Before breathing isn’t better…

May 19, 2012 at 7:31 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

If you have a vulnerable person in your life…listen to them when you can…and if they feel hopeless, you’d better be digging for some rather than buying into that yourself…

Here’s what it’s about.

I hope he’ll forgive me…but I feel the  need to expand on this excellent blog post of Steven Drake’s at Not Dead Yet, highlighting an article on the Duty to Die crowd’s decision to assist someone in Minnesota in ending their life in 2007.

I’ve not been to an ADAPT event, but I always watch what they do with great interest.  For those of us who have issues that keep us homebound much more often, even than others with disabilities…ADAPT stands in, for any of us who cannot leave where we live, whether it’s in an institution, or a medical issue that keeps us inside.  An ADAPT activist speaks directly to the danger of assisted suicide to people with disabilities.

Gordie Haug hits the key points:

“‘I oppose any policies and practices that threaten the lives of persons with disabilities,” Haug said, adding that he works with many disabled people suffering from depression.’

Haug said there are treatments and options to ease pain and effectively treat depression, but with Medicaid cuts and tight budgets, Haug worried people may decide it is cheaper to take a life than to preserve one.”

It’s so important for ADAPT, and more broadly PWD’s to have a voice in this, and to put the arguments out there in a secular framework…because those who fear extreme religion, who otherwise might be our allies in this…would be turned off by the religious arguments against suicide, would see our very real three dimensional present concerns about this as diluted if couched in religious terms. And I say this as a person of faith, whose faith plays a large role in my day to day. I live in a country, not in a church, and if I want my country to protect my right to continue to breathe I must speak to power in the language of the country, not the sanctuary.

First:

The absolute need for a support system, people checking in on the person with disabilities becomes clear, because: When someone is driven to decide to want to end their own life, it is vital that an outside eye be there to ask the critical questions:

“Do you feel (or have you actually been told by a medical pro) that there is no medicine, no treatment available to ameliorate your physical pain?

“Do you also feel that there is no help, theraputic or medical,for the emotional downturn you’re in?”

Because the answer to these questions is often, yes, they believe that, but: those are their feelings, their perceptions. Factually,
*there may be help available* that they can’t see because of their depression…help for both should be clearly listed, available and a path to access to treatment searched for…by family and friends, if there is no professional support such as a social worker knowledgeable about options.

And, most of these “Final Exit” people are able-bodied…are they not?

I don’t pretend to speak to the unspeakable, the patient who has had an infection migrate to the part of the brain that can turn a pain signal off and deactivate it, or, patients who in the midst of ostensibly good medical care scream in pain for three days straight and morphine, etc are completely ineffective.

I’m speaking for those persons with terminal or debilitating chronic conditions with incredibly severe pain, for whom there *is* an answer, and for whom that answer is never presented.

I think Final Exit people once saw someone in severe, terrible pain, and fell into the default able bodied argument. “I could never live with/like that.”
Yes, but that’s *their* belief. *their* idea…from a perspective, perhaps of never having been through it…
They themselves aren’t in pain yet. How in the **** do they know how they would react, and why do they think imposing their perception on a vulnerable person is compassionate?

Second:

We cost money. HUD, (housing), Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.
We commit the cardinal sin of costing the country money merely by existing. I’m committing that particular sin right now. I’ll admit it troubles me. I have a great deal of internalized shame that I’m unable to work. If any Duty to Die advocate, medical professional, hospital bean counter…lets the motivation to save money be *any part* of the mix of deciding to help someone end their own life…

That devalues any lives but the most productive and healthy right on down to disposable…their inherent addition to the planet just by being here dismissed.

it is my belief that assisted suicide should never have become law.
never been enshrined by lawmakers with force and precedent…as it did in Oregon. Because the dangers of seeing us through a balance sheet or not seeing the help for physical and mental causes of the wish to end one’s own life are out there right now, and they have more power because there is a law somewhere that allows it.

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