It’s time Ohio…
I laid my wife to rest January 13. I watched the cancer eat at her from the inside. My children and I stood vigil with her for two weeks at Hospice of Medina County before her body realized it was time to let go. Watching someone you love with all your heart and soul wither away is NOT how they should be remembered but unfortunately it will stay with me for the rest of my life.
We knew the end was near. Her doctors and oncologist told us her cancer was incurable. She was a fighter though, we actively sought treatments, and these gave us over a year together which we made the most of. In the end it wore her down. She was tired, tired of needles, tubes, IVs, pain and nausea. The cancer had totally obstructed her digestive track. She could not eat nor drink by the time she entered hospice on December 23, 2019.
She cried that she could not end her suffering. Bitterly complained that the final kindness she gave our beloved pets was not an option she could choose for herself. If the choice were available, she would have taken it gladly.
I do not know what God has planned for us after death, all I know is that we will ALL find out at some point. I cannot believe that he is a vindictive God and would punish one of his children for accelerating the time of their meeting by a few days, weeks or months.
I have heard and read the arguments against legalizing this final decision. I fully agree that life is precious, and we should do everything possible to preserve and protect it. I find myself dwelling more on the quality of that life, not necessarily the quantity. Today’s medical technologies can prolong life almost indefinitely but what kind of life is it? Just because we CAN do something does not mean we SHOULD. It was only in 1991 that the PSDA federal law (Patient Self-Determination Act) gave us the right to refuse end of life treatment. This led to the rise of palliative care organizations or hospice. Hospice is a wonderful service and I cannot say enough about the kind and compassionate people who work and volunteer there. I consider the ability to voluntarily end one’s life in these specific situations a logical extension of the PSDA and another tool for hospice patients to choose with appropriate oversight.
Every religion considers the taking of one’s own life a sin, including my own. I do not know what God has planned for us after death, all I know is that we will ALL find out at some point. I cannot believe that he is a vindictive God and would punish one of his children for accelerating the time of their meeting by a few days, weeks or months. Ohio Right to Life, an organization I greatly respect that fights for those that can not speak for themselves, is adamantly against this option. I truly do not understand their position. Their literature and arguments immediately make a leap to warning about forced euthanasia and mercy killing. Nothing could be further from the truth, this is about “choice”. One only the terminally ill can make for themselves, no one else.
I understand that the Hippocratic oath says, “do no harm” and that many Doctors feel this prevents them from supporting this option. Please define “harm”, and to “whom”. Watching my wife in a drug induced coma from pain medications grimace, groan and wither in pain at the nurse’s touch was terrible harm in my opinion. Again, this is about choice. If a Doctor or other medical professional cannot support this option, I respect that position, and no one is forcing them to do anything against their own moral code.
There are arguments that this option may “possibly” be taken advantage of by the unscrupulous. However, I do believe that appropriate, common-sense safeguards and checks/balances can be incorporated into the law to prevent abuse. I write this as a final act of kindness for my wife who wished this was available to her. As such, I respectfully ask our state representatives to support appropriate legislation in Ohio. I also ask you the public to educate yourself on Ohio Senate Bill 249 which has gone nowhere since 2018. Let your representatives know where you stand. It is your choice.
In Addie’s memory, please urge your state legislators to support medical aid in dying for the terminally ill in Ohio.
Will you write a letter in honor of Addie and others like her who want this option and who may suffer needlessly until a law is passed?
You can write to your Ohio State Senator and Representative from where you are sitting right now. Click this link to write your letter. It will connect you to a form where you need only provide your address so that it can send your letter to your representatives. The letter is written in the form, but you are able to add your own personal thoughts.