I wrote about chronic pain and the war on pain meds we struggle with in America the other day. And the (hidden) ugly truth about the cost of all of that. Because what needs to be said is that for every “addict” (I use the term very loosely here) or chronic pain/illness sufferer that overdoses, there are many more that take their own lives.
Suicide is not selfish, although it’s easy to call it that. It’s not easy, it’s not painless, and it’s not the quick way out. Suicide is the result of pain, fear, and the inability to see out of the darkness. It is desperation, the nightmare of untreated PTSD, unrelenting pain, or overwhelming darkness.
But it is also a basic human right.
If you’ve ever read more than one of my blogs, you know I love my Grey’s Anatomy. It’s my comfort food for the soul.
In season 6, episode 18 “Suicide is Painless”, Owen is struggling because Teddy asked him to be the second doctor to sign off on her patient’s request for a “good death“. Or, put another way, an option not to suffer. The chance at a more compassionate passing.
As of June 9th, California will join four other states in believing a terminal patient has the right to die. Only Oregon (the first state to allow that), Washington, Vermont, and Montana offer terminal patients the same thing that every state, city, and county in America believes we can do for our pets.
Two years ago, we took my dog to the vet, and gave her the chance to pass peacefully. We did not want her to suffer, and when it was clear that she had reached the end of her life, we allowed her to pass away quickly and peacefully. But, because I don’t live in one of the five states that allows physician assisted death for terminal patients, I don’t have that same right.
“But, Xun….people and dogs are not the same thing!” You’re right. But Dera was family, she was loved, and she was important to us. And we didn’t want her to suffer. So why, as a patient with an inoperable brain tumor, do I not have the same access to compassion and lack of suffering?
Know your rights. Believe you deserve compassion.
Owen: There will be a moment… when she dies her face will relax… and all that pain she was in will be gone. And you will feel relief. Relief for her, relief for you. You will know with absolute certainty that you did the right thing. You have to hold onto that moment because all the rest of it is just your own garbage.