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Point me to heaven when the final chapter comes...
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
Speaking of Terry Pratchett, he has made a quite moving personal statement in favor of assisted suicide (although he doesn't care for that term). There's a short article with some political context and a summary of Pratchett's statement, but they've printed the entirety of that statement further down the page. Well worth reading.

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The "summary" was a cock-up, but the original statement was beyond moving. He certainly sounds like his old self, and God send that he stays that way for a good while. My father had Alzheimer's, though that's not what's on his death certificate. Actually, a comparatively small percentage of Alzheimer's patients "die of Alzheimer's," most are carried off by something else, but not before years of suffering. It's always interested me that Sir Terry was diagnosed so early in the disease's progress. With older people, the changes have gone much much farther before the doctors will commit themselves to whether it's Alzheimer's or "normal age-related dementia" (right,normal!)

It's always interested me that Sir Terry was diagnosed so early in the disease's progress. With older people, the changes have gone much much farther before the doctors will commit themselves to whether it's Alzheimer's or "normal age-related dementia" (right,normal!)

Turns out there's an interesting reason for that. Alzheimer's has no conclusively charateristic symptoms of its own: it has a list of definitional symptoms it shares with other disorders, all of which other disorders must -- definitionally -- be ruled out to qualify as Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is literally the condition of having these N symptoms not better explained by any other disorder. I gather this rule-out procedure is much more easily accomplished in an otherwise healthy middle-aged adult, than a multiply ill elderly one.

I'm not the most impartial observer to this right now, but I'll just say succinctly: I'm for assisted suicide being a topic for discussion -- because the alternative is unassisted suicide.

But as Sir Terry points out, by the time someone has given up the fight and is ready to go into that good night, they are often also at the point where unassisted suicide is no longer possible.
The same older generation that he mentions in the statement used to call pneumonia "the old man's friend" for this reason: it obviated the necessity for the pillow or the laudanum and carried the patient off quickly.

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