Death With Dignity

Sorry for the lack of blogging this week, but I do have to work sometimes. Besides, what could I write about this week that others haven’t. Pot? It failed. Doesn’t matter, it’ll pass eventually and at this point all I care about is they admit the real reason they want it to pass – money. Spare me all the social justice nonsense.

I suppose I could have screamed and yelled about CWA State Director Hetty Rosenstein tweeting that she hopes U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos “dies a horrible death.” But what would I say that hasn’t already been said?

I have decided that I am going to chime in on the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, that Governor Phil Murphy has said he is going to sign into law.

There are a lot of folks who appear mad about this bill, mostly members of my own party. In the past I might even agree with them, but because of life experience I can’t.

Yes. I’m speaking out against my own party on this one and for once I agree with the Governor, sign the bill.

I will be honest – I even called my state Senator, who happens to be Senate President Steve Sweeney to voice my support for this bill. My mother called the Senate President and did the same, even offering to testify in favor of the bill. Truthfully, I think she more or less stalked him in the frozen foods aisle in Acme and begged him to get it passed.

So, back to my life experience and why I can’t be against the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.

It’s no secret that the last time I left this state I swore I was never coming back for anything more than a visit. Unfortunately, I was left with no choice. When I came back this time it was obvious my mother needed my help – help dealing with her husband who had been diagnosed with a rare, terminal illness.

My mother’s husband withered away to nothing right before our eyes. First, he lost control of his muscles, then his central nervous system went, then he lost his mind, then the ability to eat and finally the ability to speak.

The beginning wasn’t too bad, he had to retire from his career as a cop because he was unable to even hold his gun steady to qualify at the range. He took retirement in stride and started spending a lot more time at his trailer in the woods of Salem County. He would jump on his beloved Harley for long rides. Then he steadily declined mentally and physically. It was terrible to watch this man waste away before our eyes.

My mother promised him she wouldn’t “ship him off to die” so we made the decision to go with home hospice until the very end.

I still remember walking into their house every afternoon to give my mom a break and hearing him pray to God to just take him, to end it, to let him die peacefully. Many times I had to tell him to knock it off with the morbid crap.

Things just kept getting worse. As he was losing control of basic bodily functions, as well as his mind, he would rip his catheter out – I can’t tell you how many times I was called to help with that. Many other things happened that I just don’t want to detail. It got to the point where he couldn’t even feed himself, which was after the only thing he would eat was pudding.

Several times the doctors would tell my mother to get the family together because it was time. The man was given Last Rites more times than Father Mulcahy gave them during the entire run of MASH.

I honestly lost count of how many times I had to call my son to tell him to get his ass over there to see his “pop,” but I do remember seeing the pain on my son’s face. I hated it!

It was horrible watching this Harley riding cop waste away to nothing. A man who prayed to God for the opportunity to die on his own terms while he was still of sound mind.

Having lived through it I can say beyond any doubt that dying with dignity is something that should be left up to families.

Besides, one thing I learned is that we already have assisted suicide – it’s called in-patient hospice care. They just keep loading the patient up with morphine until they overdose and die.

So, this one and only time I’m siding with the Governor. Sign the bill!