Friday, January 22, 2016

Getting Personal

Having been invited to contribute a piece on my concern about Physician Assisted Dying to the public news media in the last week before submissions closed, I took my courage in both hands, dug out my old tape-based video camera and put this little video up at

It's been viewed quite a few times and has been shared around several networks already. But what matters to me is that several people have emailed me saying they will now do a submission. I'm grateful that this personal approach has helped to focus the issues for some friends.


  1. Hi Dave,

    I was interested to read you have prostate cancer. So does my husband. Jack’s is complicated by the fact that he has been in the grip of Alzheimers for the past 12 years. Every case manifests differently but with Jack, memory loss is the big debilitating feature. He is completely present in the moment and can converse with apparent ease and wit even, but everything said is now forgotten in less than a minute (or where he was sitting at a restaurant if a smorgasbord or should he have to go to the toilet). He cannot recall anything he has done or seen within minutes. Since 2004 I have had to take responsibility for everything regards decision making, finance, running the household etc. However, Jack has remained a real companion who is determined to help wherever he can with household chores etc. He was able to mow lawns and maintain a (shrinking) vegetable garden until about 2 years ago. From 2000 to 2014, every Tuesday morning he has walked 2 blocks from our house to set up tables in the Community Centre for a ‘care and and craft’ group of elderly woman and returned to put the tables away. A further complication is he has macular degeneration (as did 4 of his siblings) so he cannot reads signs and notices or hymn sheets, even when enlarged, which is a great blow as he has a fine voice and loves to sing. Any notes left for him have to be written large with feltpen. He is unable to learn any new skills, however minor. Though sad, all was manageable and we have lived well and happily together for 50 years – check out our kids tribute in verse presented last month on my FB page. Although Jack could enjoy the occassion he could neither look forward to it or cherish the memory when the event was over. The prostate cancer is proving very difficult as Jack can’t retain what is wrong with him or how to manage a catheter, he has had various types and periods without but now has a permanent supra-pubic catheter inserted surgically last Friday. For months now he has been saying he wants to die and praying, 'Please take me Lord.' Actually I didn’t mean to tell you all this, I’ve got myself side-tracked!

    What I meant to say was it is likely you have had some personal experience of catheters and it’s not something I’ve ever read about in a novel. Agonising over urine problems (from the perspective of a middle-aged female) is a feature of my novel ‘Green, Ho!’ (a motif my publisher did not find attractive) but something I felt needed talking about along with all manner of other unmentionables – primarily, sexuality, suicide and theology. I have read some of your published works and I would like you to read some of mine, all are written with a deeper notion than simple entertainment. My latest novel ‘Green Ho!’ very loosely follows the pattern of my life and in some places fictionalised things I’ve done it also takes historical liberties like having Trinity Methodist move to the Otagon building in the 80s not the 70s. I think you would appreciate it – and like me you know how difficult it is to market self-published books.

    Best wishes

  2. Your email address is no longer current, please email