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I hope my father dies soon.

And while I'm at it, I might want you to die a painful death too.

I'm entirely serious on both counts.

My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I'll spare you the details, but it's as close to a living Hell as you can get.

If my dad were a cat, we would have put him to sleep long ago. And not once would we have looked back and thought too soon.

Because it's not too soon. It's far too late. His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering. Rarely has money been so poorly spent.

I'd like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can't make that decision. Neither can his doctors. So, for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies.

I'm a patriotic guy by nature. I love my country. But the government? Well, we just broke up.

And let me say this next part as clearly as I can.

If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out. I won't do that, because I fear the consequences. But I'd enjoy it, because you motherfuckers are responsible for torturing my father. Now it's personal.

I know that many of my fellow citizens have legitimate concerns about doctor-assisted suicide. One can certainly imagine greedy heirs speeding up the demise of grandma to get the inheritance. That would be a strong argument if doctor-assisted suicide wasn't already working elsewhere with little problems, or if good things in general (such as hospitals and the police) never came with their own risks.

I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too. You and the government are accomplices in the torturing of my father, and there's a good chance you'll someday be accomplices in torturing me to death too.

I might feel differently in a few years, but at the moment my emotions are a bit raw. If I could push a magic button and send every politician who opposes doctor-assisted suicide into a painful death spiral that lasts for months, I'd press it. And I wouldn't feel a bit of guilt because sometimes you have to get rid of the bad guys to make the world a better place. We do it in defensive wars and the police do it daily. This would be another one of those situations.

I don't want anyone to misconstrue this post as satire or exaggeration. So I'll reiterate. If you have acted, or plan to act, in a way that keeps doctor-assisted suicide illegal, I see you as an accomplice in torturing my father, and perhaps me as well someday. I want you to die a painful death, and soon. And I'd be happy to tell you the same thing to your face.

Note to my government: I'll keep paying my taxes and doing whatever I need to do to stay out of jail, but don't ask me for anything else. We're done now.


[Update: My father passed a few hours after I wrote this.]

 
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+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 13, 2013
Scott,
Some 40 years ago my father was in a coma and the doctors wanted to put him on life support. That is, until I told them that no one would be responsible to pay the bill. My father died shortly after that in peace and dignity.

I'm sorry that your father suffered so. It is cruel to deny us death.
 
 
Dec 8, 2013
Pain.
Agreement.

It was almost 50 years ago.
On the occasion of my mother's funeral, my Dad's little brother told me a number of things I did not know. My Dad began his life as a young man, on Guam, then Saipan, then Okinawa. Seems like that should have been enough. I had no idea until then. His unit was renowned for capturing more Japanese, alive, than all other units around. A simple matter of not doing things the common convenient way. He was a decent guy.

When Dad's car and that train met, it was not, as I was told, instant. He lasted over an hour but the end was certain. I suppose it was good to not know that at age 11.

Sorry for your loss.
 
 
Dec 6, 2013
My condolences Scott.

Your phrase "His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering" seems to offer an explanation of why they would keep someone in such a condition - as long a the medical industry makes serious money from the relatively unchallenging task of keeping a senior alive, then they certainly have a very strong motivation to carry on doing so.

Sorry for your loss.

 
 
Dec 4, 2013
Dear Scott,
I just signed up, or would have posted earlier--Glad you wrote about the agony for everyone when someone is in pain/suffering that can't be addressed so well these days. My Mom is 95 and in good shape, but she's been praying to die for at least 15-20 years--she's a practical person and doesn't see the point of going on, life- and expense-, and doing-wise.
It's a very knotty (not naughty) thing--in nature, everything dies eventually, no big deal. With humans, there are beliefs that have come along from someone's mind (killing is a sin, suicide brings crappy karma, etc.). It's a huge topic for those of us who are Boomers, and many of my friends have picked out a hillside to drive off--maybe Susan Sarandon will be there? Please keep this topic up and ignore the low numbers, please. Stay raw, my friend!
 
 
+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 3, 2013
I watched my wife wither and die from ALS, and I work as a nurse in hospice now. Denying patients the ability to ask amenable doctors from hastening their excruciating deaths using appropriate medications is inhuman. And I call !$%*!$%* on the 49% figure, too. Someone is pissing on us and calling it rain.
 
 
+23 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2013
Scott,

I could not agree with you more. My father was diagnosed with PSP (an extremely aggressive form of Parkinson's Disease), and within a couple of years he went from leading hikes in his community to unable to get out of bed without assistance, who had a miserable existence just trying to breath and a horrible time coughing any time he needed to, and who was basically angry and abusive to everyone around him.

This is a man who had prided himself on doing everything for himself and playing his emotions close to the vest, and whether those are good things or not, they're how my father defined himself, and so to be in the position where he could do NOTHING for himself, and with "emotional incontinence" such that the slightest sad thing would make him burst out crying, the slightest funny thing would make him burst out laughing, he was forced to live the last three years of his life slowly watching everything that me considered important in himself dissolve, while having a lower and lower quality of life.

I wished, for everyone's sake (my mother not the least, because of how mean he got towards her near the end, but especially his own sake) for his quick passing, and when it finally came I felt no remorse for the happiness I felt, and very little in the way of sorrow, because I knew that the last of what had been my father except the shell of what had formerly been his body had evaporated many months before.

I'm glad you and your father are at peace now, and I agree with you that there are !$%*!$%*!$%*! in which physician assisted suicide is absolutely the right choice.

I hope you come through this quickly, both for you and for our own selfish reasons: We in the world need your humor to get through our days, and it can't be easy being funny when you're in that much pain.

Heal quickly.

Liam.
 
 
Dec 2, 2013
"If my dad were a cat, we would have put him to sleep long ago. And not once would we have looked back and thought too soon."
My maternal grandmother died of dementia and starvation.
My mother died after 4 years in a nursing home of Parkinson's and brain damage and diabetes.
I sincerely hope that when I am that old, and I get to that point, there will be someone to "put me to sleep". It's sad that we don't give dignity and avoidance of torture to people like we do to animals.
I'm an orphan too. My father died (I think in his sleep) this year from a heart attack. Bad enough, but it was quick.
Sorry for your loss.
 
 
+23 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2013
Scott, I am sorry for your loss, but glad that your father is out of his pain and misery.

My mother died two days ago. She was losing her mind and for years had lived in fairly constant pain from a long list of ailments. In April this year she added leukaemia to that list. After blood transfusions, she came home, and experienced some better times. We were told that her blood counts were stable. But suddenly, last Thursday, her white blood cell count was way down, the cancer was back and attacking her organs. The prognosis this time was that she would die within days or weeks.

Last Friday, as my family sat around my mother's hospital bed watching her moan in pain and gasp for each shallow breath, I hoped against hope that she (and we) would not be subject to this for very long. I am glad to say that less than 24 hours hours later, Mum died and her suffering ceased.

Even with this limited understanding of what you went through, I cannot fully comprehend what your mental anguish must have been. My thoughts are with you.

I cannot comprehend how a loving God could let my mother, a lifelong Christian, suffer so. I do not put myself on any moral pedestal, and yet I could not see a mere mouse in such pain without wanting to relieve it. That is one of many reasons why I am an atheist.
 
 
Dec 1, 2013
So sorry for your loss, Mr. Adams, but it sounds like he and you are at peace now. In the coming months you will realize just how much you miss your dad. I understand your frustration, at least partly. I wished my dad would die soon, too. And now I miss all the little things he did and said and his love for me, and I wish I had more time. Fortunately, we were able to keep him at home until the last three days he was in hospice. We removed my dad from the cesspool of the nursing home he was in. Perhaps you didn't have that option and for that I'm even more sorry for you. I don't want my life prolonged either, especially by arrogant doctors. You are angry and grief-stricken, so I'll give you that. But if you choose to promote assisted suicide, on the opposite end of the issue, you are as arrogant as the doctors trying to keep people alive. I cannot continue to purchase your products if you take this stand. For decades now, I've bought your calendars and laughed at your humor and your understanding of the human condition in the white collar workplace. Wishing you healing and peace in your grief.
 
 
Nov 30, 2013
I have long said that Jack Kevorkian showed us the best Civil Disobedience in decades. He paid a high price for his actions, was an imperfect martyr, and was passionate in his beliefs. Thanks Scott for sharing your pain, it was an unnecessary gift, but appreciated.
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 30, 2013
Scott, I am very sorry not only for the loss of your father but for the way his life ended and the pain you both experienced because of that. As a hospice nurse, I've heard families express surprise that the dying process is sometimes difficult, smelly, dirty, lengthy, and painful even with the very best hospice care and support. For most people, it certainly isn't like a movie or TV death, which is as close to death as many folks get. For others, they will pass judgement while sitting on the sidelines.....until it happens to them (like the Terri Schiavo situation several years ago). That's the curse of the double-edged sword of medical technology and expertise.
Thank you for sharing your experience and your raw emotions. Your entry was very powerful and I hope it will open many eyes and hearts. Again, my condolences.
 
 
Nov 30, 2013
Dear Mr.adams.

I cannot imagine the pain and sufering that you, your family, and most certainly your father are expeiencing right now. It must be truly awful. I am so very sorry. But to wish the state had the power over life and death is a most horrible thing. Perhaps had your father or his executor had the forsight to establish a DNR order or perhaps some restristion over heroic effort in place perhaps you would not find yourself in such a horrible situation.

To wish to visit that pain upon another human being is a truly terrible thing. I have read you for a very long time and while I understand that your scrip comes from a very conservative viewpoint I have never attibuted that viewpoint to you. You get that from the very people who give you (submit) the ideas for your daily scrips. You personally have always struck me as a progressive or anarchist twit who believes that no gov't is better than the rule of law.

I am now convinced that you have no moral guidelines save for some Kantian philosphy that what is right for you at the moment is what is best for society. I feel sorry for you beyond my compassion for your father. I feel sorry for you because you think yourself at the center of the universe and that what is best for society as a whole be damned. I will no longer read your comics or enjoy your merchandise. You have lost me. Because you are an anarchist, self-centered !$%*!
 
 
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 28, 2013
Scott,

I'm so sorry for your loss. As many others do I appreciate your eloquent and heartfelt writings on this subject. God bless you and your family.

Also, know that you bring joy to millions of people with your writings. I have a Dilbert calendar on my desk (I'm a Director of Engineering at a small firm), and there are numerous dates hanging around in everyone's office. They bring us joy and laughter in times of great stress in our small company which helps us deal with our situations and stay motivated, it's NOT just a comic strip. I just want you to know that your work is greatly appreciated and makes a difference in many people's lives.

-Pat Higdon, DTECH LABS INC
 
 
Nov 28, 2013
Scott, it is a clear and stark contrast that the same government created the Hospice program. Hospice in the US being for terminally ill patience, there may not have been an option for your father (notwithstanding the 'we're all terminally ill' philosophical argument!). Don't get me wrong, if assisted suicide were legal, it is possible Hospice wouldn't be needed (as much). I watched Hospice care for my mother when she was terminal with cancer and was quite happy with the way all that worked.

I am sorry for your loss and even more sorry for the journey you (and your father) had to take to get there.
 
 
Nov 28, 2013
My condolences. May your father's soul rest in peace.

I can only imagine what you must have gone through. May you and family get the strength in this difficult period of time.
 
 
Nov 27, 2013
I appreciate this post.
I actually registered just so I could say so.
I have watched three family members die in an ugly and frightening way. Two were gone fairly fast, but the third?
She begged for death. She asked all of us to help her die. And we couldn't. And it took her another six days of horrible suffering beyond anything a person should ever have to bear before she was finally gone.

Thank you for writing this. Thank you thank you.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 27, 2013
I am glad your father's suffering, and yours for having to experience it too, is over. My sincerest condolences on his passing, although it's clear you lost him some time ago. I am in total agreement with you about the laws needing to be changed. It's a shame what we put people through in the medical world in this country. So many other countries in the world have it right and we just can't seem to get there without an uphill battle. I just wanted to comment to say, "I get it, and I sympathize!" Thanks for your strip too!
 
 
Nov 27, 2013
Sorry for your loss Scott, I agree on your position.

Anger is on the way to acceptance, may you find peace with it quickly.
 
 
Nov 27, 2013
This should be a relevant listen for anyone interested in a German philosopher's (Schopenhauer) take on suicide, titled "On Suicide", it's 14 minutes:

http://www.archive.org/download/studies_pessimism_librivox/studiespessimism-03-schopenhauer_64kb.mp3

"As far as I know, none but the votaries of monotheistic, that is to say, Jewish religions, look upon suicide as a crime. This is all the more striking, inasmuch as neither in the Old nor in the New Testament is there to be found any prohibition or positive disapproval of it; so that religious teachers are forced to base their condemnation of suicide on philosophical grounds of their own invention. These are so very bad that writers of this kind endeavor to make up for the weakness of their arguments by the strong terms in which they express their abhorrence of the practice; in other words, they declaim against it. They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice; that only a madman could be guilty of it; and other insipidities of the same kind; or else they make the nonsensical remark that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every person has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person."
 
 
Nov 27, 2013
I'm so sorry you had to watch your dad suffer for so long, and I'm so glad that he finally passed, for everyone's sake. May you find comfort in this time of pain.

And I think your feelings are reasonable, and though I do not feel quite as strongly, I agree with you. I wish there was a way to change this country so that no one has to suffer through what you, your father, and family had to suffer through.
 
 
 
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