The Prescription is Death

Right now, the lawmakers in Canada are debating over a controversial bill, bill C-14 regarding Doctor-assisted suicide. This is the same bill causing the ruckus a few weeks ago, where the Prime Minister of Canada got physical and started throwing elbows. Now the bill is being stalled, and the June 6th deadline, which is two days from the writing of this post, will more than likely be delayed.

A number of groups are up in arms over what they call ‘Legalized Murder’. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, the Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanaisia, and the grassroots organization Living with Dignity organized a protest and rally on Parliament Hill, and attracted hundreds of protesters. There were speakers from the disability rights group Not Dead Yet, the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice and the Catholic Women’s League. A number of Senators spoke to the crowd as well. On the other side, you have the organization Dying With Dignity, who want to allow people the choice to be able to end their own lives on their terms, rather than rot away in a hospital bed.

Should people be allowed to choose how they die? Or is that choice left to their physicians and loved ones?

That’s a terribly difficult question to answer. Some diagnosis’ are terminal. Medical science has come a long way, but there are still many conditions, cancers, and diseases that are not curable. If given one of these death sentences, would you want to stay in a hospital, waiting for the inevitable moment of your passing. Do you want to be pumped full of drugs, hardly lucid and in incredible pain? Even though there was no chance, no hope for recovery?

On the other side, what if a cure was found the next day? What if some miracle happened, and you suddenly pulled through? What if the diagnosis was incorrect? What would happen if the terminal diagnosis made you suicidal, just wanting to relieve you of the stress of having the hour of your death handed to you?

Law is complicated and often subjective. If you are curious as to why this bill has been stalled, the last two paragraphs have your answer. There is a lot of grey area concerning this bill, and even though I believe it will eventually be passed, I’m almost positive they won’t meet the June 6th deadline.

Here’s what I know about myself. I’ve seen a number of people die in hospitals. I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals. Hospitals are wonderful places to be if there’s a chance of recovery. They are the worst place to be if you aren’t. Hospitals are sterile environments. They smell unnatural. They’re boring. The food may be nutritious, but it tastes lousy. I’ve played a ridiculous amount of cards around a mall table, waiting for time to pass. I’ve seen people wilt away from cancer. I’ve seen people hooked up to every available machine. I’ve seen people in incredible amounts of pain, being kept alive. I’ve seen people hopped on so much morphine that they couldn’t hold their heads up.

Personally, if I had a choice, if I had to choose between four months of agonizing treatment, or a shot in the arm followed by death, I’d choose the latter. Even though I’m a fairly young man still, I’ve lived enough to lack any regrets. I don’t need to see the Eiffel tower, swim with dolphins, or cross off a massive bucket list. I’m content with the life I’ve led so far, and if it got snuffed out tomorrow, then that was the hand that I was dealt. My friends and family on the other hand would probably have other things to say.

Here’s the kicker. We don’t often keep people alive because they are going to get better, or a miracle cure is just around the corner, or that it’s in the person’s best interest. We keep them alive because the people that love them have a difficult time of letting go, of accepting their death. We want to wish that someone, tomorrow, that people will go from a sickly yellow to a healthy colour, that they’ll gain thirty pounds, that they’ll spring from their beds and start dancing around the room.

I don’t believe in killing people. I believe in choice. I believe this body I inhabit is mine, and I get to do what I want with it. And if that means cashing in my chips and walking away from the table, rather than staying until the end and losing everything, I want to cash in my chips.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. If I ever do buy the farm, however it happens, know this. I want a big target board, and I mean big, setup. And with a circus cannon, people can take turns firing my corpse into the target board. Bulls-eye gets a prize.

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