'how to die' is the striking cover for time

tobr24u(z6 RI)June 13, 2012

6/11. Joel Stein escorts us thru the final days of his parents and shows how it wasn't being done and how it was then done so that they died "serenely with dignity." Death and dying is something we would rather not confront but this article does indicate an organized way to do it provided by a particular organization that provides coordinated care in a center that will take you from assisted living thru the nursing home and hospice. It made me wonder, though, about the cost and whether not everyone would have someone to guide them through it. I'm still thinking self-delliverance, what about you?

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I think that we as humans and humans with good medicine have evolved so much that we should be able to make this decision for ourselves and carry it out like we do for our pets. Unfortunately this desire to die without suffering leads some ill people to commit suicide. I'd rather see these people carry out their wish with a doctor and their family around them, dying quietly and without pain when they choose to do so.

And it would be good to see that as a viable option as part of their basic healthcare coverage.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 7:24AM
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I agree Esh.

I'm a little bit confounded by doctors and other professionals who bring their personal beliefs into their practice with them, especially after taking an oath... those ones that refuse to help someone on the basis that it goes against THEIR moral or religious beliefs. I'm under the impression that it's more about the patient than the doctor, and perhaps they chose the wrong profession, or certainly the wrong community to practice in.

I think we should each have the free will to choose whether or not we, in certain irreversible medical circumstances and suffering, should have the option to end that suffering... and should that be our choice, it shouldn't be so difficult to find medical assistance. We should also be able to honor the wishes of our spouses or other loved ones when they're in the same circumstances.

I can clearly understand why insurance companies don't always want to pay out for suicide... but it shouldn't be the same when we're talking about human beings physically suffering so terribly, or wanting to end a long life where quality of living is nil.

I don't ever want to be laying in a hospital bed, or my own bed for that matter, with no chance of recovery... hooked to machines keeping me alive, though pretty much dead already for all intents and purposes... or suffering through the final stages of a cancer... kept alive, but not really living... and my husband doesn't want to end life like that, either. We've talked about it quite a bit.

When a person doesn't have the conditioning of a religious dogma and it's rules, why should we be forced into following such ideas?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:25AM
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And some might ask, why do I bring religion into so many discussions?

Because I've noticed that a lot of areas in life are quite tightly woven to religion or the ideas and values therein.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Everyone has the option of making a living will. Give a copy to your Dr., a copy to your attorney, a copy to someone who will be there with you. It is your decision.

From the Hippocratic oath, "I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art."

Don't know what religion has to do with it other than a chance to make a poke.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Living wills can only state that you do not want any "exceptional " measures taken to sustain your life and you can refuse prescribed treatments. However, you can't request any assistance in speeding the natural end of your life.

I don't believe it has anything to do with religion or the personal opinions and morals of the doctors. It's the law, at least here in Canada.

In my experience the end of life care given terminally ill and dying patients has been compassionate, thoughtful and respectful. Having said that I, would like to see us move forward with limited assisted suicide laws.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:51AM
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Because it's "stepping on God's toes". Life is only His to give or take. That's how religion steps into it. I hope you respect my answer :) I don't necessarily believe it when it comes to dignified dying.

It's also why I am against the death penalty.

But death? That's much harder to answer when faced with the reality of someone I love dying. I know my grandmother spent the last decade of her life suffering. Deeply. She became blind in one eye. She had a congenital heart defect, for which they implanted an ICD, and her heart beat a lot longer than it would've/should've. My grandfather died long before she did and it pained me to see her without him almost as much as it did her. They'd known each other their whole lives and were married over 60 years. She was one of the very few people whose depression can only be cured with electric shock treatment, which she was terrified of (who could blame her?!) and too weak physically to go through another round, so she spent the last few years in the deepest incurable depression I ever saw. I didn't understand the whys. I think, however, it is so much like the many whys we live. Why did the guy I love so much and dated for eight years and I not marry? Why was my first pregnancy expel the baby portion, but the rest turned into a tumor? We spend so much of our lives with whys. Why should death be any different? At least, that's the best way I can think of it. It wasn't my choice to let her suffer. Nor was it my choice to keep her from suffering. Not even because of God's role. It just wasn't an option. If it was would I have done things differently? Would I if it was my mom and know her wish is to end it? I can't say.

I never thought I would've for my kitty. I loved him so much and he came back from the brink of death once before, why wouldn't he again? But I knew it was time and I had the option. So I did. Do I think I'm a murderer? No. Do I think about it still? Yes. It was, and is still, incredibly hard. Would I do it again knowing what I know now. Yes.

But a human being? My son? Me? I don't know how I'd answer those questions. It's not my realty. I can't say what someone else's reality would be. Only they can say. Only I can say when I am faced with it if it ever happens again. I only pray the choice will be made for me. I don't know how I could handle it if I ever "had to do it" for a person.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Google living wills ignored or advanced directives ignored. Not uncommon & religion is the biggest elephant in the room in this Nation when it comes to the right to die for those who don't subscribe to the religious beliefs of the THE MAJORITY.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:28AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I saw his book promotion interview and was amazed that this was an issue because.....

I went through this with my Mom. It is possible to do if you have someone that is able to make the decision. It took educating myself and asking the right questions.

It was not easy but my Mom made it clear what she wanted. She did not put it in writing and I tried when she was well to put it in writing. She would say I told you that is enough. Thank goodness my sisters did not object to the choices I made.

I think people think there are no choices because the Doctors will not tell you that you have a choice. When they come to you with a treatment course it is up to you to ask why, what, and what else.

They told me the treatment, they ask you or the patient to sign for any and all treatment. If the papers are not signed the treatment is not done. I do not know where the confusion of there is some policy/law out there that people are kept alive to suffer.

They will not give you the Dr. Kevorkian treatment but you can get a peaceful passing treatment with the right advocate.

So my take on this issue is people are looking for Doctors to make the decision and tell them what to do for their love ones. That is not the case and I do not think it should be the case.

They take an oath to treat. Your oath is what treatment you want or need to accept.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:33AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Although my mom had a living will it didn't specify no feeding tube, so we had no choice after her massive stroke. She lingered for 3.5 months with zero quality of life.

I'm all for self-deliverance.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 10:40AM
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Marquest, I brought up the doctor thing because there are doctors and pharmacists, who have taken oaths to help people, who won't do things like write or fill birth control or day after pill prescriptions and other things because it's against their personal beliefs. A lot of times, in order to help ease someone dying past the point into death, itself, one needs certain medications, or whatnot... and often, finding help can be difficult depending on where you are located. Certain communities are rather church conscious... and quite a few of society's ideas and ideals are religious in nature.

It also depends on where you end up... I'm very glad my parents refused hospitalization or care elsewhere, and decided in no uncertain terms that they wanted to die at home, with us around them, helping them as best we could. My Mom suffered horribly, or would have without the compassion of her doctors... acute leukemia takes a person quickly, and is very, very painful toward the end. I could see it and hear it in between large doses of morphine. It was just heart wrenching to watch.

We told her doctors flat out that if they were gonna play the "we don't want her to become addicted" games, we'd go elsewhere and find a doctor that would keep her pain free. Luckily, they were all for helping her with whatever she needed or wanted.

I hate to say it, but even if a person is younger and not ill, why should the choice to end one's life be in someone else's hands? Don't we each belong to ourselves?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:34AM
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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

So personal. Not my business. Certainly not the business of the State or Govt.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:43AM
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Unless one is injured or becomes ill or incapacitated very suddenly, people have an opportunity to off themselves.
Unless one is paralyzed and unable to make it to the medicine cabinet they should still be able to check out without any help.

A couple of bottles of over the counter sumthin sumthin and some privacy and it's over if someone truly wants it to be.

I guess some feel a need to involve others.
I think that is rather selfish.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Mrs. Please read that oath again and then come back and more roundly re-discuss the oath which was written in a different era wherre chickens were an accepted form of payment, if indeed one even had a chicken, OK?

Obviously, it's been awhile since you last glanced at it. Reading it is a real hoot!

It reflects the times in which it was written. Again, times have changed.

Religion is so often brought into this subject discussion because, but not for religion or a punitive God belief, we would treat ourselves and our end of life choices better than we do our most beloved pet.

Or at least as kindly and gently, with the same understanding, love and compassion. At least that.

If, of course, so many didn't think it a sin or would offend God or send their soul straight to hell.

Which, if one believes that - fine. Like abortion, then I would advise: don't ever do it, not under any circumstances whatsoever and don't let anyone else talk you into doing it if you don't believe it to be a worthy choice for yourself.

Just don't attempt to get legally entangled in the outcome of my own soul because of your own beliefs.

Permit your God sort all the after life judgements himself, just exactly as he cautioned us all to leave only to him to do, right?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 4:05PM
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mylab if you can find your own Dr. Kevorkian, I have no problem with that. That's not the Dr. for me. Your soul is between you and God and none of my business. Drs. take an oath to first do no harm. You don't like it, make them change it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 4:37PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Jack Kevorkian was a saint. I think even God would agree with that.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 4:55PM
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For shame! Bad, sad deflection Mrs.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 5:10PM
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I'm not deflecting anything mylab, I don't know what your point is? We don't agree on many things. To me life is sacred, both the unborn and the born. We view religion differently as well. To me, prayer was removed from school and replaced with bullies and children with guns. The Ten Commandments are being removed from all public places, and replaced with people who would chew your face off. This is how "I" see it. "You" see it differently. Are you wrong? Naturally I think so. Am I wrong? Naturally you think so. One day we'll find out the answer.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 6:04PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Could you get any more extreme? As if there are no bullies and children with weapons in religious schools.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 6:22PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Jodik, Maybe I should not consider my doctor or my hospital services as the same every where.

My mother's doctor is the family physcian. He has known all of us for over 40 years. We had his Father before him. He went to the same college as my daughter. They were in undergraduate classes together. That could be the difference of my experience.

All decisions flowed through him from the specialist. If I had further questions then I spoke to the specialist. They did nothing without talking to me and giving me the outcome, alternate, and choices.

When she passed every one of them sent condolence and flowers. Those 8 months was a personal relationship.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 6:53PM
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In 1989, my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer, a type that is guaranteed to kill. He knew, my mom knew, my siblings knew. My dad wanted to die at home and he only wanted to die once. We were all in agreement. We all moved back home at the end.

My aunt, who was a Dr (and who personally knew Kevorkian and despised his methods) told our family that when dad died, we should NOT immediately call an ambulance. She advised us to sit, chat, have a
drink....and let at least 1 hr pass before we called. If the ambulance folks showed up and there was even a remote chance that he might still be alive, they would HAVE to try and bring him back.

I know with absolute certainty the 10 minute span in which my dad died. And when it happened, I woke the family, we cracked open a few beers,
cried and laughed, 90 minutes later, we made the ambulance call. Dad got his wish.

A different aunt died last year. She was sharp as a tack, but at 94, her body just simply started to shut down. She opted for the Liverpool Care Pathway and my cousins respected her wishes. The Liverpool Care Pathway is the way for me.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 6:53PM
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One day I will cease breathing that will be the end no question no answer just alive & then not alive. If I have a say in the matter if it's messy in the end I would be pleased. I don't need or wish to have somone elses god sitting on my chest

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 7:19PM
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That's how we feel, Joe... and Mylab, I only want to die once, too... so does my husband. We have an understanding between us that should one of us have a severe stroke, life threatening heart attack, or are in any way incapacitated to the point where we cease living, the other will walk away and take a ride into town for something... come home, and then call the emergency services. Under no circumstances do we want to be brought back with the help of electric paddles or some injection of anything, and possibly live out the remainder of our lives lying there, looking out of a hollow, unworkable shell of a body, unable to communicate.

Marquest, you're very lucky to have good doctors... as are we, now. But I've been to plenty that feel differently about certain things, and it rankles me, because I know my own body and I don't like to be condescendingly told how I feel, or patronized in any way. I'm the only one that knows how I feel. Someone else cannot know... even when they have a medical degree. They can guess, but they don't live in my body.

It's one of the reasons I'll never have a doctor that belongs to a giant corporation or medical group where they treat you more like cattle with insurance or cash... I prefer a doctor that works his own office, and will take the time to listen to me, explain things to me fully, include diet as part of the questioning and overall health process, and doesn't presume to know how I feel.

My husband and I have been through the wringer trying to locate a doctor that could and would actually help, and we so lucked out finding ours. He takes his oath seriously, and helping people is his first concern. His group of doctor friends are the best in their specialties. Because he sent us to the specialist he did, my husband now has much better range of motion in his neck. His back is still the same, but his neck improved... and after 30 or more years of suffering, that's a gift!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:10PM
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"If the ambulance folks showed up and there was even a remote chance that he might still be alive, they would HAVE to try and bring him back."

A friend's husband had an abdominal aortic aneurism, from which there is almost never any recovery, even for a healthy young man.

This man was nearly 70, he had been an alcoholic for decades & had the liver damage to prove it;
he had lung cancer & alcoholic dementia, & he had stopped eating, so he weighed about 120 pounds.

He had had back pain all evening but refused to go to the emergency room;
when he turned waxen & passed out, his wife called the ambulance.

When they managed to rouse him, he refused to go to the emergency room, & they couldn't force him...
until he passed out again.

One of the EMTs said his pupils were fixed & dilated.

At the local emergency room the aneurism was discovered, & the doctor told my friend they didn't even gave a surgeon who did this kind of surgery, & her husband had to be careflighted to Dallas.

My friend asked,
"Does he have a chance of surviving this?",
& the doctor said,
"Probably not. but we have to try."

Six hours later, he died for the last time.

It was torture for all of them, the man who died, his wife, her sister & brother-in-law who had to drive her to the big hospital in Dallas, her very elderly, very fragile mother-in-law.

My friend just received the surgeon's bill...$54,000.

She dreads going to the mailbox to see what comes in next.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:32PM
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The point is...
jmc01 did the right thing;
be sure the people who are likely to be with you when you need to go know when to call the ambulance.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:35PM
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For once, I'm in complete agreement. I think it's very important to abide by someone's wishes in this capacity. People should not have to suffer any more than they are willing to. If their wish is to be left to die, then we should keep that promise to them.

Most of us who post here are middle aged or thereabouts, I'd guess... and we know what our health issues and risks are. We also know how much we want to go through when our time comes.

I feel bad for that poor woman, who is now saddled with huge hospital bills... and the man died anyway, as I'm sure they suspected he would... given his condition. I don't know why they took him to the ER... if he refused to go while conscious, what would make the ambulance personnel think he'd want to go when he passed out?

This is why we have to know, in a concrete manner, what the wishes of our loved ones are. I don't want my fate left to an ambulance driver.

I mean, if my husband fell and broke a leg or hip, I'd take him to the ER... that's a fairly simple fix. But if we're talking about being a lot older, and knowing we're dying of cancer, or something equally as deadly... then, no... I do not wish to be resuscitated, and neither does my husband. We want to pass away at home, where we're in the presence of our family, in a familiar, comfortable place.

When my Mom neared her time to go, we made her as comfortable as possible, and simply sat with her... she passed away quietly in the middle of the night. In the morning, we called the proper authorities, and the funeral home made arrangements to come take her for cremation.

I will say... I was shocked at how nosy the neighbors were... they were showing up at the door, crowding the police and coroner, or funeral personnel, before her body was even gone, asking all sorts of questions... it was not what we needed at the time, and some of them were quite adamant about watching the whole process, and we had a hard time getting them to go home and wait for the announcement to be made at church and in the newspaper. What can you do to help? Go home. Let the professionals do what they need to do.

Once she passed, we dialed the non-emergency number for the police, and let them know that she was an elderly cancer patient, and had passed. They usually want to come and take statements, and get the information for the death certificate. Then we called the funeral home she chose, and made arrangements. It was all very sad and tiring... I was exhausted, and thankful my husband and brothers and sister were there. And also thankful that Mom hadn't suffered, except for the few moments in between her medication doses.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 4:20PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

This has been a interesting and informative post. What I am gathering is searching for the right doctor is key to this not any laws that drive the outcome.

Jodik, good for you and your husband taking the time to find the right doctors. I know what you mean about the doctors that are in it for the money. When my mother went in to the emergency hospital that was when I had the biggest fights.

I had to deal with the interns, and the doctors on staff that thought because she was in their hospital they could do what ever they thought was best. Their "do what was best" was always in their best interest for what they could charge extra and for the interns to get their experience. That oath goes out the window when it is for them.

If there is one thing I can tell people from my experience is when you go to the emergency room ask the person that comes in the room if they are a intern. Some of the questions they ask when they come in the room has nothing to do with the care of your love one. They come in for experience. It is like studying a book. My Mom was not a text book for them to look at and ask questions when she was in pain.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:37AM
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Mrs, I shouldn't have to "find my own Dr. Kevorkian" - I shouldn't have to meet someone in a seedy motel so that he can, under the cloak of darkness, deliver me from my agony of terminal illness because people like you want to save my soul and prevent me from offending your God and thus, will NOT insist that their rep see to it that all of us has the right to exercise our own *choice* in our manner of death if chronically ill in such a manner which leaves life not worth living - or terminally ill in such a way that will cause us to linger without any life worth living.

There is that dirty word again. Choice.

It's not enough for you that you would not choose it personally for yourself as your own choice - you would also support those in power who will force your own choice upon the rest of us in this country, a huge percentage which would disagree with you and want something else for themselves in that time of crises and pain.

And there is where my problem is with how you think.

".....if you can find your own Dr. Kervorkian I have no problem with that."

No problem with me only if I sneak under the radar from the authorities who would want to choose my end of life for me, regardless of the circumstances. If I hide it and get away with it you won't turn me in. And only if caught, if my Dr. goes to prison for breaking the law. And maybe me too, if the deed has not been done. But certainly would you not allow me to deliver myself with my own choice.

Actually, by your support to keep my choice illegal, you prove that you certainly *do* have a problem with that.

Yes, again we disagree.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 12:47PM
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Well said, mylab.

Actually, by your support to keep my choice illegal, you prove that you certainly *do* have a problem with that.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 12:51PM
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....watching someone die is something I would not wish on my worst enemy (if I had one) and I was blessed with a doctor who did everything possible to make it easier. There is no easier while watching those you love take their last breath, at the end I prayed to God to take him or turn him loose and give him back to us. Yes I did.

I have no idea why I opened this thread. The pain is like yesterday.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Ohio, your reality is exactly the one I worried about. I can't fathom what it was like. Even still. (((HUGS to you)))

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:18PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Drs. take an oath to first do no harm. You don't like it, make them change it.

mrskjun, that is the point. HARM!!!! They do not have to give you extraordinary medications or procedures. That is where the harm comes in to the dignity of end of life if they are preforming those procedures to prolong the pain and suffering.

Why do you think it a doctor is breaking the law to grant a person that wish?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:20PM
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Ohiomom, I think that when someone lives through and watches the awful and lingering months/years leading to the death of a loved one, they grasp the great and overwhelming need for choice regarding the issue.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:51PM
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I am fortunate enough to live in a state with assisted death-there are hoops and not everyone can benefit because you have to be able to ask for it yourself but you can get medication to take and keep it till you are ready to use it but you have to be able to administer it to yourself. a step in the right direction. Oregon has had this for some time and it seems to work. For many just the comfort of knowing you do not have to endure all the details of slowly dying if you dont want too is enough. They get the meds but dont use them.

I can't agree with Demi that everyone can 'off' themselves if they want and that makes it tidy and private and inoffensive-If you do that someone has to find you afterwards and death is not always as tidy as you might think. There can be vomiting, the bowels often release... It would be a severe shock to a family member or friend to find the body and how long before that happened? Plus you have to die alone. It is a sad world when wanting someone with you is selfish.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 2:34PM
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..............and (from what my best friend who had pancreatic cancer told me) never store the stash in a place that gets any light or humidity and though the expiration date for such meds are longer than listed, not by more than three years unless you want to wake up in a big fat embarrassing physical and emotional mess.

It's very tricky.

If we could hire a doctor or nurse to help us in such a terrible time, it would be humane both for ourselves but our loved ones who wanted to be with us that last day of living by choice.

I do see how this new law could be abused. Absolutely there would have to be carefully drawn out guidelines. And it would still abused - everything is abused.

But like most stuff, the percentage of abuse would not be worthy of removal of the choice available because it simply wouldn';t be that large - it rarely is. If monitored as much as is possible in a real world we live in, it is a choice of dignity or none at all at our end - by those who choose to plan their death due to untreatable chronic painful illness or terminal disease.

But it would provide for thos ewho chooose it, dignity at their end of life. Who is any of us to deny a person a dignified death faced with such pain and turmoil otherwise?

What a shame we have to 'squirrel away' dignity in fear of the time of awful, dreadful necessity because so many would choose to force their own choice upon so many of the unwilling.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 5:29PM
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I sincerely hope that this thread will at least cause some pause for those who are against having the people have a legal choice in this matter, I really do. All will not certainly change their minds if they don[t believe in it,

but for those who might, when they change their minds might very well be much, much too late to serve themselves or their loved ones well and with dignity.

Better to deeply think about what all of us should be responsible for when it comes to our own individual decision right now when it's not a necessity than when it might become one.

That way there is still time to demand change from our reps who might listen to their voting public. Too late is too late.

It should not be a choice exercised by the cloak of darkness, shame, fear, humiliation or dispair.

Each should have the right to choice, either way.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 5:35PM
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It is "HARM" to end abject suffering? So, the few would have the rest suffer for their selfish wishes or religious beliefs, is that it? What about you? Do YOU want to suffer?

We are not talking about "suffering" a paper cut, here... we're talking about pain that most people can't even begin to imagine, let alone endure! Beyond the threshold of normalcy... way beyond it!

Why should human beings be forced into this sort of suffering?

My husband's father lost the will to live long before he died. When his wife passed away of brain cancer, he just wanted it all to end. He was old, he was riddled with cancers, himself, and he just wanted it all to end.

For the last month of his life, he asked the question every day, "why can't I just die, already?"

He proudly served his country during WWI, was highly decorated, a great humanitarian, loved by his family, and yet, he ended up dying in my husband's arms while on the toilet, spitting up a piece of cancerous lung. To say he didn't suffer until the very end would be stretching it greatly.

Upon his passing, my husband, who is atheist to the core, felt a great rush of calmness and tranquility. He had stayed alive to see all the grandchildren born, and had been able to spend time with them before passing.

His wife, their grandmother, had not been so fortunate. The moment our last child was born, and my husband told her what they had named her and how much she weighed, she slipped into a coma and never returned. It took 3 months for her to finally pass. She never got to see her granddaughter.

My family was rather lucky in the respect of death and dying... my father passed away in the middle of the night, as did Mom... eerily, both from leukemia... and the only grandparent I remember died while kneeling next to her bed saying her nightly prayers. She had a massive heart attack.

The entire point in all this is that as painful as it might be for the living, for those we leave behind, it is OUR wishes that should hold the most weight. No law or doctor should hold the capacity to make us go on living, go on suffering, if that is not our wish.

No, Ohiomom... it's not the easiest thing to be forced to watch... which is why a quick and painless release, if that is our wish, should be made available.

I absolutely refuse to be held by laws or the beliefs of others in this respect. I will abide by my husband's wishes, and he will abide by mine.

It would be sad, indeed, if we had to sneak around laws to obtain the objective we seek, but if those who are selfish will force suffering, then so be it... we will sneak if we have to. What a horrid thought... that there are those who would wish to keep a human or animal alive for their own selfish needs or beliefs.

It was a relief to me, as well, when my parents passed... they had both suffered, each in their own way, even though we were able to ease their pain as much as humanly possible.

This whole issue should not be about belief or selfishness... it should be about love great enough to realize that death is a natural part of life. Suffering in pain should not accompany it if at all possible. That's a very simple logic.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:37PM
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People end their own pain every day. Why is it necessary to put that off to another human being? Drs. are not gods, they should not have the power of life and death. Where does it end? Is it just your wishes? Why can't the dr just decide when it's time for someone to go and facilitate that according to his own criteria? Or should we allow the government to decide when the time should be up?

People make decisions about their end of life every day. They are given the choice of dying at home, in a hospital, in hospice. Families are given the choice of pulling the plug, drs. will give enough pain medication to make one pain free. What more do you want?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:46PM
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They are given the choice of dying at home, in a hospital, in hospice. Families are given the choice of pulling the plug, drs. will give enough pain medication to make one pain free.

...not going to spend any more time on this thread, but yes MrsK that is what the doctors did for himself at the end. As far as me deciding to end one's life, no that I cannot and will not do. Thought I should clear up my position on that.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:01PM
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I would imagine that there are many medical professionals who would go into this very field Mrsk. Never worry that you might end up having to do it yourself or that it would be "forced" upon a medical professional who chose a different field of work within the profession.

But please do grant others to choose with the same vigor with which you would not allow someone to prevent you from exercising your own choice.

I don't think that allowing others choice over matters concerning their own lives is something you are at all comfortable with. You appear to like things the way you want them to be and are much more comfortable when everyone else has to live them your way, too.

Not meaning to be mean, it's simply an observation I've noticed before. I can't for the life of me figure out why it is so important to you that the rest of the nation live their personal lives and have only the choices you yourself make made available to them without other choice.

Freedom exists only if a nation's people naturally extends choice in their personal lives to it's individuals. It's when no choice is allowed that the nation becomes a dictatorship.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 8:48PM
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mylab, why are you arguing against the very fact that I think everyone should have the choice over these matters. I just don't believe you should put either that burden or that power in the hands of someone else, even a dr. Your choice, your loved ones choice. No one else.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Nobody but a doctor can provide the necessary meds in the right amount or combo for the effect desired: an easy and fast slipping away.

The stuff people squirrel are not the meds that a professional would ever use.

Usually the meds would be inserted via an I.V.

That takes a medical professional.

I honestly don't understand your reluctance regarding this topic if in fact you don't care if people want to kill themselves if in dire medical straits.

Dying is part of living and doing it well would also be part of care best given by a medical professional who was NOT forced to do it against his will.

Again, I think you feel that all medical professionals would be as against doing this procedure as you yourself would be. If that is the case, you would be wrong. Many do it already, quietly, compassionately and simply word the chart differently. It's a well known medical professional "secret" throughout the U.S Mrsk.

The problem is, there are no guidelines and if someone wants to draw their life's conclusion while they are still healthy enough to feel well (avoiding pain) there are no professionals available to break the law that flagrantly. The meaures are generally saved for the final, awful, suffering unto death days.

We can do better than that - we do better than this for our animals.

Lets not make all those professionals break the law anymore in order in to best provide the care necessary for the best physical interest of their near death patient. Lets make it part of the medical care of the terminally ill/untreatable chronically in pain, if requested.

Can you agree with that much?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:07PM
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How timely ! The British Columbia Supreme Court had just overturned the laws banning assisted suicide. I suspect we are on the road to a totally revised , humane, end of life law.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 2:05AM
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That's wonderful news, Chase! Wonderful news for those who are suffering to the point where any other option is preferable.

I think Mrskjun forgets that regardless of laws and beliefs, there are many ways around such things... from vacating the premises and leaving more than enough medications within reach, to obtaining black market drugs, to plain old suicide with whatever tool might be handy.

Ending life does not always have to include another person... and I'd never want to be in a hospital situation should I become that incapacitated. I want to be at home where I know my family will abide by my final wishes.

While most people think of medical procedures as only being done by medically qualified personnel, there are a lot of persons very familiar with inserting IV's, giving injections, and knowing precisely where to obtain the chemical preparations necessary and how much it would take based upon body weight and other factors.

It's not always left in the hands of professionals, and as Mylab alludes to, there are many professionals that are sympathetic enough to help people skirt certain legalities when it comes to the suffering and dying.

There are many routes... some that the average person wouldn't even think of.

We simply believe that no one should have to suffer at the whim of another... or that such suffering should be prolonged should that person not wish it.

To force suffering is inhumane.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 9:09AM
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"People make decisions about their end of life every day. They are given the choice of dying at home, in a hospital, in hospice. Families are given the choice of pulling the plug, drs. will give enough pain medication to make one pain free. What more do you want?"

Hospice will make you as comfortable as they can. Doctors will make you as comfortable as they can. Perhaps the only way to make you comfortable is to keep you unconcious or nearly so. It is almost impossible to tell how comfortable the person is. What I want is the right to not have to see the process out if I dont want to...the slow bit by bit failure of my systems, the systemic decay pinned to a bed with tubes everywhere. Those dying of lung disease will suffocate and there is nothing to do about that. People with congestive heart failure drown. Maybe I would want to skip that part-why not?
Oregon has had the right to die for some time and when Washington looked into their laws they found that they could not find any cases of people being forced or any problematic deaths.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 2:20PM
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That's precisely what I'm talking about, Patriciae... a slow, prolonged, decaying death, lasting days, weeks, months, or even years... at the mercy of your caregivers, and when they decide to do things... there's no guarantee that you'll be kept "as comfortable as possible".

No... that's not right. Prolonging the inevitable is simply not right. Not if that person's wish is to NOT prolong the inevitable.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 4:19PM
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I'll reiterate if I've already said this one. My friend's father had ALS. If you don't know, this disease destroys every last inch of your body while leaving your mind intact to realize it all. It's a horrible disease. He begged for them not to feed him in the end. Friend was danged if she did, danged if she didn't. By not feeding him, wouldn't she be assisting him to die? Would that be wrong? There can be some grey area here, but I sure see how drugs could've made it all go away faster than the agony they were all living.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:40AM
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Exactly Robin... it is a catch-22 at times. It also depends upon a person's beliefs. I think religion plays a huge part in some people's decisions.

The way I see it... I have an obligation to the husband I love so very much to stay within keeping of his wishes. And he has the same obligation to me. It will simply depend on which of us passes, or nears passing, first.

Prolonged suffering, or being made to live through the use of machines or other methods is just not how we want to end life. And once gone, we do not wish to be brought back by any methods.

Life is difficult enough without prolonging what we know to be inevitable. And there are so many diseases that can rob a person of either body or mind... it's a very sad thing to witness.

This is another of those issues that I believe should be a federally decided thing, instead of state by state, allowing each person to make the choice that fits best for them.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:26AM
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Without religion telling many that it is the wrong thing to do, we would have at least as compassionate a way and probably a far more compassionate way to choose to depart from life under certain conditions as we do with our beloved pets.

I've never heard of anyone refusing to put an animal out of misery because it was considered to be murder, or against the ten commandments or a sin. It is considered compassion. I'd like to see compassion spread around as thickly as some like to have whipped cream thick on strawberry shortcake.

Religion and the belief in God can do a lot of good and also terrible amount of harm in this world, all by people ho honestly believe that they are doing the "right thing" when, in fact, they are doing a terrible thing, often by simple control over others.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:42PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

The right to die and the right to marry should be universal rights. Why are people so afraid of doing the right thing?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:14PM
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People are afraid of death so the elevate life to some supreme endurance test that must be endured unto the last vile of hydromorphone. Disgusting crowd of fanatics. If we found the doctors who would not be burdened by assisting our exit these sadists would still insist we live past our desire to do so.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:22PM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

Hemlock Society...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 6:25AM
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I agree with Natal... and I think Mylab and Joe are right. Though some religions might have good intentions, I think they do harm people by conditioning them to think in a certain way, often opposite of how we might think if we were never introduced in the first place.

I've never understood the fear of death thing... I would if not everyone and everything had to die, but everything does, so what's to fear?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:58AM
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I'm less sure they're right. Part of me agrees and part of me doesn't agree. If you're so incapacitated you can't do anything (dying) what if you wouldn't make that choice? It's what I had to think about with kitty. What would he do? But could I know beyond any certainty? I realize the discussion takes place ahead of time, but people's minds do change. One might want to have lived when faced with death and vice versa, one has lost the will to live. Who can possibly know 100% until they're faced with it personally. That we'll die that is certain. But how and when, it's never certain. I'm not so sure that we should add in human fallibility with "interested" advice. If that makes sense. That is, I find it to be an INDIVIDUAL'S right. Other people's input shouldn't weigh in at all. Not the government and not family members.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:59AM
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I believe that's what most of us are saying... we should be allowed to make that decision ourselves, ahead of time, or at that time... and we should be allowed to have a trusted family member or legal guardian/agent stand up for us and our wishes in case we can't.

Living in a shell of a body that doesn't work, unable to communicate our suffering, is no kind of life. Or being basically brain dead but kept alive physically by machines is no kind of life.

The decision to end our lives should belong to us... not to the state. Some of us do not see it in the context of a "sin" to end suffering. Mercy and empathy trump any sort of religious beliefs in my world. In other words, I don't think assisted suicide or helping the terminally ill and/or aged to end suffering comes with any punishment, since I don't believe a god exists.

I certainly do not want to be kept alive just because someone else can't bear to let me go. And if I'm in such shape that I can't communicate my wishes, what's the point? Let me go.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 8:53AM
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No, no--I realize we agree on those points. (grin) What I am saying is... when you can't communicate. That part worries me. What if you suddenly decided you wanted to fight to live? And you couldn't communicate it? That is too hard for me to not think about. I feel too deeply, empathize too much, that I would be paralyzed to do what needed to be done. That's where I am torn.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Well rob-you can look at it this way-if you had already plainly stated what you thought at the time was your preference and that preference was dying and so you were assisted to die you would just be dead which you were going to be fairly shortly anyway. I personally believe there are way worse things than dying. I saw a documentary once on people dying and their families decisions about what to do and it was appalling to see the decisions that selfish families members made to keep frail sick people alive because they did not want the responsibility to make the decision for them. I remember one woman in particular-resusitated and put on life support-horrible, a wasted shell in her 90's who had already died.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:44PM
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patricia, I am deeply conflicted about those who can't communicate it. Does that make sense? I can see where someone would be fully entrenched on the other side, but I do think it can mean one is fairly selfish not help if the person had really really wanted it, but it could also be something else. I hear ya, and others, but that is one hard line to get over. I assume others may not be able to get over it. As strong as I am, and part of me can't... someone else may not be strong enough to get over that line at all. Have mercy on them. It's not all about selfish desires. That's my point.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Robb, isn't it possible that (through extensive disease damage or arriving at whatever stage one might when the end of natural life is at hand) one can be rendered no longer capable of thought?

I'd like to think that's true. Had an aunt of great old age who resisted making her wishes known beyond "people will do the right thing." That was pretty open ended. My brother and I had to decide when she lapsed into a coma. We let her go. It seemed right.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 2:03PM
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I suppose it is "possible". But I know of people who have awakened from comas. One woman said she felt trapped and wanted out. I guess I could tell myself the person is no longer capable of thought to get through it, but would I know it? No. I'm sure I could not live with the what ifs after that. Someone cognizant and fully capable of expressing the desire, like my friend's father, sure. That's easy. It's when it gets to that grey area... I'm sure I'm not alone. Surely!

Mike, whose tear saved him

Jill, last rally became her true rally

Lisa screaming with all of her "soul" [her words!] not to be taken off life support.

I guess, the more I know, the less certain I am about being able to do it!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 2:34PM
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I know that seven doctors all recommended taking my dad off life support. ONE doctor, his critical care pulmonologist, asked us to trust him, and he would tell us when to pull the plug. With a 2% chance of surviving and a lot of prayer and constant vigil, dad lived and enjoyed eight more years of life, with his intellect and wits intact, but dependent on leg braces because his legs atrophied. He was sixty-three years old at the time of his staph induced trauma.

I had two doctors tell me in no uncertain terms (since I held the living will Dad had executed) to pull the plug and open the hospital bed for someone else as there was absolutely no chance of him surviving.

It was a tough call for our family because we knew dad didn't want to be stuck on life support, but I learned at that time to never give up hope and what faith and prayer can do.

Each situation is different, but we DON'T always know what is going on and whether someone is going to make it or not.
Sometimes people recover; sometimes miracles happen.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 4:05PM
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It all points to why it's so necessary to work with a medical professional in order to detail the perameters of how you want your last hours/days to be handled by those who will have to speak for you.

But all this still doesn't really fully address the issue of a person having control of how they want to control their own way of dying if they have a terminal illness or untreatable chronic illness which they feel makes life not worth living.

The very last days when a person is to the point that they can't speak for themselves are tragic - there are many who don't want those undignified last days of no ability to speak for themselves.

Nobody HAS to choose to plan how they will die if they don't want to wait for the body to fade away. They can allow the body to finally fade away, if that is their choice.

We must allow the choice for those who wish to exercise a different way of living and dying. It's a shame there are so many who would vote for reps who would prevent that choice for those who would choose a path which would be different from what they, themselves insist is the way to die.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 4:13PM
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That's the part I don't like... government representatives legislating on what is a personal, moral issue. They have no business within that realm.

I decide what's in my best interests when it come to living and dying, reproducing, etc... and if I can't communicate, then I know my husband or son will make the right choice. I have complete faith that they will not be selfish in their decisions, just as I wouldn't be. As I said, mercy and selflessness, an end to suffering... especially when you're old and/or terminal... trump anything else. We are not a religious family, and sin has no bearing on any of it.

Here's another area where the religious beliefs of our representatives are getting in the way of logical, rational legislation.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Doesn't anyone/everyone have a good health care directive - living will, advance directive...? Something to think about while of sound mind so you're not leaving loved ones in any doubt as to your wishes.

I went the lawyer route for everything while setting up my trust, updating my will, etc. But forms can be downloaded for anyone not wanting to spend on an attorney.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 7:01PM
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I still maintain that the absolutely worst thing that would happen is that you would be dead and I dont see that as being such a dreadful thing. The person aware on life support who doesn't want to die is in no worse situation than the person trapped under a building after an earthquake who doesnt want to die either but no one knows they are there and that building is not sufficiently searched or perhaps can't even be searched safely..so it goes. I don't see any reason to deny others the solace of knowing they can have release because mistakes will be made. It would make as much sense as not using doctors or hospitals because they make mistakes-all the time, every day.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 4:55PM
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I don't find being dead dreadful. I find making someone else who doesn't want to be dead, dead. How would that bring them solace? It'd be like not digging through the rubble tooth and nail to get to them. To just say, Oh well. When all it took was a bit of digging. There is a fine line between bravery and stupidity, I realize that. Demi was brave and took the time to do it right and it turned out well for their family. What if less patient people had been patient? Would their relative still be here? I'm not saying in every case, but even if it is just one, and I am the one!

There have been people who knew what was going on. How could I face someone if I didn't help them, if what I believe is true (we will see each other again), how can I face them and tell them I did exactly what they didn't want done? The ultimate thing that cannot be undone? It's just too hard on my mind, heart, and soul. It breaks my heart to envision.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:46AM
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