Helping a loved one to die
Some decades ago in a land and a universe far far away - a dear friend announced how ill he was with cancer and how he wanted to end his life at a time and a place that suited him and not what suited the medical profession.
He had full time nurses at his home - He had doctors visiting his home weekly and other than going to the hospital on a Monday for his chemo - he stayed at home all the time.
He was 63 years of age.
The nurses brought him everything he needed.
Except companionship - and they were driving him nuts with dull uninteresting - to him - conversations about their kids, the car, the boyfriend etc. and at the end of his life, this was not even close to how he wanted it.
He had moved from Boston, Massachusetts to Sarasota Florida - to get away from his family who were driving him insane - even though his sister was a nurse and his brother a doctor.
They were clearly exacerbating things and just stressing him out and he couldn't stand to have them around, so moved, as ill as he was, lock stock and full house to Florida.
When I found out, I was on the first plane to Florida and stayed a week to see how things were going.
I returned home at the end of the week, and he looked so sad when I left - absolutely crest fallen - and I made some plans for my business and home in the UK and flew back to Florida within a matter of days and stayed for 4 months not just as his friend and carer, but as his guide to his wanting to die at his own hands.
When I returned, the look on his face will remain with me always - as I think he doubted I would return - as most had either given up on him because he was difficult, or because he hated having them around. I think he was astounded I returned and absolutely delighted as well.
He was a difficult man. He had no friends. His family couldn't stand him and only saw $$$$$ as he was wealthy - and he knew he was difficult - he knew he was otherwise alone - and he knew no one cared for him, but me.
I had met him when he lived in the UK on business for 2 years and he had been a client of mine when I was a sex worker and we became friends and he became a regular client - every week.
After his return to the USA and eventual retirement due to his cancer - he was alone.
He was ill.
He was suffering.
The chemo wiped him out for 4 days out of the week.
I immediately fired all the nurses and took control 24/7 myself.
After a few weeks I realized I needed help and late one evening when he was asleep, I visited a local gay sex club and - with my massive knob drawing much attention - I started asking guys if they knew any male nurses that needed work... and while they looked at me as if I was nuts - the next day someone did phone me and said that a friend had given him my number as he knew I was needing a male nurse.
BINGO - THE ANGELS WERE WORKING...
He was also perfect.
Late 40's - easy going - very relaxed and friendly and open to chat with - friendly and sincere and reminded me on his first morning that I was also his patient and that I was to go out and have some lunch and return in 5 hours time, as he said I needed the break... and he was absolutely right. My friend was so pleased. He knew it would lighten my load and give me someone to chat with who was a ' sister' and the same for him... when I was out and he was alone with the nurse, he was delighted to talk gay stuff and not kids and cars...
My friend was in excellent hands. We worked well together and even became friends - taking me afterwards to his home to meet his boyfriend etc. and it was all so kind, so gentle, so loving, and those cold cheerless hospitals and the smells - are just so off putting when in these times of deep despair - and it was so much nicer this way - for us all.
Several months later - Bill died - His end was at a time that suited him. It was pain free. He had me there - and his cat - and he died peacefully and out of pain and - it was beautiful.
It was sad. yet strangely - it also wasn't. He was at peace.
It was emotional.
It was what it was.
The end of a life when it suited him.
With a dear and close friend with him at the time.
It was a very long time ago - It is a memory I will never forget. It brings tears still, not from regret or loss, just that he was forced to go through so much pain and anguish beforehand and was never given the opportunity to take control himself. The medical profession does not have a decent handle on all pains and it is cruel to leave someone suffering, especially when their life journey is fast approaching an end - as we would not allow this to happen to our cat or dog, we would be straight down the vet and have them peacefully put to sleep.
Anything else would be cruel.
Yet this is EXACTLY how we are with people - we are cruel - as cruel as can be - and even prosecute partners left who may have assisted. The whole point is, most people are scared of death. Scared shitless. They will cling on to any shard of life rather than let go. They will live in abject pain rather than say goodbye. Fear rules everything that surrounds death and yet it should not. It is just the other end of the journey when after taking your very first breath as a baby, you are now to take your very last breath and move on.
I have always believed in Self Assisted Suicide for the terminally ill and have found a few books - mostly all banned - on the subject, and this one is worth a read.
Of course, this is a made up story and those who know me know how I can spin a yarn when it suits me. Emotionally though, writing this did bring tears, did take my mood somewhat downward and did bring back memories - and thoughts about who would be there for me if and when ...
It reminded me of a time, so very long ago.
What do you think ?
For a stunning film that may make you cry on this subject. Helen Mirren / Donald Sutherland
The Leisure Seeker