Thursday, 5 January 2012

Suicide Is Painless

A new year and a new look for my blog. Hope everyone likes the change.

My goodness what a night. At one point I thought the roof was going to come off but thankfully we escaped unscathed from one of the stormiest nights I remember in years. I didn't get much sleep though so am really tired today. A quick tour of the garden showed it had also escaped intact, the fences are still up and holding firm and the garden furniture is still in place including the covers. In fact the only damage appears to be to the silver birch which has lost a couple of smaller branches from near the very top. Looking at the pictures on the news I think we were very lucky.

Went out to Costco this afternoon and was pleasantly surprised to find it practically empty. We zoomed around in double quick time only stopping to enjoy a free sample of the most delicious chicken korma. I love shopping when it is empty, you can really take your time and browse. They had a huge display of jars of nuts, no doubt unsold from Christmas and I would have been tempted if it were not for the price. I'd rather buy them loose and shell them myself than pay what they were asking for them. We were rather amused when we got to the tills to see a man in front of us with a trolley stacked high with baked beans. He must have all but cleared them out. We concluded that he must run a cafe and his menu is mostly bean based.

In the news the powers that be are debating whether it would be ethical to allow a terminally ill person to have medical assistance to end their own life. As someone who is terminally ill I must say it is about time this subject was discussed in this country. The British tend to treat their animals better than they do human beings. A dog or cat with cancer and in terrible pain will be put down out of kindness because that is what is best for the animal. However a human in the same situation has to suffer and die slowly and painfully because the first rule of medicine is to preserve life come what may.  I genuinely believe that there is a point where the fight to safe a life crosses the boundary between care and cruelty and medics should recognise this change and stop trying to preserve something that is beyond long term preservation.  Let me say right now that I don't think I could ever end my life, this is because I'm a natural optimist who always believes tomorrow will be better. I'm also fortunate that my illness isn't a particularly painful one, it is not without pain but it is nothing like the pain suffered by those with cancer. If I were in constant pain and I knew it was only going to get worse then maybe I would consider it, who knows.

This debate is going to stir up some pretty strong views on both sides of the fence and I can see it raging for months or maybe even years before a decision is made. Ultimately I think that decision will be to reject the idea because the argument will be that despite any safeguards put into protect the patient from malicious relatives, someone will get around the system and suddenly we'll have a murder on our hands. The only way to do it would be to have a system so regulated that only a very, very few will ever qualify for the scheme. The other problem with extensive safeguarding is that it could take so long for the decision to be made that the patient is no longer able to carry out the act themselves or, in the worst cases, have died while waiting. So far the safeguards proposed are as follows:-
Two doctors will have to agree independently on the course of action
The patient would have to have less than a year to live.
The patient would have to be of sound mind.
The patient must be capable of administering the medication themselves.
The patient must be over eighteen.
The patient is not under any 'undue influence'.
All these safeguards seem sensible but in practice either go too far or not far enough depending on your point of view. And how is anyone ever going to be able to prove that they are not being 'unduly influenced'? It is going to be interesting seeing how this all pans out.

Also in the news the Stephen Lawrence case rumbles on with some interesting new developments. Within hours of Dobson and Norris being sentenced new evidence had been passed to the police regarding the involvement of others yet despite this and the judge urging the police to find the other culprits the investigating team is being disbanded, how odd, and how insensitive. Surely they have duty to at least look at the new evidence? In the meantime following a complain from a member of the public the attorney general is now looking at the sentences handed down with a view to possibly increasing them. It must have been some complaint.

Back to work tomorrow, I'm on weekend shifts until the end of the month. I don't actually mind working weekends as it means I get to go shopping during the week when the shops are quieter. It also means I don't usually have to take time off to attend my medical appointments as they fall on my days off. A win, win situation.

Drug delivery day tomorrow, can't wait to see what they've left out this time.