Dear Family: Don’t Bump Me Off
My dear family,
As I write to you in September 2009, I am still physically healthy. But since I expect to die in Netherlands-wannabee Quebec, let me be perfectly clear about my wishes in the event that euthanasia has been decriminalized by the time I am suffering a terminal illness, or am languishing in what appears to be intractable chronic pain.
I do not want to be bumped off. I can’t state the case more unequivocally than that. I don’t care if I am a “burden” to you (you were once to me, that’s how life works); I don’t care how long it takes me to die, and how inconvenient that is to the medical system; and I don’t care how selfless an example other parents are setting in graciously exiting the world for their dependents’ sake before nature intended.
My deathbed physician should be familiar with a 2002 John Hopkins University study indicating that although 45% of terminally ill cancer subjects voiced a wish to die (i. e., subjects meeting the standards of Bill C-384), the wish turned out to be transient in all but 8% of the cases. If all 45% had been euthanized, we wouldn’t know that. So even if I say I want to die, take that as a cry for comfort, reassurance or pain relief, which it almost certainly will be.
Do not fall for any claptrap about what “your mother would have wanted.” Read my lips: Your mother does not want to be made to feel it is her duty to die before nature decrees, so that others may be freed from care and responsibility, a subtle shift that inevitably follows upon an established “right.”
Intention is all. I want an unequivocal healer-patient dynamic with my doctor. His or her intention should be to kill my pain, not me. Finally, my doctor should be well versed in palliative care techniques, improving all the time.
And now she has thousands of witnesses in National Post (as well as ProWomanProLife and UTSFL) readers. Brilliant.