Death with Dignity, Part 1

I’ve lost track of how many times I wish I had a magic switch I could just flip to the “off” position…


No more pain, fatigue, or weakness.

No more regrets, worries, fears, or anxieties.

No more needle sticks or IVs.

No more ultrasounds, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, and PET scans.

No more surgeries or invasive procedures.

No more wounds or sutures.

No more infections or antibiotics.

No more EKGs, blood draws, or urine samples.

No more infusions or radiation.

No more false negatives or false positives.

No more biopsies.

No more colonoscopies, EGDs, or cystoscopies.

No more waiting, waiting, and more waiting.

No more mindless and heartless bureaucracy.

No more telephone tag.

No more medical bills.

No more root canals.

No more hard decisions.

No more having to file an effing tax return.

Of course, this magic switch would provide instant and totally painless relief for my survivors as well—leaving them all without grief, guilt, regrets—and with nothing but happy memories of me.

Such a switch does not exist, of course.

If such a switch did exist, I would have flipped it on many occasions—without hesitation—and without even a hint of sadness, guilt, anger, doubt, or fear.

All that said, please don’t worry about me. I am still here. I still have many things to live for. And my exit plan does not include the “S-word”.

But be advised: My exit plan does include the option of dying with dignity.

continue… Death with Dignity, Part 2

4 thoughts on “Death with Dignity, Part 1

  1. I don’t have the health challenges that you have (so far, I know that things can change so fast). But I am getting older, and trying to figure out what the future might look like. I dread the possibility of losing mind and memory, of losing my independence and privacy, of pain. I hope that death with dignity will be an option when the time is right. How would a person know that the time is right?

    1. A heavy subject indeed that most people keep at arm’s length.

      Two quick thoughts to share:
      1) Medical power of attorney is a closely related, but quite separate consideration.
      2) Not all states have DWD laws in place. For the small but growing list of states that do, there are very specific medical and legal constraints and protections that are clearly defined and delineated by law. To my knowledge, each state follows pretty much the same blueprint. I dare not say any more than this for obvious reasons.

  2. I live in a state where death with dignity seems to be respected, for which I am grateful. The legal or practical aspects are not on my mind so much as a vague and, from this vantage point, distant fear of losing the ability to make those decisions for myself. I guess my worry, or the nugget of concern that I puzzle over, is the same one that humans have always had: coming to terms (or not) with the fact that we do not live forever. The big mystery.

    Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts on these big, big questions.

    1. Yes, I take great comfort in knowing I have the death with dignity option, but like you, fear losing the capacity to grant my approval.

      My advance healthcare directive clearly states to just let me go. I have communicated this wish to my agents (granting them power of attorney) and they are fully on board.

      The best we can do.

      Thank YOU for continuing to engage on these most heavy subjects.

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