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In 1950, when I was ten, it suddenly occurred to me that I would
probably see the year 2000. "I'll be sixty, I'll be old", I thought.
I couldn't imagine what an old me would be like.
Now I'm 57, a grandmother but I still don't really feel old. In spite of
that, I have to hope that I don't live to see the millennium.
I'm no expert on Motor Neurone Disease. I think there's a lot of variation
in how it develops and how fast it develops. Mine has been very fast. A
year ago I was leading an active, satisfying life, beginning to worry that
I was falling down too much.
Now I can barely walk. My hands don't work very well. My speech is beginning
to be slurred, though not too bad yet. I get breathless if I try to do
When the news came, I was
flattened, didn't have the energy to attempt anything.
Last summer, when I was waiting for tests, I thought
"If I've got some incurable disease, I'll kill myself." When
the news came, I was flattened, didn't have the energy to attempt anything.
I felt as if I were suddenly part of a soap opera or one of these medical
melodramas. It really is not in my character to go jumping off bridges,
even supposing I could get over the railings.
Actually, I'm not suicidal now. My life is very limited, compared to what
it was, but I find the desire to do things subsides with the ability to
do them. In some ways life becomes more attractive when you know there's
not much left. I have a lot of little pleasures and at the momentum in
no hurry. The fact that I have no pain helps.
But - the future! Think of being totally unable to move or speak, completely
dependent on other people. I'm told that most MND patients die before it
gets that bad. That's reassuring, but suppose I'm not that lucky. I live
alone. Family and friends visit and I have a home help. I dislike asking
people to get me drugs - they'd have to live with it.
I gave my doctor an Advance Directive. I know he's sympathetic but I don't
suppose he'd put his career on the line for me - why should he?
I have worked out a possible method. Would it work? Would it make things
worse? Let's hope I never have to find out. I may be too helpless to use
it by the time I definitely want to go. It would make such a difference
if I knew I could go when I've had enough. My quality of life is really
acceptable now if it weren't for worry over the future.
I will sign this but I ask VESS not to publish my name. It would put pressure
on me and my family and my doctor.
I know anonymity is not very brave but I've already said I'm no heroine.
Have a great millennium, all of you!
(Name & address withheld)
I am, incidentally, an
active Baptist Christian and see nothing in the Bible to oppose euthanasia.
The arrival of your magazine reminded me that I have to request in writing
the copy of Departing Drugs that I paid for when I joined VESS.
I remain happily married (31 years) in good health, in employment with
no worries. I am not in the least suicidal. I have seen deaths that I would
not wish to experience, which is why I want the book. My support for VESS
is wider based. It seems to me such an obvious human right that I cannot
see why people oppose it. I am, incidentally, an active Baptist Christian
and see nothing in the Bible to oppose euthanasia. If God grants life,
he grants death. All modern medical activity is, in a sense, 'unnatural'.
Euthanasia is no more unnatural, and also a gift of God, who, after all,
sent his son to die in an act of love.
All power to you