I have been writing about euthanasia on a number of occasions over the last three plus years, when the opposition to assisted suicide has always been very strong for obvious reasons. But now the British nursing profession is beginning to change its stance and raise the matter on its own behalf. To the average man in the street it is not a matter high on his agenda, he has more taxing problems, and the last thing he is thinking about, until the very last minute is his own demise. From my own experience I believe that once or twice in a lifetime suicide does cross the mind. It can either be as a result of severe pain, or some tremendous hiatus. It happened to me on my first trip to the Atlantic in a destroyer, when I was seasick for nearly a fortnight, while having to carry out my duties. I literally prayed for death.
We tend to take so much about life for granted, which is unsurprising when there is so much going on. Only when Fate strikes, do you discover what you’re missing, in simple everyday actions, and have to find alternative ways of achieving basic necessities, such as eating, writing, getting dressed etc. Through a simple accident I have currently lost the use of one arm, can no longer drive a car, can only walk short distances, until the pain kicks in, because I have also a crushed spine. I write this, not in any sense bemoaning, but to emphasise the problems faced by the handicapped, and the psychological effects this can have on him and those surrounding him. Overnight, one is changed from being totally independent, to being very dependent for so much, such as shopping, house cleaning, and as I have said, things I have taken for granted. Initially, the logistics of being handicapped occupy most of your time, it is only when life returns to being routine that one begins to ask a question. ‘Am I a burden on my nearest and dearest, putting them under pressures on a daily basis that they could well do without’? It is at this point that one questions the value of euthanasia, as I have done so readily in the past. It is only at this point that one realises, if one thinks of it, that one is entering into a dangerous area, where the thought processes are random instead of being analytical, and selfish in some respects. The strictures imposed by the medical profession are an essential, and if any relaxation of them is contemplated, it should be done right across the board, but for common sense reasons, not religious ones.