Assisted suicide


#1

This is going to be a very heavy topic which may trigger bad memories for some, so if you are here to make the day go faster by griping about idiots in the office and things on social media please feel no onus to read it. It’s taken me a while to write this and I’m not altogether sure I should post it, but DiS has a community of people whose opinion and experience I’ve come to value beyond meal deals and I feel a real need to properly write this out to someone.

My mum has asked for help to kill herself. She’s battled cancer for almost a decade now, and although there’s been a slow deterioration and inevitable encroachment of drugs and fatigue she has remained independent and able to do most of the things she liked doing until this year. Over the last couple of months things have gone rapidly downhill and now she cannot get out of the house, needs an oxygen machine and is constantly dopey on the elephant grade stuff the doctors have her on now, which only dulls the edge of her constant pain.

I chose to move back in with her a few years ago once I could fully work from home. I can understand her mental torment because she’s always been someone who’s wanted to do everything herself, and now has to rely entirely on me and care workers to do the most basic things, she finds it demeaning beyond words. For the last few nights she’s woken me up with her buzzer trying to find some way out of the anxiety and pain which rob her of sleep, and all I can say is “Take more meds, and I’ll read to you for a bit”. Yesterday she told me she’s had enough and wants to end it as soon as possible.

Idk what to do. I’ve gone through Dignitas’s literature and the problem there isn’t just the cost or the difficulties getting her to the continent, it’s time - it’s a long, complicated process, deliberately so, that they warn takes about three months. She doesn’t have that long. I have thought about trying to persuade the GP to prescribe her some very heavy sleep medication, but the thought disgusts me and I’m sure he’d see right through me. I’m also very worried about this from a legal/medical perspective, like giving her something that only makes things worse for her, or what the coroner would say. I think she’s made a rational decision and I’d like to help her, but I’m equally worried that she’ll become so miserable that she’ll take all of the morphine she can lay her hands on and damn the consequences. She was pretty close to that last night.

Sorry about putting this on you mates, but I find it very difficult to put all of this into speech to the couple of people who know about this and wonder if anyone here has any kind of experience with this kind of thing who’s willing to talk about it.


#2

I don’t feel like I’m in any position to provide advice but I’m glad you feel comfortable posting this in this forum and my thoughts go out to you and your family. Can’t imagine how awful this must be for you all.


#3

This is just awful, you don’t need to apologise for bringing it up here.


#4

I’m neither literate nor mature enough to put this in the way I’d dearly intend it, and I can’t bare to comprehend what you and your family must be going through. There’s a lot of wisdom and strength and care on these forums, and I truly hope that things turn a corner for you soon and that someone of us here can help in some form or another. Don’t apologise, my friend, you’re a bloody good bloke. Thoughts very much with you xx


#5

Do you have power of attorney?


#6

Mate, this is truly awful to a degree that none of us will be able to fathom. I can’t offer anything beyond genuine, heartfelt sympathy. This is a subject that we as a society need to wake up to. To force people to live in immense suffering is the definition of inhumane and I hope your Mum can find peace and an end to her pain.

As a community I have no idea whether anyone will be able to offer you any form of tangible advice but I know for a fact that you’ll always have somewhere to get things off your chest and many, many ears to vent to whenever you need them whether it’s on the forums or via DM or email or whatever, any time you need to speak we’ll be here.


#7

Have you spoken with the doctors/carers about additional medication to ease things if she doesn’t have long left?


#8

Take care of yourself, mate.


#9

Hi mate, I’m so sorry about the situation you’re in. I’ve dealt with loved ones suffering through terminal illness, and it’s the most unbearable thing in the world, even without this minefield on top of it. I don’t have any practical advice, but you mentioned legal concerns, and you’re right to - the CPS has a run down here of how cases are treated:

http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/assisted_suicide.html


#10

Sorry. I’m on my phone and that cut short.

Firstly as others have said, really feeling for you and family.

I’d recommend that you request a home visit immediately from her palliative care consultant. You need to explain what has been happening. No idea what you and your mums plans and intentions are regarding hospice care but that should be discussed as an option. Also, goes without saying but please look after yourself and make sure you’re getting what you need. The impact of this situation on a carer cannot be underestimated. Xx


#11

Jesus man, this sounds horrific. Can’t offer anything but sympathy, really, but hope it goes as well as it can.


#12

Just to echo all of the above, I have no experience of assisted suicide, not do I really know enough about the ins and outs of it - particularly legally, so I can’t be of any assistance in a practical sense.

But, I don’t think I’ve read a post on here as moving as your OP. As Ant says, I don’t think any of us can even begin to imagine, or understand what you and your Mum must be going through right now without having been touched by it personally ourselves.

My heart goes out to you both, and if posting on here helps you, please don’t hold back in the future. We’re all here for you, mate - anytime.

Take care of yourself, and your Mum.


#13

Glad you felt like you were able to post this here and I’m genuinely sorry for you and your family as mentioned up thread I would also suggest looking into palliative care not least because it’s also intended to support the families and carers of people in this position.


#14

@jontosh2001 Yes, I do have PoA. She actually was in an hospice at one point after the bad fall which precipitated this, but she battled as hard as she could to get a plan that allowed her to go back home. I think she imagined that things would be better here than they are, or maybe just having that goal focused her. I’m uneasy about bringing this up with palliative care because I fear their response will be to zombify her and/or send her back to the hospice, which I don’t feel is the right course of action. You’re right though, I will talk to them.

@meowington I’ve never put it in those words, no, but medication is a constant conversation. I don’t know how valuable more powerful stuff is at this point, the plethora of stuff she’s on now muddles her and she hates not having clarity of mind as much as anything.

@hip_young_gunslinger Thank you, I’ll have a read through of this.

@Everyone else, thank you for your kind words. I know they never seem like much when you write them in situations like this, but they were very moving.


#15

I think it is worth talking to them as you say, and make it clear what you’re concerned about and what you do want and don’t want. They can work out what is possible. I’d really suggest that you are honest and open about what she’s been saying to you in the night.


#16

I wish I had something useful to say. I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you. I hope both of you find some kind of peace whatever you decide to do.


#17

Very sorry to hear what you and your mum are going through. Was going to echo what jontosh said and make sure people are aware of the fact things are getting worse pain wise. My dad went into a hospice but wanted to come home to die and had a Marie curie nurse for the last few days. I can understand why hospice care wouldn’t be what your mum would want,though maybe worth discussing again, idk. Make sure you have people around to support you.


#18

I hope you don’t mind me replying, I’m a very occasional lurker on these boards and haven’t even posted for years, but I went through very similar with my mum. Definitely agree with others who have said to speak to the doctors about medication. We found that my mum took more and more of the painkillers she had which left her confused and hallucinating, when what we should have done was have her medication reviewed more often. Of course different painkillers work in different ways, so there could be combinations which allow her pain to be better managed.

As far as the actual crux of what you’re asking, I remember our doctor visiting very near the end and she told me that there wouldn’t be any repercussions if a lethal dose of morphine were given. I wasn’t leading or asking about that, she offered that information, so I guess I assumed it wasn’t an uncommon thing. I didn’t have the guts to do that for my mum, and I’m not sure whether that was wrong or right.

I’m so sorry you’re going through it. It’s so lovely that you mum has a loved one looking after her x


#19

Again, I’ve got nothing to add but anonymous support. I hope you have people around you can lean on, and DiS will always be open for this sort of thing.


#20

Threads like this remind me just what a good bunch DiSers are.
I can’t really offer any thoughts over and above those upthread; all I would say is that there is always a sympathetic ear here so come back and post when you need to.
Thoughts with you.