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Right to Die, California

Everyone has mixed emotions on this topic; let’s just be honest about that.  It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you are on, or if you’re right on that fence, it’s not as simple as feeling one way or the other about it. It’s okay to feel conflicted, by the way.  That too is a natural part of our lives.  It’s part of the critical thinking process, and without those “checks” we would never question anything… which could lead to some bad results.  I am only here to say that everyone should have a choice and this law gives us a choice.  If it is not what you want for yourself, then do not choose that option.  That part is exactly that simple.

Often I see a lot of people adding their opinion to the discussion without actually having suffered anything terrible in their own life.  Unless you have been in intractable pain, you can’t come close to understanding it.  Unless you have gotten a catastrophic diagnosis, you don’t know how you will handle it.  Without having been told that your prognosis could lead to an ugly end, or watching a loved one go through it, you don’t have any experience on which to base your evaluation of how you will feel if it does happen.  This is the same mentality that speaks against pain medication when that individual has never had pain bad enough to actually need it.  That’s a very individual situation.  Not everyone processes the same.

I am all about fighting with all that you have while you can.  I talk all the time about being a warrior and working for the best quality of life you can get, and I believe in not buying into every bad prognosis a Dr hands down.  Absolutely.  There does however come a time when the body is shutting down, organs are dying, and there is nothing else to be done.  An individual in that condition should have the right to not suffer.  There are so many neurological conditions that leave you with zero quality of life, things that leave you with intractable pain that cannot be controlled without putting you into a coma (which means there is no quality of life because you’re not living your life at all), and that is what this law is about.  The tinfoil hat crowd is screaming about people being “told to kill themselves”, or any number of other ridiculous theories and I’m over it.  This is about giving a choice to severely suffering terminal patients, and nothing else.

There is a lot more than could be said.. but honestly I think this is the simple stuff.  Choice.  This is not a religious discussion but one of humanity.  If my body is no longer useful and I am out of my mind, I think I am done.  I would not be me anymore.  Quality of life comes first, not longevity.

I see this as no different than respecting a DNR, or terminating life support when reasonable hope has been exhausted.  It is not noble, or dignified, to suffer till your last horrible gasp of breath just to comfort your loved ones that you are still “alive” by some technical definition of the word.  The only shred of hope for “dignity in death” is to have the option of an out before it becomes quite that ugly.

I have seen people claim that they knew people that went through such an illness and they were brave, noble, etc… It’s not bravery.  We are genetically inclined to want to reduce the suffering of others, even when it is only emotional.  Chronic pain and illness patients, just so everyone knows, are experts at covering how they feel.  We don’t reveal all to our loved ones because we don’t want to distress them.  So that person that you think was so brave and noble may not have been.  They may just have been sparing your feelings.  Food for thought.


EDIT – additional thought after a few discussions:
I have no issue with someone having their own beliefs in this matter and feeling that it would be the wrong choice *for themselves*.  The problem I am seeing happen is too common and typical, unfortunately.. and that is how many are telling everyone else in the country that it is a “sin” and wrong.  Wrong for you maybe.  To be clear, the word sin means “to miss the mark” – it’s an archery term.  That sounds extremely personal to me.  If something is missing the mark for your own standards, then don’t do it.  There are literally thousands of religions on this planet and no matter what my personal belief system is, it would be arrogant to assume that I have the only correct and precise one for everybody.  What I think is that there will be a lot of surprised people all said and done, and no one really knows what is on the other side until they are there.  That being the case, what I am saying is that everyone needs to stop trying to dictate to others whether they have a right to alleviate suffering or not.  I also find it extremely hypocritical to pop a pain pill for anything and then say that this bill is wrong.  Either you believe in non-intervention, or you don’t.  You cannot cherry pick this.  If you are a Christian Scientist, as I understand it you do not seek medical treatments for anything.  In that case, you’re at least being very honest and on a straight path with clear intentions.  Anyone else is just doing like most people in the history of the world does, and creating their own belief system as they go along.  I have yet to meet anyone that is perfectly true to a specific set of religious ideals without their own mind creeping into it somewhere along the way.  Everyone… I mean EVERYONE has something, somewhere that doesn’t line up with the rest of their flock.  That’s human nature for you.

You have the right to decline the option of this law for your own beliefs.  You do not have the right to point fingers and shame people that believe differently than you do.

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