Lockdown Diaries III, Day 28: Terminally Fabulous

Death Bed Diaries? 

I can only apologise again for the way I’m neglecting Lockdown Diaries III. But the progress of my illness made me unable to do anything much, and that includes blogging. Today is a ‘good’ morning – may it last more than a couple of hours-  so here I am with another entry. 

In the last couple of weeks, during the hours of suffering, my thoughts sometimes toyed with the idea of changing focus and reconfiguring Lockdown Diaries III into Death Bed Diaries: at least it would allow me to vent and so give myself psychological relief, even if no physical relief. And I thought of others in the same situation, and their families and how it could help them to know they’re not alone.

There was a blog out there once that I used to read, Terminally Fabulous, written by an Australian girl in her 30s. It was brutally honest in her description of cancer, the horrific treatments she underwent, the sufferings at the end when the doctors could do no more for her. She had a wicked sense of humour and many a times she made laugh while I cried for her at the same time. I used to read it when I was really in the dumps with the treatments and it helped me. Her name was Lisa Magill and she died a few years ago. Her blog has been published posthumously (in 2019) in a book form under the title of:

Terminally Fabulous: A young woman’s fight for dignity and fabulousness on her terminal cancer journey by Lisa Magill and Geraldine Violet Magill

I recommend it to you all. You can buy it on Amazon (and elsewhere).

But when it comes to me…

Death Bed Diaries? No, thank you.

Lisa was inspirational and I wish I had the kind of talent that she put into her writing. But regardless of my lack of talent, the truth is that being that brutally honest and putting out my whole soul for all of you to see is just a step too far for me. So do not fear: Waterblogged was always a book blog and a book blog will remain to the day I die. We’ll keep the death talk to minimum. 🙂

Thought for the Day: Euthanasia (Assisted Death)

There is one controversial question that I would mention though. Euthanasia, or if you will, assisted death. This is legal in some countries; but not in England. Regardless of your personal stance – ie. regardless whether you would choose to take advantage of it, were it available for you – I ask you all to consider: should not it be available for people who wish to avail themselves of it?

I’m under the care of an excellent and dedicated palliative team but despite of that I have suffered a tremendous amount in the last couple of months. The last few weeks and days were particularly brutal. My palliative doctor recently had to admit that she’s already given me everything and there’s nothing more she can do to make me any more comfortable. I don’t want to distress you with the details but death is vastly preferable to the hours when the suffering is most acute, and every day there are endless hours like that. Palliative care, with all the brilliant medications it has, still cannot control all pain and discomfort and cannot therefore stop terrible suffering. I cannot be the only one, and death is not expected for weeks yet because, despite of the cancer, the rest of my body is still young and healthy and refuses to give itself for beaten. This leaves me in a prolonged limbo between life and death, drags out my suffering and there is nothing anybody can do. Only if you witness it (may you never have to), can you understand what I’m talking about.

I repeat it again:

Palliative care, despite of their best efforts, is not able to control all symptoms, all pain, all distress and discomfort for all patients, and cannot therefore stop terrible suffering. I’m the living, suffering evidence of it.

As a society, we pride ourselves of on our humanity. If you had a pet, a dog or a cat, in similar position as I am, you would not hesitate to put it down, to spare the animal unnecessary weeks or months of suffering. Should we not have the mercy to offer the choice to people who are terminally ill and whose symptoms cannot be controlled sufficiently to spare them pain and suffering? It is not beyond the wit of man to devise sufficient safeguards to ensure that this right to choose would not be abused. Nor are we talking about making people undergo euthanasia against their will.

But I think it should be a basic human right to be able to say: enough.

Dignity in Dying

To be able to go into a hospice, surrounded by your family, to whom you could say goodbye while you’re still coherent, while you can still cry and smile for the last time together and while you can give them a last hug. And then when you said goodbye, to be given that one shot (or be allowed to administer it to yourself), that will put you to death, painlessly. So that you can die tranquilly, in dignity, surrounded by love – instead of alone, screaming in pain.

Is that too much to ask?

One thought on “Lockdown Diaries III, Day 28: Terminally Fabulous

  1. It’s not too much to ask. If we can be rational and humane to animals, why not to humans? We all want to die peacefully in our sleep, not in pain. There has to be a way to let people drift off with a little extra medication, not making it into a fight. But even in the Netherlands, where it is legal, many doctors refuse, because they don’t want to take the responsibility. And it’s often families who object because, much as they don’t want someone to suffer, they’re still hung up on ‘thou shalt not kill’. Whereas frontline doctors have to make that decision every day to abandon treatment for people in A&E or to turn off life support. It’s not as if doctors don’t do it in other situations. It should be up to the patient in this case. It reminds me of giving birth, when I begged for pain relief and I was told it was too late. If that felt inhumane, in a controlled situation that will be resolved, I can’t imagine how you must feel, not being able to control anything. Awful.

    Liked by 2 people

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