At work, we talk about this often—quality of life. What is the quality of life? It varies from person to person, where we are at right now, where we have been, what we've been through.
To me, life is good, when I see my children smiling when they are successful in school or at work, and eventually when they become self-sufficient. It can be most of the parents' dream. Quality of life is good enough for me if I am free of life-changing illness that prevents me from providing for my family, free of severe pain, free of severe anxiety. I had been there and can't imagine going back.
At work, in intensive care unit, many families and patients face the situation of whether to go on and on with aggressive medical treatment. What is the best possible scenario? How much suffering does it take to have a chance of 5 percent or so in life and live with, maybe breathing through a tracheostomy, feeding through a tube, not being able to walk again, and be bedridden? Often times, the patients are too sick to decide so families decide. Sometimes the patient has a living will, a health-directive set up ahead of time. Sometimes, the family changes this, which they can do.
What is the quality of life for someone who cannot speak?