Roma locuta, causa finita

Augustinus, 5th Century

“Rome” has spoken – the case is closed and that’s it: “Rome” being the institution or the person in charge, in a position of power. It used to be the Pope or a Monarch. Nowadays, it is a Court, a Government; in a medical context it could also be a Consultant or specialist. And content doesn’t matter. What matters is authority derived from a position, not necessarily acquired by consensus, knowledge or experience.

I like the word “Basta” and the concept it represents: that’s enough. I’ve had it. That’s it.

There really is no basis for anybody telling me (or anybody else) what is good for me, or what is in my best interest. For telling me that what I am doing is dangerous. For telling me that my decisions are wrong. Or for telling Pádraig how to live his life. Because they don’t “know” how a life with a severe Acquired Brain Injury should be lived.

No decision about me without me. No-one knows better what is good for me than myself. Basta.

Why on Earth do I have to explain why those with a sABI should follow (and that some of those with a sABI want to follow) the WHO recommendations for all adults: to reduce sedentary behaviour and to increase physical activity?:

Physical activity confers benefits for the following health outcomes:

    • improved all-cause mortality
    • cardiovascular disease mortality
    • incident hypertension
    • incident site-specific cancers,2
    • incident type-2 diabetes
    • mental health (reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression)
    • cognitive health and sleep
    • measures of adiposity

… and that doesn’t even touch on the high-risks associated with non-movement, such as organ failure and spasticity.

You can look it up yourself, but the WHO recommends a minimum of 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity.

And apart from physical activity, why does so little of what we take for granted ourselves apply to those with a sABI? Like having fun, being in good company, going for the exciting stuff, being curious, being confronted with mental challenges, humour, listening to old and new to music, checking out the news, sharing gossip — the list is endless.

Basta having to explain the obvious. We have more important things to do. We don’t have all the time in the world to bring everybody with us. Why not work with those who see the obvious? What do you think?

Here is a bit of good news coming from those who see the obvious. Pádraig is going to participate in a campaign to promote the newly established Decision Support Service and the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act. The people organising the campaign sent an email to Pádraig with the terms and conditions of his participation, a contract, including a fee proposal.

His first job offer since his accident.

I’ve got that feeling that there are many more in the pipeline. Basta with explanations. Pádraig understands what he needs, what he wants and what the purpose in his life is. While it might be difficult for everybody to understand this —

I feel like saying Roma locate, causa finita.

We have to get on with our lives.