15
Nov
08

Suicide And Letting Go.

I posted this blog at a couple of other sites a while back. Dori and I were talking today and I told her I wanted to put it here as well, I hope to get some feedback here, we will see what happens. Regardless, she suggested I put it here for myself and I am going to.

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What do you think of doctor/friend assisted suicide? As someone who suffers pain CONSTANTLY, as someone who is sick, I think we NEED it. I NEED IT. I am going to give you some pros and cons first…then I will rant/rave a bit.

Pros:

1. Tremendous pain and suffering of patients can be saved. Numerous ailments such as certain types of cancer result in a slow, agonizing death. Doctors have enough knowledge and experience to know when a patient’s days are numbered. What purpose would it serve to suffer endlessly until the body finally gives out? Imagine what it would be like to spend six months vomiting, coughing, enduring pain spasms, losing control of excretory functions, etc. Then you must consider the psychological suffering; i.e. the knowledge that a patient knows he’s definitely going to die and the pain is only going to get worse. Wouldn’t it be more humane to give the patient the option to say when he’s had enough?

2. The right to die should be a fundamental freedom of each person. Nowhere in the constitution does it state or imply that the government has the right to keep a person from committing suicide. After all, if the patient and the family agree it’s what they want to do, who’s business is it anyway? Who else is it going to hurt? In a country that’s supposedly free, this should be a fundamental right.

3. Patients can die with dignity rather than have the illness reduce them to a shell of their former selves. Dying patients sometimes lose all ability to take care of themselves. Vomit, drool, urine, feces, and other indignities must be attended to by nursing assistants. Alzheimer’s patients suffer from progressively worse dementia that causes memory loss and incoherent rambling. Virtually all people want others’ last memory of them to be how they once were, not what they ended up being.

4. Pain and anguish of the patients family and friends can be lessened, and they can say their final goodbyes. Friends and family of the patient often suffer as much or more pain as the patient himself. It’s difficult to see a loved one in such anguish for so long. It’s emotional and physically draining to have the stress drawn out for so long. And when the patient does eventually die, it’s often sudden or it follows a period when the patient has lost consciousness. Doctor-assisted suicide would give the patient a chance to say his final goodbyes and end his life with dignity.

5. Vital organs can be saved, allowing doctors to save the lives of others. We have long waiting lists for hearts, kidneys, livers, and other organs that are necessary to save the lives of people who can be saved. Doctor-assisted suicide allows physicians to preserve vital organs that can be donated to others (assuming the patients are organ donors). However, if certain diseases are allowed to run their full course, the organs may weaken or cease to function altogether.

6. Without physician assistance, people may commit suicide in a messy, horrifying, and traumatic way. So if these people are going to commit suicide, which is better controlled, compassionate doctor-assisted suicide or clumsy attempts like taking sleeping pills, jumping off a building, or firing a bullet into ones head? If you were a family member, which would be more traumatic saying goodbye to a loved one at the hospital or coming home to see his head and brains splattered against the wall from a bullet? Unfortunately, if people truly want to die, nothing is going to stop them.

Cons:

1. It would violate doctors’ Hippocratic oath. Upon receiving a medical degree, each doctor is required to take a Hippocratic oath, which says among other thing, “First, do no harm”.

2. It could open the floodgates to non-critical patient suicides and other abuses. Any loosening of the assisted-suicide laws could eventually lead to abuses of the privilege. For example, patients who want to die for psychological or emotional reasons could convince doctors to help them end their lives.

3. Miracle cures or recoveries can occur. You can never underestimate the power of the human spirit. A cheerful, never-give-up attitude can often overcome the longest of odds and the worst of illnesses.

4. Doctors are given too much power, and can be wrong or unethical. Patients put their faith and trust in the opinions of their doctor. If doctors tell a family there’s absolutely no chance for a patient to survive, the family is likely to believe them.

OK there we have it folks…the pros and the cons. And now you get MY opinions.

I am one who suffers on a daily basis, I have to make myself get out of bed EVERYfuckingDAY, I am one who pukes daily, who hurts so bad I feel like my body is breaking in two. I am one who has to deal with the ‘lovely’ side effects of medications. I am one who has to watch/feel my body and my MIND deteriorate. WHY for the love of GOD would I want to keep going to the point of being a shitting, drooling, helpless mess? WHY should I be FORCED to do that? IT is MY fucking right to die how I want, when I want. It is MY body. Nobody but me knows truly how much I suffer, how bad my pain is at any given moment. Nobody but me truly knows how I think of what it will feel like when I am FINALLY free. No longer having to worry about the illnesses, the pain, the lack of money (thanks to our wonderful government), the inability to pay for simple things like my medications, new glasses, fucking FOOD. My fear is dwindling to a scrap of myself, being stuck in some hospital with tubes running out of many parts of my body, having to have someone bathe me, feed me, wipe my fucking ass. Do you really think *I* want this kind of humiliation? *sigh* Why can’t I die with dignity? I deserve it and so do others like me that SUFFER every day. They call “it” murder. You know what is murder? LIVING every damn day in pain is murder, puking your guts out when you eat is murder, feeling horrible side effects from your medications and treatments is murder. Having days where you lose your bladder is MURDER, not having money to buy the littlest things you need is MURDER. Coughing up blood is MURDER, pissing blood is MURDER. SUFFERING LIKE THIS IS MURDER. Assisted suicide is a BLESSING.

The families…yes *sigh* I know this blog might make them cringe, but I have to ask them and others, when is it time to let go of the ones you love? When is enough enough? When is it ok for the sick person to look to the ones they love and trust most in the world and say “please I am ready, let me go!”. Those of us that suffer, suffer for the ones we love as well as from our illnesses. We don’t WANT to hurt them, we don’t WANT to leave them, but fuck somedays it is just hard, and you know in your heart it is only going to get worse, for you, for them.

Tell me, if it were YOU, what would you? How would you FEEL? If you were the sick one, if you were the family member watching your loved one suffer and slowly waste away to nothing? Tell me……talk to me.

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8 Responses to “Suicide And Letting Go.”


  1. 1 kvdl
    November 16, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Hi
    I have often thought about this subject and really want to avoid the political debate because I believe strongly in self determination. my view on the legality is thet any prohibitive law should include a worthy alternative.for example anti drug laws should be backed up with ample treatment options for addicts.so prohibition affecting you should guarantee you a decent quality of life. If it doesn’t then the law is immoral.
    I work in suicide prevention but the only way I can be effective is to include suicide for the client (non assistive), as an option but quite often outweighed by alternatives.
    There is no point in me preventing someones death if I cant offer alternatives to their distress. I find that the majority of suicide prevention efforts and laws reflect the populations fears and inadequacies about death and dying. These are some of my views, of little to you but I wish you the best for your life and a peaceful death.
    http://kvdl.wordpress.com/

  2. 2 towp
    November 17, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    “First, do no harm”. I sometimes think this is the ‘key’. Ask me, a relatively healthy 59 year old, what “harm” is and I think the answer would quit different than yours. I read your post several times and feel what you are going through may be the ‘harm’ that should not be done. I wish you peace in any form it may take.

  3. 3 V
    November 17, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks so much towp for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and tell me your thoughts!

  4. 4 towp
    November 17, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    May you have peace

  5. November 18, 2008 at 1:50 am

    Hello,

    I just came across your blog randomly, but I found it gripping, at once.
    I too suffer from intractable pain. No matter the kind, it is agonizing pain, and about a year ago I was considering suicide a lot myself. I think that it is an option. It should always be an option. For me the hardest part is that I am a father, and I pondered the emotional wreckage it would cause for my kids and my wife, and I pretty much decided that it would be too much. So I must tough it out and live within the prison of pain.

    But you are you, and your life circumstances differ. Every suicide is tragic. No doubt about it. But you should have the right to physician-assisted suicide. Or some other assisted suicide, if a physician will not help you. I believe that it is a basic right to determine the outcome of your life. No one will ever know the pain you are going through, as no one really has any idea of the pain I am going through (except for a small number of people who have my condition). So no one is in a position to judge you. So I say think as long and hard as you can. But YOU make the decision.

  6. 6 V
    November 18, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Hey Josh, thank you for writing here. I appreciate your comment, especially coming from someone who is in pain and does understand. I know exactly what you mean about family, my family keeps me here. My wife, my 2 daughters. I will keep fighting for them. I am strong, but some days get the best of me. I keep trudging though. I also checked out your site, awesome books! I am sure my wife would have enjoyed it, she just started back to college and had to do algebra again. Let’s say it was quite the experience for her. 😉 I hope you will continue reading my blogs. Thanks again.

  7. November 19, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Its a lot to wrap your head around thats for sure. i sorry for you perspective on things. if everyone were to give up in dark times there wouldn’t be much hope in the world. it makes me truly sad that your pros are more thought out than your cons you go into so much into pros to which are not pros its a life you still have. a life that some people fight to have to keep and still loose. at the end of my life i know i would never want to look back and say well i might of made it out of it but i’ll never know now. sorry if my opinion differs but i look at as every day is a gift god gives you. a lot of people don’t realize that.
    god bless,
    -MeaD.

  8. 8 V
    November 19, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Mead–there is nothing wrong with a differing opinion, that is why I put the blog out here. I don’t give up, never have. I have been fighting CML (leukemia) for almost 10 years now. So, to say I have given up in the darkness of it all isn’t quite right. I live on hope and love right now. I am stubborn and a fighter. 🙂

    I am sorry my going more into the pros made you sad, but it is just how I feel. I WANT to live, but I also want the choice of how to go out when/if there comes a time I can’t care for myself at all. I don’t WANT to live on machines, or have someone have to wipe my ass or clean up my drool. I don’t want to look at my loved ones faces and not recognize them. That, I think would be harder on them than just letting me go.

    I can say that when my life does finally end, I will NEVER look back and say I didn’t make the best of it, because I have. Having chronic leukemia vs. acute is a blessing and a curse, the curse is having to struggle on in pain and watch my body deteriorate, the blessing is having lots of time to love, be loved and make peace with the things that have happened in my life. I consider every day I wake up and I am able to get out of the bed, no matter what degree of pain I am feeling, is a blessing from God.

    I don’t agree to dr. assisted suicide for someone who is just “depressed”, I have suffered from severe depression, PTSD and a number of other problems my whole life, that were a direct result of the abuse by my father, and those problems CAN be helped with medications and therapy, I ONLY agree to assisted suicide for the most terminally ill. I think we should have a choice–that is all. 🙂 It all boils down to a choice of what to do with our bodies in the end of life.

    Thanks SO much for writing, I value your opinions and hope you will continue to read my blogs, I do find yours interesting!


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