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Terry Pratchett speaks of death.

The well-liked author Terry Pratchett has said he hopes to receive help in, eventually, ending his life, and speaks to the laws possibly changing to make this easier:
...I live in hope - hope that before the disease in my brain finally wipes it clean, I can jump before I am pushed and drag my evil Nemesis to its doom, like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty locked in combat as they go over the waterfall.

In any case, such thinking bestows a wonderful feeling of power; the enemy might win but it won't triumph.

...I wish we could blow away the clouds obscuring the issue and embrace the idea of ending, at their request, the life of a terminally ill person at a time and, if possible, a place of their choosing.

I write this as someone who has, regrettably, become famous for having Alzheimer's. Although being famous is all the rage these days, it's fame I could do without.

I know enough to realise there will not be a cure within my lifetime and I know the later stages of the disease can be very unpleasant. Indeed, it's the most feared disease among the over-65s.

Naturally, I turn my attention to the future. There used to be a term known as 'mercy killing'. I cannot believe it ever had any force in law but it did, and still does, persist in the public consciousness, and in general the public consciousness gets it right.

We would not walk away from a man being attacked by a monster, and if we couldn't get the ravening beast off him we might well conclude that some instant means of less painful death would be preferable before the monster ate him alive.

And certainly we wouldn't tuck it up in bed with him and try to carry on the fight from there, which is a pretty good metaphor for what we do now...
Whatever you feel about end-of-life care and assisted suicide - a term Pratchett admits he hates - his message is worth reading.

(Via cleolinda and her Twitter feed.)


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
Indeed, it's the most feared disease among the over-65s.

Hell, the very idea of this disease has reduced me into a jibbering mass o' flesh for several years. My grandmother had it. Friggin' terrifies me.


Aug. 2nd, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
I'm at risk for it. Hell yes I'm concerned about it.

I'm doing my best to keep my mind exercised and connected so there is, perhaps, less of a risk. You are, too.

Aug. 2nd, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
I try to not take risks, like..this may sound a little crazy, but...I don't use deodorants that have aluminum in them..


Also - and this is the photo I couldn't find, so I can't show you what I mean - I once saw models of a full sized regular adult's brain and one of an alzheimer's patients and the fact that the diseased brain was significantly SMALLER just freaked me right the heck out.

Edited at 2009-08-02 03:36 am (UTC)
Aug. 2nd, 2009 07:35 am (UTC)
Really, very poignant. Its that same level of thinking that keep some Americans from embracing the idea of life well lived: be it with someone of the same gender or recognizing leaving the earth with some form of dignity attached to your bones.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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