Skip to comments.Assisted suicide: I claim the right to live as I am - imperfect
Posted on 02/16/2012 5:14:53 PM PST by wagglebee
When I was a teenager I was extremely lucky, landing in the middle of a cultural and social revolution. Driving into assembly on the back of a motorbike, having a fling with an unsuspecting English teacher and being desperate to get myself laid at 15 gave me immediate membership to the only club worth joining - the club that was 'the 60s'. Apart from occasional doses of teenage angst, I was what you might call very, alive and kicking; anything I could kick against, I did. And therein lays the problem - the one about being alive. Consider the figures reported below to be accurate statistics:
In Scotland 69 per cent are in favour of assisted suicide for people suffering from cancer or chronic diseases, while 76 per cent believe that relatives should not be prosecuted for helping.
Well of course they do, because they dont know either the whole story or the consequences of adopting such a foolhardy policy. Because in the main when youre young, fit, or thinking youll live forever, like I did, you simply want 'it' - thats death - to go away. If youve seen a relative die slowly or lost someone suddenly, then you will know that most palliative care is wanting and that in general people dont handle death very well in this country.
So wheres the rub for someone who thought shed live forever? Well it came to me late one February night when I sneezed without stopping for several hours. I was in my 30s, working freelance as a dramatherapist and still, Id like to think, kicking a bit. Id captured myself a young husband and had a one year old son. By the evening of that very same day I was completely paralysed. Not just a bit - completely.
I couldnt breathe, speak, shit or scream, only my autonomic organs worked. I was in agony everyday, fully conscious and facing my death. It took me over five months to breathe on my own, six to begin to talk and nearly two years to feed myself without sticking things down my ears.
As I lay there I thought only about being alive. You see thats the dichotomy about life - when youre dying you think about living and when youre living, well, youre going to die.
That doesnt mean planning it for the sake of convenience or because there are those in society who find age and disability abhorrent and want to escape it at any cost. Rather like the Royal College of Physicians who planned to get rid of 6,000 minimally conscious people but were halted in their tracks by Judge Baker during the M case. I will not pay that cost with my life.
I claim the right to live as I am, imperfect. I claim the right for others like me to live, despite it all and because of it all. I know what its like to be truly alone on a sea of pain and to have someone discuss your future, your place in society.
I know what it would be like if you knew that euthanasia was possible and that was your fate. Death is the undiscovered country; some, for bent love, good intentions or money would have you take the trip. Dont take it.
So, to Margo MacDonald and to her followers who once chose to leave rather than stay and listen to us I say, "If it was down to you I wouldnt be here."
So Margo, for you: Im still kicking.
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We’re all imperfect. After they get rid of the minimally functional, who is next on the list?
Oh, how I wish there were hope.
My beloved husband of 45 years is suffering from Parkinson’s and autonomic nervous system failure. He suffers constantly, and wished he could die in his sleep to get the pain over with.
I tend to his meds, bring him fresh cool washcloths to put on his burning face, help him to deal with the constant nausea, and help him every hour when he is awake, as he slowly loses control of all his normal functioning.
He is alive, but he is in such pain, and there are no meds that will stop his suffering. I do not want him to die. I want him back.
Why are some deaths so horribly agonizing, with minds are still intact, but unable to “get out” of the unresponsive body. How do I comfort him, and tell him that there is still meaning in this endless pain and suffering.
I need to know, because it is right here, and right now.
“How do I comfort him, and tell him that there is still meaning in this endless pain and suffering.”
I’m not sure if there is meaning in them, but perhaps in spite of them one can still find meaning. Like him knowing how much you love him by your tender caring. My thoughts and prayers for both you and your husband. As you too are suffering in other ways.
After watching people I love suffer I've come to the conclusion that some people suffer their purgatory on earth.
I am so sorry you and your husband are dealing with this, jacquej. I wish you lived near to me so I could help out over there. I will be praying for you two tonight. God bless you and thank you for taking such good care of your husband. Even in his suffering, he is very fortunate to have you.
I understand very well what you are speaking of. My mother passed away a few years ago from MSA, which is kind of a slightly quicker version of Parkinson’s that affects more of the body at once. I had to watch her go through all the stages to the point where she was completely bed-ridden and unable to communicate. The drugs we had to give her to keep her alive were so potent that they started to affect her mind, but all we could do was just watch and comfort her as much as possible. In that sort of situation, you are rather torn when praying. You don’t want to lose your loved one, but you don’t want them to suffer the way they are. We knew there was no cure, and no real treatment, but we did everything we could to just make her as comfortable as possible and hold her hand through it all. All I can say is that the pain for that loved one is fleeting, no matter how strung out it may seem to us. They do wind up at peace in a better place, so you just need to make sure you are taking care of yourself as well.
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