We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, August 23. 2019
It's never too soon to have a Will, and a Living Will. Trouble can strike at any time as we all have seen.
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Recently realized that my pack of doctors have busily elevated my expensive prescriptions while denying me the one medicine that gives me a s.all reprieve from pain. With all the cost of the medicine, the crummy side effects, do i really want to keep shelling out the money, suffering the side effects and always feeling awful? The answer is no. I'm taking back the wheel and driving my own bus from now on.
Don't leave out Power of Attorney. Saved my bacon, and Dad's after he had a major stroke. Make sure you give it someone you trust.
I've been there when family members died and I wouldn't call it a good death even with a will and power of attorney. Death is hard and bad for some people.
The article touched on something important: That was it was the surviving spouse or the child who resented the life saving measures. We don't get to ask the patient because all of this is in retrospect and they are gone. I'm not gone, I have a terminal illness and I want to live. I don't want to give up or go gentle into that good night. I also don't want my quality of life left to be any worse than it need be. I try to manage my doctor visits between my specialists and regular doctor such that they all occur about the same time and in between visits I have time to do things without that worry being front and center. I've seen what hospice care is and don't like it. It may come to that but if it does I hope that then I go quickly. I've seen what assisted living care is and I don't want that either. But most of all I want to enjoy what time I have left as best I can without doctors and hospitals and tests all the time.
My father had a box with all of his stuff in it laid out and organized. Inside he had wrote a letter to us 10 years prior as to what his wishes were (which he amended each year) and suggestions on how to handle problems that were bound to crop up. It was one of the best gifts that he could have given my brothers and me. Instead of running around trying to figure out what to do we spent time together.
Mum was in her late '90s before she decided she needed to update her will, sign a power of attorney, and get a living will. Took her to a young lawyer we knew and she gave instructions. When time came to sign everything, I could not be present for various legal reasons, so it was left to the young lawyer to explain what was being signed. After a considerable length of time, lawyer came out to say they couldn't get Mum to understand and she was getting agitated (Mum was legally blind and her hearing wasn't the greatest). So I went in to help. The living will was causing problems. I read it, looked straight at Mum, and said, "This means I get to decide when to pull the plug.". Gasps all around the table from the younger people there, but Mum just said "Thank you, dear" and signed.
Here's an e-mail exchange which took place between myself and a Canadian organization known as "Dying With Dignity."
Dear Dying With Dignity,
I admire the work that you are doing, and I wish you the best. I must add, however, that excluding euthanasia from the discussion is a failure on your part to create a complete conversation. In the future, I anticipate that millions of elderly will be euthanized. This number will greatly exceed the number of patients who voluntarily ask for the procedure.
You are catering to a small group; and ignoring the large group. That's not very responsible. Your organization should establish guidelines on who should be euthanized (for example, those who are brain-dead) when they should be euthanized, and who should do it. By avoiding this subject, you are sending the message that you're not really serious about helping people to die with dignity.
Dear Ron, Thank you for your honesty.
I really respect what you had said and believe it or not we as organization are far from satisfied in regards to the legislation that governs MAID. We wish things were different especially around the eligibility criteria for mental health conditions and dementia. The example that you had outlined (brain dead) in your e mail is fairly well taken care of. Individuals with such a condition do not qualify for MAID but they will not be left to live. In situations like that life supportive measures get to be turned off, and individuals die. Individuals have been kept alive as a result of a dispute between the family and the hospital.
What i have learned in my years with DWD Canada is that you can have a good wishes and intentions, but you also need to be in synchronicity with what society can digest. So I do hear you Ron I really do but at the same time I truly believe that us coming up with guidelines like that would not change anything unless we can change things legally in courts, and according to our lawyers that is just not a possibility right now. If you have more questions or if you need further clarification please let me know.
Personal Support Program Manager
That was a great response. I understand your position better now, and I hope that you succeed in giving people more control over their future. In America, we've got tens of millions of barely conscious elderly people being warehoused; because nobody knows what to do with them. They suffer a lot, and the only thing that they can remember is that they used to have children. They keep asking when their son or daughter is going to take them home. But those sons and daughters will never arrive; they never even come to visit. It's a human tragedy of enormous proportions. And since nobody wants to take moral responsibility for finding a solution, the problem just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Honestly, when I walk through a nursing home, and see the human skeletons, I want to cry. They reach out to you from their bed, asking to be rescued. Did you ever read Dante's Inferno? Well, we've built an even better version, and the first circle of hell is filled with our own parents. Of course, the doctors don't want to appear unfeeling, so they've decided to starve old people to death. They think that's compassionate.
Nino, it's pointless to wait for public opinion to change. Nobody is ever going to ask for their own parents to be put down. At issue here is the legal and moral difference between euthanasia; and murder. Personally, I would have had no problem euthanizing my own mother when she was dying a slow, painful death from leukemia. But most children of elderly parents couldn't bring themselves to do that. That's why I believe that a new specialty of "Compassionate Euthanizer" should be created. The medical world will never agree to this, so it will need to be offered as a religious certificate, rather than a medical certificate. Hospital Priests undergo a year of training so that they can council grieving family members. A Com-Euth would receive similar training, plus medical training on how much insulin to inject, in order to obtain the best results.
Every nursing home would be visited by a Com-Euth once a week. During that time, the children or legal guardian of Com-Euth candidates would be contacted, and given a choice. They can attend the ceremony, or if they object to the procedure, they will have to assume financial responsibility for the continued care of the Com-Euth candidate. That's two thousand dollars a week. Nobody has that kind of money. So the net result is that almost one hundred percent of Com-Euth candidates will be euthanized; and then cremated. This doesn't cost much, so it can be done at State expense. But is it murder?
As I'm sure you know, everybody wants to be "The Good Guy." A nice person who would never kill anybody. Females, in particular suffer from this delusion. They always have coffee meetings, and talk about raising more money so that old people can be kept alive even longer. They are completely divorced from reality. I suppose that I could put-up a Com-Euth website, and get the ball rolling. All I can tell you is that there will never be a perfect solution. There will only be a group of men working in concert to bring the release of death to people who need it. After the website goes-up, I'll send you the link. Keep up the good work!
Ron B. Liebermann