Friday, June 20, 2014

The Reason Why I Support Dignity In Dying

We have all, at some point in our lives, lost somebody dear to us. 

I myself have lost more than I care to mention, yet I lost one of them long before they died. 

I watched as my dear friend was eaten away by cancer. 

She lost control of her arms, her legs, her bladder and bowels. I watched as she, ever determined as always, refused help, dragged herself through her own filth to get to the bathroom, a human slug leaving a slimy trail. 

Long before that she wished she could end it, wished she could have died with dignity, instead I watched as she died in agony, having withered away to something less than human, in too much pain to even know I was there, that she was surrounded by her friends and family. 

I still wonder, if at the end of her last horrifying moments, whether or not she even knew she was not alone.

I miss her terribly, despite the years. I miss the fact that she could have ceased her suffering at a time she had chosen to, to see out her days as she had seen fit, I miss most that I was robbed of the chance to remember her as she would have chosen, instead of that thing, wrapped in disease and suffering, begging for the darkness to finally envelop her. I've been robbed, of her humour, her laughter and damn silly jokes. Seeing her for the brave and beautiful woman she truly was. Just as she was stolen away from having a choice.

I have heard other peoples stories, how others of my friends, my family and random people I have met have experienced similar, sometimes shockingly so, I wonder how many of them are haunted by their memories, how they would have chosen to remember, how many of their loved ones would have chosen to die at their own pace?

An animal in the same condition as my friend would not have been allowed to suffer, they would have been put down out of their suffering, the owners fined and prosecuted. I want to know who should I prosecute, who is responsible, who should I blame for allowing someone I loved to suffer so horribly?

Animals don't understand, we cannot understand them, for all we know they could be desperate to see out all of their days clutching to the very last of their dying breath.

People do, we can understand, we can communicate, we should be given the choice.

Thank you for reading.

-I miss you-

Making my world a little bigger...

I wrote this to enter a competition... I may have gotten a little carried away, but it is all true. 

 This is how I made my world bigger. 

 I went back out in the world again. 

Long story short, I got out a lot, I travelled, volunteered and worked in different countries, different cultures and with different species of animals. I climbed, mountaineered, abseiled, sailed, snowboarded. You could say in the few short years I've been on this earth, I lived.

It's ironic, it's when I stopped traveling, stopped taking risks, began to settle down, my life changed. 
I could have injured myself falling off a cliff, attacked by an animal, hell even beaten up, robbed and left for dead. No. My life changed when I began to swap my life for working in an office to put dinner on the table, settled in Bulgaria with my then fiancée as we planned our wedding. 

 Going back to my pre-travel days, hell, to my pre-teens - I had a condition called Scoliosis (itself possibly linked to a scout climbing accident & an incident with a car) I have a curve in my neck, middle spine and lower. I had operations where the discs were removed from my spine, the bone fused and metal rods screwed in for support.

I almost died, I proved resistant to the anaesthetic waking up before the procedure was done, found I was allergic to morphine having fever like symptoms, rashes, hallucinations and other side effects. Sounds fun right? To make things more interesting, I then caught the MRSA bug in my spine, had that flushed out, my wounds becoming a superbug playground. 
Basically my nerves were pretty much messed up and eaten away. 

 As a result of this a couple of things happened, I refused to take any pain relief, not even aspirin for a migraine, ignored the pain as the neurons grew in rather odd places, and ten years later, a month or so before the planned wedding, when one of the hooks securing the metal rods slipped, tearing through a nerve cluster, scarring confused the signals and I basically lost control of my arms and legs, am now reliant on so many meds if I jumped up I'd rattle, lost my job, my home and without any disability support in Bulgaria I had to leave my fiancée behind and move back to England with my parents. 

For a while I was practically bed bound, battling regaining control and depression, I rarely braved the outside for two years more. 

 My then fiancée became my true inspiration, I tried to push her away, to break things off with her so many times, she said no, stuck by me, left her friends, family and country behind to care for me and is now my wife. 
She puts up with racism, threats and mindless insults, the UK now is a scary place to be if you happened to be born in a different country, one she had barely even visited, yet she gave up her job as a manager for a multinational company to come here to push my fat arse around and put up with me and more than she should. 
£30 a month carers benefit and little to no praise, I don't know how she does it.

 I have gained some control (otherwise I wouldn't be able to type to you now), yet it is she who has helped me and supported me, got me back into the world, to meet my friends again, allowed to realise that though it is unlikely I will never regain complete control physically, I am still the same man that was dumb enough to travel Europe with little money, run out and get stuck. 

 Thanks to her boosting my confidence I have now got back out into the world, became interested in my local community, volunteered at local groups, became drafted in as a councillor, became involved in politics and now I will be standing for the Green Party for Needham Market and surrounding areas for the 2015 elections (sorry for the plug - couldn't resist)... 

No, wait, I was wrong before, I lied.. and not just about making a long story short. 

Getting back into the world again wasn't what made my world bigger; it was meeting the amazing, loving, beautiful, talented and inspirational woman that I am lucky enough to call my wife. 

 Thank you.