Right to Die has been a sensitive subject and debated for decades. Some older folks like me may remember names like the Hemlock Society and Dr. Jack Kevorkian. It’s been considered taboo and carries a stigma.
People have debated the personal choices about their body for just as long—suicide, abortion, medications, dying, etc. Living with advanced MS, and aging, forces someone to think about the right to live or die for different reasons and in different ways.
An article about Multiple Sclerosis and the Right to Die was just posted by MultipleSclerosis.net, an online Health-Union community. Kudos to the writer and the administration for allowing this article to be shared. The article explains Right to Die from the perspective of an MS patient, whose quality of life becomes severely diminished due to pain and other physical, mental, and emotional limitations.
Add in self-dignity and humility. I have been traumatized too many times to count from the loss of my bladder and bowels in public. Even when hospitalized, having a nurse clean up after an accident in bed is humiliating. I could write another book on this subject alone.
Many comments were quickly added to support and share the words written. I added this partial comment in response to the article to point out other thought-provoking reasons:
I agree whole-heartedly with the comments made so far. I would like to add there are additional reasons a patient may desire assisted suicide beyond their (no) quality of life. It’s personal, but I feel compelled to share this.
I am currently involved in my 90-year-old mother’s dire health situation. She fell In January, broke some ribs, and was erroneously given a pain med that caused an horrific adverse drug reaction with another med she was taking. It left her in a condition requiring 24-hr. in-home care for two months. Being the only sibling living in AZ, I recently arranged to transfer her to a senior care facility for her benefit and that of my 90-yr. old stepdad. It’s a physical, emotional, mental, and financial nightmare for us all, and her future is not in her hands. Last week, I sat down with my husband to say I don’t ever want to put him and my son through this. While I’m too old to advocate for right to die, I plan on writing about it on my own.
It is heartbreaking, gut-wrenching when someone you love is telling you how terrible they feel and begging for help; and the only thing you can do is hold their hand and be there with them. Yes, there is end-of-life care nowadays, but it isn’t always the best path for everyone.
Maybe it should be phrased, “The Right to Choose to Die”.
The Hemlock Society’s motto was “Good Life-Good Death”. For some, yes; for too many others, no.
What is your reaction or thoughts about this?
Author of Managing MS
Community Advocate for MultipleSclerosis.net
100%. I’ve sat in several bedsides with people just languishing – in pain, in and out of consciousness, confused, scared. And for what? Our country to bury its head on yet one more social issue? If my dog showed signs of distress and we knew she wasn’t going to recover, we could arrange for 1 shot and both she and her “family” would be out of pain. Why do we extend this type of option to our animals and not to our people? Other countries have this figured out. We don’t we??
Debbie – you and I are close in age. I plan on advocating for death with dignity. You’re not too old.