My first year on law review I had to write a comment on an area of law. I chose assisted suicide and whether it should be legal. I researched it from all angles. The slippery slope–we’ll eventually be euthanizing people for a tooth ache. Or for being a ginger. (Would that really be so wrong?) And the flip side of the argument–people with terminal illnesses in excruciating pain or inevitable mental deterioration should be permitted the option to simply die with dignity.
After all the research, I came down on the side of Dr. Kevorkian, who would later be convicted of second-degree murder in Michigan.
Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have passed legislation making physician-assisted suicide legal. I’m in Texas, so I’m screwed. My state kills lots of people. We’re number one in executions. But we’re not allowed to be assisted by a physician when we’re terminally ill and want to die. There is no right to choose in Texas. And don’t get me started on the recent abortion legislation. Just when I thought the state could not devolve any further. Yes, in Texas we believe strongly in devolution. But evolution? Hell no.
You might be wondering what brought the topic of assisted suicide to mind. My mother has been ill. (Complications from deep vein thrombosis.) Since my last post (almost a month ago!) she spent nearly two weeks in the hospital, two weeks in an acute rehab center, and is now in a SNF (skilled nursing facility). She’s expected to be able to return home with the assistance of a caregiver (not covered by Medicare), occasional visits by an RN (covered), and home therapy (covered). Whether she’ll actually ever leave the SNF (pronounced “sniff”), is uncertain. Whether she’ll again become ambulatory also remains uncertain.
She says if she’s destined to spend the rest of her life bedridden and in pain, she’s checking out. I don’t blame her. But I don’t see how she’ll accomplish this. Which has me pondering how I’ll shuffle off this mortal coil should I decide I’m ready to do so. Currently I’m throwing every dime I can spare into my 401k and moderate risk investments. I’m shopping for long-term health insurance, which Medicare does not cover. I’m considering my options for home care and assistance in managing my finances. I’m planning a trust for the benefit of my cats. (Yes, you can do that.) I’m trying to decide whether pills or an injection is the better option and what kind of drug I’ll want to have stashed away should the time come.
If I’m lucky I’ll remain healthy and active until I keel over from an embolism at age 94. But in my family, it’s more likely to be cancer or Alzheimer’s. Or both. Maybe I should relocate to Seattle.