Monday, January 25, 2016

Great death, Mum!

My mother, Nell Mullan, died just 21 years ago last week, about a year or so older than I am now. I think 25 Jan was the date of the funeral and that was a great occasion.
But what happened a few days earlier is what sticks in my mind. Mum had been admitted to the local hospital with serious inflammation and infection in most of her vital organs. Being determined not to finish her days in hospital because of the bad experiences for her mother and two aunts, she had delayed seeking help until she collapsed on the floor.
Transferred to the regional hospital, she was given very good treatment and in a few days her major infections were virtually cleared up, But to be sent home only to later have another episode involving a return to hospital was her worst fear. She gained Dad's permission to give up.
She refused further medication and said she would not eat.
We knew what it meant. We would have to settle down for a somewhat drawn-out resolution. Bev and I drove six hours home that night but next morning received a phone call saying Mum had died. She just made up her mind and died.
I should hope to be able to do the same when the inevitable is staring me in the face - with or without the suffering associated with cancer. But I don't have the power of her mind. I guess I hope that Parliament will one day give me the choice of another option...
That's why I have made a substantial submission to the Parliamentary Committee on Health concerning the case for some personal choice at end of life.
That's why I have made my own situation a little more public.
That's why I encourage everyone with thoughts or experiences on the subject to share them with the Committee before 1st Feb.
This is our last chance to have this debate for years or even decades.

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