney and Elijah try two separate cases for ex-college football star Marcus Wright, who is dying. Della is presented with a lifetime achievement award from the LGBTQ community.

Original air date 2019.10.28

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While I assume it's coincidence, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina said he is going to introduce legislation legalizing taxation of athletic scholarships if the NCAA goes through with its plan to allow student athletes to profit off of their name and/or likeness. 

Why wouldn't Marcus just move to a state that does allow death with dignity?

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So Della is gay.  Nice use of inclusiveness without using the ubiquitous young hipster dude.  But if she came out when her son was 15, and as he looks to be in his mid 30's by now, shouldn't he have maybe gotten some therapy by now to have dealt with it a little more constructively?  Seriously, 2 DECADES of angst still manifesting because mom decided she liked girls better? 

Jimmy was good, the tears were a little hokey, but I liked his conscience wrangling.  

And I agree Dowell, if you have to sell your home to pay for your medical treatment, why not just go where you can die the way you want?

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2 hours ago, leighdear said:

And I agree Dowell, if you have to sell your home to pay for your medical treatment, why not just go where you can die the way you want?

According to what Jimmy Smits said (I haven't had time to look it up myself), despite being a horrendous and prolonged disease, ALS does not qualify as an approved condition to end your life even in those states that allow the "right to die." 

OK, I quickly found something, here is a blurb about eligibility: https://www.deathwithdignity.org/learn/access/#Eligibility

Eligibility

To qualify for a prescription under physician-assisted dying laws, you must be

a resident of California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington; and

18 years of age or older; and

mentally competent, i.e. capable of making and communicating your health care decisions; and

diagnosed with a terminal illness that will, within reasonable medical judgment, lead to death within six months.

You must also be able to self-administer and ingest the prescribed medication. All of these requirements must be met without exception. You will not qualify under aid-in-dying laws solely because of age or disability. Two physicians must determine whether all these criteria have been met.

So, venturing a guess, someone with ALS and 6 months to live may not be able to self-administer meds. I don't know. If any disease seems worthy of the right to die, it seems like it would be ALS. I don't want to start a big disgustion, but ALS is evil. I am seeing it's effects on someone I know, and words can't describe the toll it's taking on the person and the family. Just terrible. 

Back to the show - I'm a fan! I ignore the attempts at the southern drawl, it's unnecessary (I know plenty of people who grew up in Boston, for instance, who do NOT have the stereotypical Boston accent). I've always been a fan of Jimmy Smits. I'm here for the long haul on this one. 

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I really wish this show were not so obviously "stupid" as I would essentially watch Smits read my detergent package.

With all its faults, the Affordable Health Care Act means that since 2014 ANYONE can get insurance even with pre-existing conditions. The premiums might be high but for someone with his condition, it would have been completely affordable. He could have opted for the "Platinum Tier" level and his out of pocket costs annual costs would have been completely affordable. More realistic of course is the issue of experimental treatments being covered but ludicrous to hang an episode on a pre-existing condition preventing someone from obtaining insurance.

And while I do support the right of people to choose death, suicide by end of life patients goes on all the time with the wink of a helpful doctor who prescribes meds and warns about how NOT to take them so to speak. Although not spoken of, I know of a few among my closest circles in terms of how their parents chose to go. It was just done quietly.

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@amarante   Thanks for bringing up the ACA and the fact that this plot, at least as far as the pre-existing conditions issue is concerned, is about ten years out of date. I hate it when shows have obvious factual inaccuracies.

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8 hours ago, luckylou said:

@amarante   Thanks for bringing up the ACA and the fact that this plot, at least as far as the pre-existing conditions issue is concerned, is about ten years out of date. I hate it when shows have obvious factual inaccuracies.

For some reason I was asked to participate in a survey regarding this show. It showed an ad with Smiths pontificating on the important issues raised and then asked questions about it.

I said the ad was completely misleading because it made it seem as if the actual show would be "smart" like West Wing and the actual show was really dumbed down. Not that West Wing was an exact depiction of reality but it didn't have a show devoted to completely wrong stuff and the writing wasn't on such a sophomoric and soap opera (and not in a good Telemundo Jane the Virgin type of way).

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It's disappointing  because they do showcase actual real life issues that have been major legal battles. I like that they take on controversial topics and I like the basic premise. But the writing and acting really are so overly sentimental, flat out maudlin, it's hard for me to take that aspect, as well as some of the other problems already mentioned.

I want to like it. It's the kind of show I would usually really like. I don't really understand why they are making it so sappy, and sloppy, and sucking all the potential out of it.

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I watched this on Hulu and it is silly, fantasy-like, but if I have nothing else to do, I keep it on.

But this episode fails in all levels.

As already mentioned, the ACA must cover pre-existing conditions. The insurance companies, as they like to do, might deny certain medications, but they cannot deny Emergency care, or admission. The patient would probably reach their maximum out of pocket pretty soon, and it could be about 10,000.00 but then that's it. Until next year. And the family is not responsible for the debt after they die either. At least not in my state. If the bank account has a beneficiary, no one touches it. If the assets have beneficiaries listed, no one touches them. So, even though it still sucks, because we don't really have a healthcare system, that was all kinds of wrong. And yes, people go bankrupted because of medical bills, because they want to live. As the character was presented to us, he could simply refuse care. And if he is DNR and the wife was with him when she had the seizure, she could have said that - and I will not even go into the chest  compressions and shock for seizures. That's not how it works. Since the show is over the top, why not have him permanent mark his body with DNR?

But then they come up with "dying with dignity"bullshit. NOBODY wants to die with dignity. People want to LIVE with dignity. Besides, what is that "dignity" they refer to? Let me answer: it is wearing diapers, it is not being able to clean themselves. 

This is systemic ableism. I can understand and relate to a fear of pain, a fear of needing people, the burden most of us put on ourselves if we need a little extra attention, let alone if we expect to need full time help. But I wish writers could be a little more nuanced and close to reality when dealing with the theme.

For one thing, every time they have a character claiming "dignity" and "burdening" the family, they are dismissing a lot of other people who need to wear diapers and accept full time assistance, yet want to live, want to keep on living, and might enjoy life a lot. They are not burdens. They are humans who deserve dignity in life. If that's a diaper, so be it. So many people wear diapers and live fully, it is ignorant to believe otherwise.

Then there is the reality that it becomes a game with insurance companies who deny life prolonging treatments to those who know they will die, who want to live until the last minute and cannot get the treatment they need but will get the pills to commit suicide. That's murderous. It is happening in states that have assisted dying laws.

And there is the case of many disabled people being murdered in hospitals - at the request of the family, or as a push (bullying) by doctors who don's see value in a disabled child's life, for example. Children who are disabled and have pneumonia have been "assisted" to die in hospitals.

Not to mention that in the Netherlands, place of the first assisted dying law, the people who first proposed the law now regret it because of the well document slippery slope that erased pretty much all the safeguards initially in the laws.

I could go on but this is just to vent a little. Expecting TV writers to be good writers is a lost cause to me. Systemic ableism generates wrong assumptions that jeopardize more lives than such assumptions claim to "help" via assisted dying.

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I agree with you, but as a person who relies on aides for many tasks related to my survival, I can say that it is a pure fantasy that finding aides is the answer, because everyone I know has trouble finding good ones. It's not the dignity of needing help that is at issue, it's the dignity of having aides that are reliable, respectful, competent, and not abusive, flaky, incompetent horrorshows. It's a low paid job and many places there is such a shortage that people's lives are hell scrambling to hire and keep workers. This is a well-documented problem that is not solved by self-respect or a change in attitude and a will to live.

The show got a lot wrong, and I wish they had focused on that aspect of hardship rather than on what they did. It would have been more realistic and also more revelatory for the audience.

Even someone as wealthy as Christopher Reeves wrote in his book about his highly paid helpers doing things as horrible as yanking out his respirator and he almost died because they didn't connect it. Another book that talks about this is "The Me In the Mirror" by Connie Panzarino. There was a terrific article in the Boston Globe about it a while back, as well.

I am not saying any of this to knock the great people who do the job well. They are great. I've met a few. But they are the exception to the rule.

Where you really go bankrupt and lose quality of life is paying for care, not needing it.

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Oh, I know how hard it is to find good aides, or even aides who are willing to do s=certain types of work.

I am against legislation to allow assisted death because I feel like it is dangerous for disabled people, and even terminally ill people who want to live until the last minute. The examples are above. What I can't stand with the shows is the one sided declarations os dignity and suffering.

Besides, the number of requests for assisted death in at least one state (data from a  couple of years ago) is really low. But the abuses and the cases where a family member goes to court for the right to kill someone continues. Then those cases are presented as the "proof" that people need laws to decide what will happen to them. Well, as you mentioned, there are laws that are supposed to prevent the lack of dignity of the living and they should be applied first. One thing the show got right is the character saying he didn't want to die. From there, the whole thing went down.

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