From Quill and Quire, this article caught my eye–I was slightly shocked by the headline, and even more so by the information I’d not known before, that there are countries that sanction assisted suicide. I don’t think there’s a possibility the United States will ever follow suit. Here, we don’t want to pull the plug, even if someone’s brain is mush. Much ado was spent over a woman who had been on life support for years and her husband wanted to take her off, siting the fact the doctors agreed her cognitive abilities were nonexistent. Her parents disagreed, and every stupid politician in the country decided they needed to weigh in on the subject before she was finally allowed to die. Naturally, the press didn’t cover the fact that when they autopsied her brain, most of it was in such as state as to be useless. Reality rarely plays a part in moral indignation, here.
The only person who pushed assisted suicide, died recently–without help. Jack Kevorkian assisted some people take their own lives and he was in prison for doing so.
So, Terry Pratchett wants to end his life because he has Alzheimer’s. I am conflicted on my opinion. I have dealt with this horrible disease firsthand and can say with certainty, that no worse fate can befall an individual. Yet during the years my father suffered from it, I held out hope of a breakthrough, a possible treatment that actually worked, if not a cure. By the time he was literally a vegetable, however, I could only hope he would pass away to end his suffering.
Obviously, Mr. Pratchett doesn’t want to reach that point–because you have no ability to speak, let alone make decisions. He was diagnosed at a relatively young age of 60 with a very rare type. He must still be functioning if he can make these kind of decisions. What possibility is there of some kind of cure within the next couple of years? And how fast will the disease progress? I don’t see any real progress out there, none that could help Prachett. And what I had put aside involving my father, was the fact that Alzheimer’s is fatal, you will die. So, given these facts. would he be wrong to end his life before it becomes unbearable?
He’s still writing, which I find amazing if he has memory problems enough to consider death.He does it by dictating and voice recognition. I am curious as to how good or cohesive the book he’s finishing will be, if the editor will be doing a lot of rewrites, or if Pratchett is able to write, but not remember what word is used for door, or key, or fill in the blank, because that’s a major problem for victims of the disease.
The morality question doesn’t arise for me. I don’t believe that someone who takes their own life will make the universe angry. But I know that there are millions of people who believe differently, and they look upon Mr. Pratchett’s decision as against God’s will. My concern is the decision will be made too soon, before the last hope of a cure is gone.
If it were me? At this moment I just don’t know. There can be no more terrible feeling than to be losing yourself, the being you are. But, the human spirit springs hopeful and has difficulty resigning itself to the inevitable.All I can say is I pray feverishly that it *wont’* be me who has to make a decision like this one, and I only hope the best possible outcome for Mr. Pratchett, even if it means taking his own life.
Weigh in on your opinion.