I realise what I am about to say is very controversial (and some of you may find it offensive). Please note - these are my personal views as well as decisions I have made about my own life. I respect your right to your own opinions, religious beliefs, decisions regarding any medical treatment you may be prescribed, etc. This blog post will also touch on some subjects which you may find disturbing or triggering.
One of my favourite songs from my time in Secondary School is "The Living Daylights" by Aha. My favourite lyric from it may surprise you - it is very different from the uplifting lyrics I usually quote - "I've been waiting long for one of us to say - save the darkness - let it never fade away". I am sure that those lyrics have some connection with the "James Bond" film the song was the title track to but I can actually see another use for them.
We all know that the NHS is in financial difficulty. Patients are expecting ever more expensive drugs to be prescribed in their apparent search for that Holy Grail known as "Immortality". We are all being encouraged to race to our GP at the first symptoms of serious illness (whilst being told to avoid GPs and A & E Departments when we have symptoms which could - or - according to the Medical Practitioners - should) be treatable at home on our own. The fact that a cough (which according to a Medical Practitioner is treatable at home) which doesn't clear up after three weeks should send you racing to your nearest GP surgery is where the lines start to get blurred. (I know that it takes me over three weeks to get over a cough anyway.) That is before you take into consideration the fact that some of us (myself included) live with what some people may classify as symptoms of diseases serious enough to call an ambulance every day (blurred vision, spots in front of your eyes, eyes sensitive to bright lights, etc).
There is only one minor problem with Society's current way of thinking about Life and Death. It puts too much emphasis on postponing the inevitable - and as a result it has almost bankrupted the NHS as well as making it extremely difficult to publicly discuss what should happen at the inevitable end of your life - never mind how you would like your life to end.
(Another of my favourite songs from my time at Secondary school is "I Quit" by Bros www.youtube.com/watch.)
I find death fascinating. In particular I find the way that Life and Death seem to have undergone a strange separation extremely fascinating. Instead of death being seen as a natural continuation of the life process (in the same way that birth is seen as the natural beginning of the life process) we seem to have turned it into a Taboo subject which should not be discussed in Polite conversation. What is worse (particularly to me) is the double standards which are applied to the subject by the Media. Murders and killings by Terrorists are almost glorified - yet Suicides are only discussed in terms which do not encourage people. In fact, people who speak of thoughts about Suicide (never mind intentions of actually committing what some might call "Self-Murder") are told to discuss such thoughts with friends, Medical Practitioners, organisations like The Samaritans, etc.
As for the discussions about Euthanasia??? I have heard the arguments for and against. However, there is too much "white noise" coming from both sides for us to be able to have a sensible debate about it.
I believe that death is a natural progression from life which cannot and should not be avoided. I also believe that if I find myself seriously ill I should have the right to refuse treatment (transplants, expensive drugs, etc) without being told that I am being selfish or I need Psychiatric evaluation as a result of my decision. This is because I believe - in my case anyway - that further expensive treatment would be a waste of money which could be better spent on someone who actually wants to attempt to achieve Immortality at the possible expense of their actual Quality of Life.
You may be surprised to learn that I have actively considered (as in come extremely close to actually) committing suicide on two occassions. The first is a matter of relatively common knowledge - it was during my first term at Secondary School. The second occasion was as a result of my time at E & F Services Ltd (due to the treatment I recieved from one of my bosses - who ended up owning the Company before it went into Liquidation). In fact, I only stayed there as long as I did partly out of respect for the Founder of the Company and partly because the treatment I recieved from the problematic boss left me feeling too useless to work for anybody else.
The second time I felt actively Suicidal I made the mistake of telling my GP who prescribed me Anti-Depressants and put me on a waiting list for Counselling (which never actually happened). (That - combined with other factors in the Medical history of both myself and certain deceased close relatives of mine - finished off my trust in the Medical Profession completely. I haven't visited a Dr in over five years and I have absolutely no intention of ever doing so again.)
There is a saying "Life is a sexually transmitted condition with a 100% Mortality rate". I would rephrase that slightly to - "Life is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% Mortality rate as well as both an unknown built in time limit and no known cure".
I remember attending Oma's funeral - ironically approximately 6 months after I had learned that she had had Cancer 3 times before it finally killed her. It was the first (and only) Dutch funeral I attended. I was intrigued by the way the Funeral Director and the coffin bearers all seemed to treat the coffin as though it was a living object - they kept bowing to it and thanking it (I am not sure why they thanked it). As for the contraption over the grave that the coffin was placed on - with the handily placed lever next to the Vicar in charge of the burial. Let's just say that had the circumstances been different I would have giggled at the thought of the lever being pulled and the coffin going down rather more rapidly than the respectful speed at which it was lowered.
It was as a result of arranging my English Grandma's funeral service that I decided that when it is time for me to shuffle off this Mortal Coil I don't want any kind of Funeral. In fact - even though I don't think it will be legally possible - I would like my remains to be placed in an incinerator for Clinical Waste which has been connected to the National Electricity supply so the burning of my remains can be used to create electricity.
I want to leave you with the song which always sends me back to my time at Lutterworth High School every time I hear the haunting introduction. "Wanted (Dead or Alive)" by Bon Jovi might well have been written as a result of a discussion about some kind of cowboy fantasy which Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora had - but the lyrics describe the after-effects of bullying more eloquently than I ever could. In fact - disregarding the lyrics about a "steel horse I ride" and the alcohol-problem signalling "Sometimes you tell the day by the bottle that you drink" - you have got my battles with the school bullies and some of the teachers summed up in one easy to learn song if you care to learn it. www.youtube.com/watch
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