Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Sunshine (and Death)

The sun is dying. The only way to save the world is to send a bomb into it to make a new star out of an old one (um, I would think that might vaporize a few planets but future science knows better!), so the movie picks up with the second and final (due to the first mysteriously failing and a lack of resources for a third bomb) vessel and its handful of crew going in to attempt this important mission. *thumbs up*

What could go wrong?

It's a very interesting premise, and in general all the characters are quite well portrayed and relatable. The effects are awesome too, which is good for a space focused movie. Now what I didn't like about it was how the final arc was shot. Earlier on the movie begins introducing flashes of still pictures into traveling shots and for a time they work well in what they are supposed to do - make you on edge and be thinking "what was that". The last part they use some of this again this time freezing the actual scene that's taking place for... more impact? Not so good. Either that or my DVD decided to stutter at just the right moments. :P

Despite that, Sunshine is a movie I can recommend, and give it three and a half solar flares out of five. Warning, the rest of the post deviates into real life.

For me, one of the more interesting questions posed in the movie is that of death. Do you just quietly go out into the night or do you rage against the forces of fate for at every inch? If your life was in someone else's hands, what would you want them to do? Documentary makers don't interfere when wildlife kill each other. Do they do the same if its a documentary about people? As some of you might know, my father suffered a massive stroke at the end of last year to the extent that he was there on the brink, half his body paralyzed and no longer eating food. Most of the medical staff we talked to suggested we just "make him comfortable".

It was interesting to see the reactions of my quite large family. A cousin tearfully admitted that if he were in the same place, to end his life. I, on the other hand, want to live forever even if it's just my brain left for infinite resuscitation. Many of the others were half/half, until they found out that "make him comfortable" translates to drug him up and don't feed him anything anymore. In my book that isn't "letting go", that's murder. The others agreed so we shoved a tube down his nose to force feed him, and a few days later he was awake, lucid, and managing to eat. 

Was that the right decision? Maybe it would have been easier to let him die? Then my mom wouldn't need to be visiting him everyday. She wouldn't have all those other expenses. With half a body, dad can't do the things he used to enjoy: carpentry, photography, dancing, jogging. He can't even go back to his own house since it's not access friendly and currently lives in the nursing home.

What is the right decision? I guess it varies from person to person and situation to situation. For me at least, I know what my answer is and I doubt it will ever change no matter how selfish it might seem. Yes living is hard, but as the saying goes "Where there is life there's hope."

He has since moved from very thickened liquids to purees to pretty much regular food. From being stuck in various beds, physiotherapy has improved his core enough to be able to sit in a wheelchair (still needs a lot of help to stand). A few days ago we managed to take him to the mall and eat out with other family members at the local Yum Cha where he was happily sharing jokes and feeding himself with his one good hand.

Don't ever quit on life.


  1. While you're free to have your own opinion, and it's really good news to hear about your father, some people aren't so lucky in terms of quality of life.

    Had your father asked to die, would you have let him? Or do you still believe that's murder? A lot of people have DNR (Do Not Resucitate) amended to their medical profiles. Do you consider them to be suicidal for not wanting to indulge the possiblity of spending the rest of their lives in agony? Do you believe terminally ill people who choose to be euthanised, being of sound mind, are wrong in making such a choice?

    You say your answer would vary from case to case. But then you go on to say "where there is life there is hope" so I presume you mean so long as there is still brain function, even if that person's quality of life is medically irredeemable, they should be forced to live until such time as their body naturally expires? Imagine if this was you. You say you want to live forever... imagine not being able to die, in a chronically crippled and enfeebled state. I suppose you might say you would put up with it, until a cure was found, while you were fed painkillers. I say, you haven't experienced the suffering of the chronically ill.

    "Don't ever quit on life?" Who are you saying this to? To those of us in the future who might suffer some horrible circumstance like your father? Or those people who have to decide whether it's the right decision to pull the plug or not?

    Joseph Skyrim, it pleases me so much that your father is getting better, but never judge your one experience as the one that defines all others in this world.

    1. Yeah I thought I might offend some people with that, and you are right that I haven't experienced the suffering of the chronically ill and am quite self-centered when it comes to my views on the world.

      Also, forcing people to do something they don't want to is something I've always been against so it's quite challenging for me to face up to that when the action they no longer wish to do is to "live" (stemming from personal and religious view points) so for that I am sorry.

      You did misread a little (or more likely, I didn't explain it well enough) when you said that my answer would vary from case to case. No. It wouldn't. I meant that other people in other situations (or even the same situation) would make decisions differently. I'm not saying that I'm right. I'm just saying that's where I stand.

      If I can convince more people to take my point of view, make people live longer and have just a bit more hope then huzzah! If not then oh well, at least I tried. Albeit poorly.

      Lastly I think DNRs are not quite the same as -not- feeding someone. While I am quite undecided on how I feel about those, the DNRs tell the medical staff to not revive a patient with no breath or heartbeat, while the other one is quite more active in causing the patient to die in the first place. I would think it is actually two papers to sign. One for the DNR and one for the "stop giving nutrients and fill him up with drugs instead and wait x days/weeks until he dies" so that it's technically not euthenasia (currently illegal where I live).