Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Why I'm for Physician Assisted Suicide

I've had the stomach flu for two days now. It's getting better. Yesterday, I never left my bed except for going to the bathroom. Mrs. Zombieslayer actually had to bring me food and water because I literally could barely move. Today, I actually did a full day of work, although from home because I didn't want to affect my co-workers.

I barely ate anything for the past few days. I wouldn't be surprised if I lost a lot of weight. I hadn't checked the scale because I don't want to know.

Melanie posted in her blog about a slow death vs a sudden death. I chose sudden death. I don't want to waste away.

I want to die in my sleep like my Grandpa, not like the three screaming kids in his backseat. Har har.

But seriously though, I wouldn't wish this stomach flu on my worst enemy, much less see someone waste away with symptoms like this a la stomach cancer. I've always feared getting something like that and spending the last year or so of my life in continual pain, where the last weeks I cannot even leave the bed and I'm the skeleton of the man I once was. I don't want to be hooked up on wires in constant pain. When I get to that stage, I just want to die.

The choice should be mine and mine only. I haven't signed a living will yet, but I'm going to grant Mrs. Zombieslayer the right to make that choice too, because I trust her in that decision. If I'm incapacitated and can't scream "Kill me!" after a nasty car accident that left me without the use of my limbs and in constant pain, I'd rather she hired someone like Dr. Kevorkian to end it all. I wouldn't want to be pulled off life support, that's cruel. Just end it.

That said, I hope I die in my sleep when I'm old and had accomplished all I set out to accomplish. I hope this will never be an issue for either me or Mrs. Zombieslayer to deal with.


Blogger Vest said...

I now feel grateful for every waking day and being sound of mind ? and body, to hear my Rosemary say "I love you and being able to return her compliment. (vest daily gaggle)

Zom dont be a wimp, your present pain and suffering is simply part of every day living, I am certain you will recover graciously and emerge a better person than you already are. (Agony Aunt daily gaggle)

6/14/2005 8:07 PM  
Blogger Vest said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/14/2005 8:12 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

While I never have been sick enough to think about deathbed options (except for the time I had mono), it's never a bad thing to get hashed out. I recently let my parents and my boyfriend know about my wishes - to not be kept on life support if there is no way for me to have any quality of life. What sparked this discussion is because I recently went in for a routine surgery and I am the biggest wuss when it comes to medical procedures (which means I was trying to prepare for "worst case scenario"). In any case,hope you get to feeling better. :-)

6/14/2005 8:18 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Vest - yes, I admit I'm a wimp when it comes to colds. I get two days of a stomach flu and think of the end of the world. But seeing Mrs. Zombieslayer walk around with nothing but a nightgown made me realize that I still have it good.

Jen - Thanks for the well wishes. I think I'll be ready for work tomorrow.

6/14/2005 9:01 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

ZS, I agree it should be the patients choice, I took a Death&Dying class this year in school (I went to a catholic school) and it was very interesting. This is also similar to my views on abortion, I'm a "radical" republican.

6/14/2005 9:06 PM  
Blogger savage said...

" cannot even leave the bed and I'm the skeleton of the man I once was."
I always thought you already were the skeleton of the man you once were.
For some reason, I cannot start a new topic on my whatever it is called (I don't like 'blog' for some reason). It leat me start a whole new 'blog' though. That's nice. I didn't want that, but whatever.

6/15/2005 2:58 AM  
Blogger savage said...

"leat" means "let" in my typo-ridden lingo.
There's always a PS.

6/15/2005 3:00 AM  
Blogger kitkat said...

I definitely want to go quietly and quickly. I don't want to have time to fear death. I just want my life taken as quickly as it was given to me. No need for suffering, and no need to keep my vegetable self alive for posterity or anything.

6/15/2005 5:37 AM  
Blogger savage said...

I would have agreed with ZS, mostly because I'm a giant fucking coward (all angels are, by the way, read a bible) -- anyway -- but then I read this kitkat post and I realized that I wanted to "keep my vegetable self alive for posterity" like Evita, but with an edge.
Why don't people just take a picture? If I'm not gonna come out of it and if the eeg or whatever is all like: "what was your question again?" then I think it is weird and possibly selfish to keep the machines goin' -- it is perverse, too, considering it costs so much to run machines (I guess) in a hospital (in America)
--- I should write a 13-13-27 lecture - I mean essay - about Health Care in this country ---

6/15/2005 5:52 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

"I want to die in my sleep like my Grandpa, not like the three screaming kids in his backseat. Har har." That's funny!

Yep. Agree with you again. Free will is free will, including choosing to die when and how you want. We have the humanity and decency to put our pets to sleep when we think they are suffering and have no quality of life, why aren't humans worth that kind of compassion? (I tend to have more compassion for most animals than most humans but that's another point). It's another residual affect of religion on our society. I can see, hundreds or thousands of years ago, maybe assisted suicide wasn't even necessary (and therefore deemed wrong) because people didn't used to hang on this long. But "thanks" to medical technology it takes longer and longer to die. If I end up with some terminal, painful disease, I want the power to make that choice for myself, or have it made on my behalf.

Feel better...

6/15/2005 6:39 AM  
Anonymous Sagepaper said...

There are two themes I see in the post and among the comments: 1) What to do about a vegetative state, and 2)What to do about a state of great pain in a terminal condition, or even a crippling condition. I would like to relay to you my father's thinking on Kevorkian. Dad is a physician, and a bit of a philosopher.

He says what bothered him about Kevorkian was not that assisted suicide was being supplied. What deeply offended and angered him was that there was a demand for such services. The first law of medicine is, "Do no harm." The second law of medicine is, "Keep the patient comfortable."

The failure of physicians is in not keeping the patient comfortable. We have the medicines and technology necessary to stop pain and ease other forms of suffering. For most of the history of medicine, comfort was provided as well as treatment. a person dying of cancer could be kept pain-free while they spent their last days, weeks, or months working with their families and friends to bring closure to everything. This provided opportunity to say the deep things that had never been said, to forgive people, and to ask forgiveness.

Then came the war on drugs. With it came brutal crack-downs on physicians. If a doctor values his license to practice medicine, which is to say their livelihood, and all they spent so many years working for, he will not get cross-wise of the DEA. The surest way to stay safe from the DEA is not o prescribe controlled substances, or to prescribe to low a level of controlled substance.

The result? A demand for physician-assisted suicide. No living person should seek their grave. Be at peace with it, maybe, but not sek it. If a person feels that way, every available measure should be taken to ease that suffering.

6/15/2005 8:14 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

My kids have already been told to give me a gun and drop me off in the woods, when it comes time to go to the nursing home.

6/15/2005 12:07 PM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

I blame the kids for any sickness I ever get.

If I'm withing audible distance from ANY children, I ALWAYS get sick the next day.

Hope you feel better.

6/15/2005 4:08 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Whatever you do, don't let a bunch of bible bangers (or "christian fundamentalists" for the P.C. bunch out there) make that decision for you.

6/15/2005 4:27 PM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Cultureshocked you are a riot.

ZS, deep sympathies on the flu and hope you get better fast. Good for you and Mrs. ZS too!

Re PAS, I think it's kind of like abortion. It is not a route I think I want to take but in principle I think that the option should be there.

Actually, I know of more than a few cases of people I knew who had cancer, were doped up to the gills, and basically did themselves in with the painkillers. No one called it PAS, no indication was given of any other than disease cause of death. But decisions were made by the folks themselves when.

Maybe that's the best way.

My dad went very fast from his first heart attack. Great way for him to go from his point of view, hell on everyone else.

Have you read any A. Moody books on near death experiences? That's why for now I'd rather not do PAS. Retribution sucks.


6/15/2005 4:54 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

I agree with Bridget. But if I'm ever in that situation, I might opt for "more" painkillers and be done with it. Who knows? Hope I don't have to make that choice.

6/15/2005 5:28 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

What scares me most is when the mind goes. I told my husband the same thing - put me in the woods with a gun. I would rather die than not be able to think, or read, or study, or talk. What kind of death is that? What kind of life is it. Do I not deserve to live and die with dignity? Shoulnd't my death be worthy of the life I lived? Is it humane to allow someone to die a horrible death when they have decided in a written statement that they don't want to waste away? And the oh-so-important question - WHY is it ANYONE'S business but MINE?

6/15/2005 6:18 PM  
Blogger savage said...

It makes me nervous to think about other people making decisions about me life (and/or death).
I think ZS is feeling better. I saw him last night to rip off a bunch of DVDs *thanks ZS, we watched Bluebeard and NOTLD* anyway, he looked good.
His dog tried to castrate me, though. Damn swimsuit has no protection.
Always wear a cup to the home of Zombieslayer

6/15/2005 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Moni said...

Well whatever the decision is, and it should be your own, make sure you get it in writing. I can't tell you how many times I've seen 90 year olds put on life support, simply because the family can't let go and there were no advanced directives. I don't blame the families because it must be an extremely difficult decision. But, when it comes to the point where it's just prolonging a person's suffering, it's time to let go. This is only my humble opinion. Sorry you had the flu Zombie, I'm glad you're feeling better. Hey kitkat I think I may have talked to you before on bbnet. Are you that kitkat? I'm nosey lol.

6/15/2005 7:33 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

All - thanks for your thoughtful comments. Excellent comments, all of them.

Savage - and that's our small dog. We'll probably have another one three times her size (literally) next month coming from Texas. You might like this one better because she can't jump as high, nor does she jump much. Don't worry, she and Lucky are already buddies.

Sagepaper - If it weren't for the "War on Drugs," I'd prolong my life as long as possible, living out my last old days on opium and writing books until the last days, even if I had to write with my teeth. But because of the "War on Drugs," physicians have to keep their patients comfortable with their hands tied behind their backs. Plus, legalizing drugs for medicinal purposes will take the criminal element out of them, but that's another rant entirely.

For those of you who brought up the A-word, I didn't want to bring it up, but I bet you could guess which side of the fence I'm on with that subject. I don't bring it up because I've seen too many good people in my times become enemies over that stupid issue. I just don't understand why it brings out the worst in people.

6/15/2005 7:48 PM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

I've always said that the only way we can solve the "A issue" is through better contraceptives and EDUCATION!
Both sides are great at standing toe to toe screaming at each other. That solves nothing. You can't change people's basic beliefs.

6/16/2005 2:10 PM  

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