Assisted Suicide

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Blackeyes

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When my husband was diagnosed he told me that when there were things he couldn’t do and he had to rely on his breathing machine and oxygen he wanted my support for his right to chose when he was done.

He’s been bedridden for weeks now and everything on his list has been checked off. Now he wants the promise I gave him to support that decision to be honoured. When I made that promise I was saying it so he would get a damn feeding tube out in. He has the forms and has spoken to the drs and has their support and as much as I see how tired and sad he is I want to say no. And he wouldn’t do it. But that would wrong and selfish. I know this. And I know he’s suffering and any type of movement I do with him seems to send him into distress. Just lifting him in the lift to change his sheets or put him on the commode makes his body shake and hard for him to breath.

They checked his oxygen levels Friday and they were at 74. I’m hoping the new oxygen machine will bring that stat up but it doesn’t matter. For the last 3 days he wants to sit down and go over the last of the financials. We have pretty much taken care of that last Jan. We just have a few final decisions to make. For anyone out there who hasn’t done it yet. One of the smartest things he made me do was move anything we owned into my name so all he has now is his one account. Life insurance... trying to do this while grieving is a lot for one person. Doing it before it needs to be done wasn’t painful and one less thing I have to worry about.

but that’s not where I’m going with this. I promised to support his decision of assisted suicide and now he wants me to honour that and I want to for him I do. I just never thought I would have to. I thought when they legalized it here that it was a good thing. People shouldn’t be made to suffer when there is no cure for them and they are no longer enjoying life. When he was able to get into his wheelchair it was different he could move around and had some control.

But now he just lies in bed and watches tv. He doesn’t any gadgets to help him move around or speak for him. He’s tired and done and I blame covid for a lot of it. Friends unable to visit and talking on the phone isn’t an option anymore. He is in NO WAY a coward. The disease has dictated his life and he will be damned if it decides on his death. He wants to go out on his terms. And he wants to get all that finalized now.

has anyone else thought of it? Knows someone who has gone thru it? What are peoples thoughts on situations such as this?

cindy
 
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lgelb

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Hi Cindy,
I think you have answered all your own questions and are venting that it is hard. When I say that the best possible death is the greatest gift CALS give, I really believe that, because it's the last set of choices that both of us control. All I can say is that when it's over, you'll be glad that you supported his wishes for himself.

You want what he wants. No one would be happy that it has come to this, but it has, and you meant your promise because you love him.

We don't call it "assisted suicide" here in the US as much as "self-directed death" or a "peaceful death," but it amounts to the same thing -- going out on his own terms, as you put it neatly. Many of us have assisted in that way, and you can, too.

Best,
Laurie
 

affected

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I'm so sorry things are at this point and you are in this position.
I think I came to an acceptance of quality fairly quickly, which was good as my husband was such rapid progression.
He knew in the last week that things had really turned in his progression and said no more hospital.
For him things were fast and I had awesome support from our Australian palliative care team by phone.
I have never regretted him going out quite quickly (4 days from decision to gone) and in total peace.
It has helped me enormously.
I would want the same done for me.
We don't have assisted suicide, or self-directed death or any such here.
But our palliative situation is able to support decisions.
 

Blackeyes

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Thank you Laurie. Your right I just needed to vent. I also don’t know what to expect from ppl who don’t have ALS or have seen his progression because of Covid restrictions. I don’t want anyone to ever believe he was a coward or a cop out. He’s a strong and proud man who doesn’t want to spend possibly years laying on his bed watching tv shows he’s seen a hundred times. Not that it should matter what ppl think. Anyone who knew him before and have learned of the disease knows he doesn’t make the decision lightly. I had one person say if he loved me enough he would stay... that was cruel and I wanted to sit him down explain and then kick the &$*+ out of him. But what’s the point. There are just some ppl out there who no matter what it is always has to be that guy.
thanks for letting me vent. It always has a way of clearing my head.
 

Blackeyes

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Thank you for what you said. I’m really sorry you’re familiar with this topic. I was always on the fence about suicide. This disease has taught me a lot about ppl. Our health system and how much help there is for some and not others. It’s also taught me that some of the equipment we are using had to been made by someone who has no clue about the needs of some. Everything is standard. Except the people who need them.
 

lgelb

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No one who knows or guesses or can imagine what ALS is will ever call him a coward.

Anyone else, it doesn't matter what they think, including the idiot that equated unnecessary suffering [for both of you] with love. You don't ever have to explain yourself or him, to anyone.
 

KimT

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You don't have to share anything with people who have not seen him. He passed away from ALS. I've known a half dozen PALS who chose when they would die. In all cases, it was peaceful.

I support your PALS decision and admire you for helping him go out on his own terms.
 

affected

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Surely people who insist a person simply 'must strive to live at all costs' are scared of death? Anyone who is self-assured enough to make their own decisions is no coward. I agree, never tell people the details, just say ALS is always terminal.
I can assure you, any CALS that helps their PALS are also anything but a coward.
Get yourself centred without thinking what others would think, be sure you follow your heart.
Then later decide what you would tell anyone else.
I wish you much peace, whatever decisions you both make, none of them are easy nor made lightly 💜💖
 

Bestfriends14

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Cindy,

I just wanted to pop in to say I am thinking of you. You and your PALS are the bravest of the brave.

Much love to you and big hugs. ❤

Joanna
 

Samkl

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Hi Cindy, not that if helps in any practical way, but like others here, I wanted you to know you’re both very much in my thoughts. Xx
 

JimInVA

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Cindy,

My wife was one month shy of 8 years since her first undeniable symptoms of ALS. She had lost use of most everything. Her voice was extremely difficult to understand, most times. And the computer that allowed her a connection with her friends and the world, and which she controlled with her eyes, was becoming near impossible for her to use. From her first days, she stated that when her quality of life became such that another "tomorrow" was no longer something to aspire to, it would be time to let go of this life and move onto what she believed would come next. When that day came, she asked us for our blessings and understanding.

Hospice was invited in and she made her intent known. Our two children both were able to travel home to share some wonderful final moments... moments that they, and I, will carry as good memories for the remainder of our lives. Darcey worked with Hospice and picked the day of her passing. She would, after all, get to say goodbye on her own terms... something that was so very important and desirable to her.

That chosen morning, she was surrounded by her family, a dear friend (who had also helped with her caregiving for that last year) and the amazing Hospice team. She said her final goodbyes and with a smile on her face, nodded that she was ready for the lorazepam and morphine titrations to begin. She passed away peacefully less than two hours later.

Though we miss her terribly, we're glad that she is no longer in distress. And we are all glad that we were able to share in the beautiful gift of allowing her to pass on... thus honoring one of her earliest and last requests. Love, compassion, respect, that thing called "life"... so many words can be used to attempt description. For me, it was my ability to push my own feelings aside so that I was able to cradle her heart, spirit, life and choice... in that moment... with the depth of love we shared.

I've described the end of our journey in the hopes that it will allow you a better chance at finding peace in the moments you have begun to walk through.

My very best to you both...

Jim
 

Fredlevin

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Thanks for sharing. We are approaching that time after five years and my wife asks for it often.
Appreciate your openness.
 

Blackeyes

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Thank you all for the support. It means a lot. We’ve only been dealing with this for less then 2 years yet some of you have been going thru this for so much longer and I can’t believe how strong you are. Today I cried. All day long. I painted my cupboards for no reason other then I needed to do something normal. And I cried. I cried and I cried and I cried. And I’m crying again. It doesn’t make me feel better right now but tomorrow when I get up I know I’ll feel a little bit stronger. And now I have to finish the mess I started in the kitchen. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. I found a can of blue paint and thought what the hell. Now my cupboards are blue. What the hell was I thinking??
 

Bestfriends14

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Much love to you, Cindy. I'll PM you my number if you ever want to chat. There's very few people who understand the nastiness of this disease, so I'm here to lend an ear.

Scratch that. I tried to send my number but could not. If you would like, PM me anytime.

Joanna
 

Sonne

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Hi Cindy- I now your situation all too well. I have ALS and live in Toronto. In Canada we call it an Assisted Death, which is indeed different from assisted suicide, in that it acknowledges death as opposed to suicide. A sutble difference I know but still a difference as it takes the solitary action of a suicide away and statements the obvious outcome that death will come soon.

My husband died of suicide after a long fight with cancer. It was before the legislation of Assisted Death in Canada. With my knowledge he went to the garage and turned on his car engine. It was indeed heart wrenching- but the chose was untolerable for him and too ask him to continue living a life he did not and could not live was indeed cruel. So he made the decision and I supported it for him. I ended up looking at possible criminal charges with a police investigation that lasted 2 years. Thankfully I wasn't charged. I went on to fight for spousal support for EI benefits for caring for severly ill people and later for the right to have an Assisted Death. We now have both. The Assisted Death legislation is now being revised to offer an earlier death rather then just the very final days of life. I believe this is a necessary process that needs to happen as I believe life ends at different stages for everyone and no one has the right to choose when that time should be. That is why I supported my husband's suicide. If I had said nothing many people would have believed he was simply depressed but I knew this wasn't so as did his doctor who also supported his action.

One day not too long from now I will also have to make the some choice. I live alone and have no help other than home-care and I certainly do not want to go into LTC especial when all I'll be doing is waiting for death. So it is my hope that these laws will be revisited in order to make death more acessible to those who can not continue.

Yes Cindy, you are likely very much venting and I so wish that was possible for myself when my husband died but it wasn't and we make the best decisions we can. We grieve many ways when a life is lost and any sense of guilt should be in that list. Your husband has the options to control his life as he wishes. He needs you to understand this and to allow him to maintain as much control of his life as he is able to. I know only too well what a difficult position you are in but your support of his right to choose is not the same as taking his life. It is what it is and we all do what we can and that is all we can do. My prayers are with you.
 
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