Sunday, 2 February 2014

It's A Great Party

It's Super Bowl Sunday today and a group of my friends have decided that my place is the best place for a Super Bowl party. Of course what they really decided is that none of their places would be accessible to me, and mine is the most accessible to all. What's really good about that is the realization that location determines attendance for me, something they have all had to think about of late. We've tried other places and will continue to go to other places, but my place works so darn well for me that it is now the default.

It's going to be a busy day. I've been in the kitchen since 10:00 AM already and there's already been people by with supplies. Soon more will arrive and the food preparation will begin in earnest, as will the cleaning and organizing. They all pitch in and we all have a good time. There will be far too much food, plenty of beer, wines of many types and it is highly likely there will be multiple Chocolate Martinis prepared. All in all it should be a good party.

It's important for me to live, to have a life while I can. Yesterday I was at the ALS Support Group. The topic of discussion was "Advance Care Planning" and "Goals of Care". Those titles are simply euphemisms for "How Hard Should The Doctors Try To Keep Me Alive?" We talked about things like the level of medical intervention as I approach my end of life. The topic of relevance and age came up. It's the kind of thing we all need to think about, that level of intervention which is appropriate should our bodies fail us and should medical or mechanical devices be used to keep us alive. We talked about quality of life and reasons to live. In the end all of this is a very personal decision.

Then this morning I heard about the death of the actor/director Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He was only 46 years old. They say he died of a drug overdose. It seems so much of the creative community struggles with drug addition. I wonder if he had an "end of life" plan in place? In his case there wasn't much need; he simply died, and probably fairly quickly. He most likely has a will in place, but maybe not. Regardless, there is no decision needed around medical intervention.

I think more of us need to think about what we want to have happen when we are near death. I know for me the answer is simple. At this point I have decided to let nature take its course; I have a "DNR" and have already handed this over to my brother, Peter. I simply want to die when it is time. I am not afraid of this. In fact my greater fear is that modern drugs and machines will keep my disabled body going, while I live inside that shell, trapped and alone. My decision is made; make sure I am comfortable, make sure I am not in pain, and let me die with whatever dignity I have left.

Of course I may change my mind on this, particularly as the last days approach. After all, it's a great party and nobody wants to be the first to leave.


  1. Well done, well written. You brought it home very nicely.

  2. I read all your blogs with interest, however, this one really hit home. Ive decided on a program in B.C. called "My Voice", advance care planning guide for my future and these things are not easy!
    Al and I discussed this when I had Lymphoma and we both decided on no heroic means. Nowe I am well, and he is gone. We talked, but didnt write anything down, and because it was so sudden all went out the window in an effort to keep him alive. When I think about what we put him through to keep him alive, now makes me want to vomit. The surguries may have saved him and many people have had heart attacks and lived to reach a ripe old age. It was the heart shocks, the paddles that keep me awake at night. Al had degenerative disc disease and the discs were crumbling one after another. When I think now of what those shocks could have done to his back, and once he was gone for nearly 5 minutes, what kind of life(?) would he have come back too? We will never know. Obviously , his heart was irreparably damaged ,but I just couldnt let him go. Actually, no one bothered to ask if he had a care plan in place.When I finish mine,I will have it on a card in my wallet,all my children will know,all my sisters will know,and if it is not followed, I swear I will come back to haunt them for the rest of their lives.
    Just because it is written out, do doctors follow the wishes in Canada? I used to be so anti-euthanasia when it was Sue Rodriguis , but now Ive seen what Ive seen, and got older myself, I see so many more "grey areas" then I did when I was young. I sometimes think,"Would Al have wanted to come back to this world of pain and agony that he lived. He had been on Morphine for 23 years! Would it have done him any favors to bring him back to this life, or was I just being selfish? This keeps me awake so many nights.Sorry, again, Richard, but nobody I know will talk about these things with me.