Friday, October 30, 2015

Singing at the local Hospice

Image result for eolc nzMy GP phoned this morning to tell me about my PSA. I was a bit ahead of him, having asked one of the nurse practitioners to look up my file and let me know. She was supposed to tell him that I knew but he rang anyway and we had a good chat about the situation. He'd like to feel that something was being done about it but we agreed that the routine three-monthly oncology interview in December would be soon enough.. I will have had another bone scan by then and we'll also have a more detailed record of the ups and ups of my PSA over recent months.
But his call has prompted a little more thought than usual and this morning I turned back to the draft of my submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health. I'll support any change in the legislation that recognises that the right to life includes the right to be able to end life if it has become totally unbearable and meets some specific criteria.
This rush of fingers to the keyboard, and the wrong time on my computer clock, made us a little late for our Barbershop Chorus's departure to the local Hospice to sing to them. There were more of us in the chorus than there were of them but it was a good time and we did pretty well for a bunch of oldies with a rather wide range of ability and concentration.
With my rapidly rising PSA in mind, it was a little ominous for me to walk through the Hospice and meet staff and patients, carers and volunteers. Whatever the outcome of the debate about Physician Assisted Death, nobody can detract from the fantastic work that they do and will continue to do. If that is where I am going to finish my days in the not so distant future, I couldn't imagine a better place.
But I am aware that a recent fund-raising appeal for Hospice was based around the lack of government funding for some vital pain-relieving drugs. The argument that nobody needs to suffer while dying seems to be not yet true. If our government continues to refuse to debate the End of Life issue, it must revise its budgets around total pain management.

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