Readers Respond

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When it's time to go

From KENNETH L. RUSSELL / Via internet

I have been thinking about the horse that broke its ankles while running in the Kentucky Derby and was euthanized (put to sleep) to keep it from suffering.

This brings home very forcefully that we treat animals better than we do old people when their life is obviously over.

I am horrified at all the fuss being made over water-boarding being torture, which of course it is, when at the same time all over America we are torturing old people that are near death.

I am 97 and doing great except I cannot walk and must spend my time in an electric wheel chair, typing my memoirs, corresponding with friends and offering unneeded advice to those who are patiently and kindly looking after my comfort and bodily needs.

I will sign up for Hospice to assist the family taking care of me when I feel I am not here for much longer.

I am extremely lucky in having enough money to live like a king in a beautiful handicap- friendly house on a lake where I can watch the birds and animals.

I have signed papers that, if they need to rush me to a hospital after an accident that they are not to keep me after the examinations. The papers instruct the staff that under no circumstances are they to use modern gadgets to keep me alive, for who knows how many more days, in a comatose condition and not clearly recognizing my visitors or knowing that they had been here to see me.

When I am clearly on my way to the "Promised Land" the State prohibits helping God claim my body that is near death. Regardless of the severity of my pain or verbal wishes nothing shall be done to hasten a painless inevitable death. Even if I have signed the proper papers to prohibit the State from torturing me by hooking me up to machines, the State will not allow my caregivers to end my agony.

I may be lucky as I linger on and not in pain but not so the family. An imminent death in a family is nearly always sad but there is no legitimate reason for prolonging the suffering of the family and loved ones by not saying goodbye and sending me on when I am ready.

People rightly worry about the abuse of waterboarding, but what about denying older Americans the right to let go?

I do not understand the thinking of humans when they put their pets to sleep and yet must refuse by law an aged father or mother that are begging to go to their reward the same kind of treatment.