Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Most Terminal Conditions are Progressive. That Matters - a Lot.

When it comes to terminal disease there are two groups, the living and the dying. There are those who have received a terminal diagnosis and those who have not. Life is very different depending on which group you're in.

The assisted dying issue often turns into a "debate" for the living. It's something much different for the dying. How many of us form opinions with no more than a passing familiarity with terminal disease? What follows is taken from a comment I posted yesterday.

Are you familiar with the 7 stages of Alzheimer's or the similar stages of progression of other terminal diseases?

Let's say you received an Alzheimer's diagnosis. You were told you had anywhere between 4 to 8 years. Being mildly interested you began to delve into your affliction whereupon you learned of the 7 stages that you would inescapably pass through without intervention. When you got to the particulars of stage 6 you said, "whoa, I don't ever want to have to go through that. Stage 5 maybe, at the outside, but stage 6, never."

It's your choice. You could ask your doctor to give you a head's up when he felt you were getting toward the end of your competency, perhaps around stage 3. You would then have to choose to die at that stage lest you be consigned to endure the excruciating and protracted demise at the latter stages due to the entirely predictable failure of competency that ensues.

How do you feel about it now? Should we require the terminal to go prematurely to be sure they can go at all? That seems to be what [many] contend. Or should the afflicted be able to specify that when - not if, but when - the disease progresses to a specific point and only then he be administered the end of life drugs? By what right do we put the terminally ill in that horrible trap?

Here's the other thing you must keep in your mind. To you, this is an abstract concept. Only those diagnosed with terminal conditions tend to see it from their perspective. The rest of us who don't, as yet, have "skin in the game" think it's up to us to call this for those who do.


Dana said...

As in the old adage about ham and eggs. The Chicken is involved but the pig is committed.

The Mound of Sound said...

That's one way to put it, Dana.