I don’t [want to ] know Jack

April 16, 2010 at 7:16 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Regarding Jack Kevorkian, and the pending HBO movie.

If I revise my present dnr to state that sometimes withdrawal of nutrition and hydration is fine by me…(which I doubt I’ll do)…I’ll hope that good palliative care and hospice or other  will be in attendance.  Three guys will have to say “Look no thinking process at all….”

I applaud some of his facebook fans for saying they have a right to decide what to do with their own bodies.

I would take it further.

Everyone has a right to decide on this issue.  They also have a right not to be coerced into one decision or another by medical persons,  predatory or misguided ‘friends’ or family members, or by a credentialed physician with homemade tools that he has to use in a van.

Pacino as Kevorkian says he’s doing this “to make a point.*

I believe it was either Steven Drake or Diane Coleman of NDY that wondered ‘aloud’ in print, why the suicidal wishes of able people are seen as clearly irrational, causing crisis lines, law enforcement, shrinks etc to leap into action…

(Get them off the ledge!  Don’t let them jump?  They’ve overdosed! Stomach pump! ETC)

But when a person with an impairment/illness or disability expresses these things…it’s seen as rational.

The pressure, subtle and slow, perhaps motivated by a genuine desire to ease suffering…begins in earnest.

I hope, even for those on the opposite side, those who see Kevorkian as some great hero, would take care to ask the person who had asked for death due to extreme physical suffering…this simple question:

“If your physical pain could be managed for a little while or a longer time…If you woke up with the same illness but a great decrease in the pain caused by that condition…would you decline days weeks months more , and choose to die now?”

Are you saying that you want to die,  literally, or are you unconsciously saying that, when what you are really crying out for is relief from pain?

Those are the corollary questions that anyone involved in end of life decisions *have* to ask the patient or patient’s rep before I’d feel safe.  Before I’d be quite clear that this is the true wish of any individual patient.

and, either way the patient chooses…their wishes should be respected by the doctors and nurses and/or hospice folk charged with their care.

Have the discussion.  So it’s your wish that is respected…not a beneficiary, not a relation, not a friend, not someone offering their aid…to make a point.

And, last but not least.  read this


  1. Tweets that mention I don’t [want to ] know Jack « Midlife And Treachery -- Topsy.com said,

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jean Flynn. Jean Flynn said: [I don't want to] know Jack #Kevorkian http://bit.ly/cJq2Xa […]

  2. Jack Kevorkian said,

    […] director Barry Levinson has a winner in the new HBO film "You Don't Know Jack," a docu-drama aboutJack Kevorkian – Geoffrey Fieger, who gained a national name as suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian's lawyer, […]

  3. Rick E. said,

    I was born with a severe condition called McCune-Albright Syndrome over 52 years ago. In 2000 I was diagnosed with a life-ending medical condition involving the relationship between my C1 vertebrae and the base of my brain. The rapidly degenerative condition gave me an estimated 4 to 5 more months to live. In the first 3 months I obtained the opinions of at least 12 neurosurgeons from Florida to the National Institute of Health. They all concurred that my survival was hopeless. As the weeks wore on, I started to feel my inevitable death coming on; skin numbness, aspiration issues, unending migraines, extraordinary pressure inside my skull, jaundice, vertigo and a tiredness that could not be slept away. No matter how much rest I got, I was not able to regain any strength. I sadly learned that willpower alone is not enough to hang on to life. Then the issue came down to how easy could I make the transition to death.

    No one wants, or needs, to suffer. Dr. Kervorkian was providing a better way for people who were facing a long, protracted death. His practical compassion was exactly what his patients, and future victims of a degenerative, terminal condition, need. Bless him and the pioneers of medicine for their bravery and courage. I understand his cause and I fully support it. If we can be compassionate enough to put our pets “to sleep” when their life is full of unending suffering, then we should be able to do the same for our fellow humans.

    As for me, I found one neurosurgeon, number 13, at Johns Hopkins who thought he could help me with a radical operation. It worked, for now, and has bought me 9 additional years so far. I try to enjoy every day I have now, but I know my days are numbered. Death will eventually win out since I have a degenerative birth defect, but the one victory I hope to have, through laws permitting physician-assisted suicide, is that I won’t have to suffer when I’m faced with eternity once again.

    • imfunny2 said,


      It sounds like you know your limits, and have beat some serious odds.

      I’m glad you’re still here…and you put the issue well.

      One of many reasons I come down on the other side, is because I fear coercion…I wrestle with cerebral palsy, bowel disease, asthma, carpal tunnel and chemical and situational depression…I never want a cry for help about pain or any difficult situation to be misconstrued by anyone as a wish to end my own life, unless I’ve made that abundantly clear in a level emotional state…

      When I was diagnosed with cancer and was navigating my husband through his last years of life there was so much physical suffering going on in that house between the two of us…I don’t even want to think about it….

      I spoke to the air and said, “I’m not finished yet!” when some folks were outfitting me with a coffin…

      Savoring life…eh, not so much. But living, defiantly so…for now.

      I’ve no doubt that near the end of my life my mind could change on this.
      But not yet.

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