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Old 04-15-2008, 07:21 PM   #21
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If I ever get Alzheimer's disease I hope to be treated as well as Lazy took care of his mother and knowing my daughter I'm sure I will be .
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:26 AM   #22
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Woody Allen covered this possibility in a stand-up routine he did a few years back.

After methodically going over his will, the last paragraph was:

"No matter how much I whine, and explain that it's not worth it, and in the doctors opinion, I will never ever recover, I want you to promise me that you will never, ever take me off life support.
Actually, that is not as farfetched as one might think......
CTV.ca | Orthodox Jew to remain on life support, trial next
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:44 AM   #23
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Same answer:
How Do You Feel About Your Upcoming Death
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:56 AM   #24
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How far into Alzheimer's will I still be able to paddle and cast?
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:58 AM   #25
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Good post LG4NB
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:49 AM   #26
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Like Brewer, as a Catholic, I would not end my life if I got Alzheimer's. I had the honor and privilege of being my FIL's caregiver when he got this horrible disease. My dear MIL had died and I was the only one in the family who did not work. One day, in the early stages of his disease, I was bringing his clean laundry up from the basement and he met me at the top of the stairs. He leaned in and kissed me on the mouth in a rather inappropriate way. I was shocked and yelled at him and he explained that he thought I was Mom. It was so sad we both cried. There were wonderful moments too. He played harmonica all the time and we would sit on the porch and sing at the top of our lungs. He was funny and always expressed his gratitude until he was too far gone to speak. The one gift I most cherish is the knowledge that without a doubt, there is a God who cares. Every time my DH and I were at the end of our ropes we received the strength to continue. It was truly miraculous. If I killed myself if I got Alzheimer's perhaps I would deny my kids the opportunity for that same gift.
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:41 PM   #27
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One thing that shows very plainly is that the poster who calls himself a lazygoodfornothingbum is very, very far from that being any sort of an accurate description. The love and care for his mother that shines through in his posts completely negates such a description.

Perhaps a name change to reallyreallyreallygoodson would be more appropriate.

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Old 04-17-2008, 12:16 AM   #28
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If I killed myself if I got Alzheimer's perhaps I would deny my kids the opportunity for that same gift.
Why do you automatically assume that other people would regard taking care of you in the advanced stages of alzheimer's as a "gift". shoe? Isn't that rather smug? Not everybody has the patience or resources to bear that kind of a burden.

Also, you mention that you took over the care of your in-laws because you were the only one not working But what if you had to work? What then?

Then there's the aspect of religion, and the fear of a non-existent supreme being which prevents people from claiming their lives as their own. You say that you "know" God exists. How?

For me the biggest argument for suicide in the face of alzheimer's and the deterioration of my mental faculties would not be the prospect of burdening others, especially DW--although that would be a considerable factor--but rather the loss of personal dignity that comes with this disease. The finest personal care in the world could not compensate for that.
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:52 AM   #29
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My 88-year-old mother is presently in stage 4, perhaps edging into stage 5. As those who have written above have witnessed previously, it is painful to observe. She has three children, none of whom live near her, so we have moved her to an assisted living center near one of my siblings in a city distant from her home. She hates it, although she truly gets excellent care. Every conversation is a plea to take her back home "where people love me." And, the phone call that comes most nights about 8 p.m. (my time) but two hours later for her is like listening to a CD that is plugged in each evening. No wonder the disease is called "the long goodbye." Her illness is clearly the worst thing that has happened to her -- and, selfishly, perhaps to me too.
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Old 04-17-2008, 08:22 AM   #30
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Xpat, I do not believe that caring for me with late stage Alzheimer's would be a "gift" but the spiritual growth that can comes from doing the very thing you are sure you can't, is. Smug? No. I do not know what we would have done about my FIL's care if I had had to work because that wasn't the circumstance at the time. How do I know there is a God? Because each and every time we had had it, we received the strength to continue and we never even asked for it. The help came once during a Christmas Eve mass when the priest read a passage from the Bible that went something like "Take care of your father when he is old. Though his mind faileth, despiseth him not. Like warm breath on frost, it will melt your sins away". Another time, in tears after cleaning up a mess for the umpteenth time, I found a stack of love letters that he had written my MIL when they were young. They were absolutely wonderful and renewed me. Another time I found a perfect rose, it's stem cut on the diagonal, 50 feet from the only rosebush in the yard. MIL had rooted the bush from a rose my FIL had given her years before and now for no reason it was directly in my path. She had been dead for two years by this time and I felt it was a gift from her. I could go on and on.
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:24 PM   #31
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Yes, I would off myself. Follow Guy Waterman's lead, slip off the Window in Big Bend, a gun, or just pills.

Death hath a thousand doors to let out life....
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:53 PM   #32
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An engineer I know is seriously concerned as he is getting Alzheimer's in his 50s and his family has such a history. He talked of designing a bracelet with poison & a timer with a code, when he could not remember to enter the code the bracelet would work as designed. If people are really old and if they fail fast it it is within the understanding of the life process. But it is a terrible disease if it comes on 'young', the coworker/good friend in the next office had a father who was wearing diapers and did not recognize her. Heartbreaking, used all their financial resources and just a drain on life energy. She is now facing the same prospect and she is determined to not have her life end as her father. This is not an easy thing to deal with and moral judgments should be very soft. I don't know what I would do.
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:58 AM   #33
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A friend from my youth and hometown just died last week after more than 10 years of decline due to Corea Huntington disease.
He knew for years that he would probably suffocate at the point when he could not use the muscles in his breast/lung any more to breathe.
I am sure in earlier times he was the one to advocate for suicide in such case - when he had not yet learned about his disease.
But as long as there is life, there is hope. And so he held out till the end.

Right now I am pretty sure that I would end my life in a situation like that while I am still able to do it. But would I really do it later? Or just live from day to day till it is too late to do anything
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:42 PM   #34
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How do I know there is a God? Because each and every time we had had it, we received the strength to continue and we never even asked for it. The help came once during a Christmas Eve mass when the priest read a passage from the Bible that went something like "Take care of your father when he is old. Though his mind faileth, despiseth him not. Like warm breath on frost, it will melt your sins away". Another time, in tears after cleaning up a mess for the umpteenth time, I found a stack of love letters that he had written my MIL when they were young. They were absolutely wonderful and renewed me. Another time I found a perfect rose, it's stem cut on the diagonal, 50 feet from the only rosebush in the yard. MIL had rooted the bush from a rose my FIL had given her years before and now for no reason it was directly in my path. She had been dead for two years by this time and I felt it was a gift from her. I could go on and on.
Shoe, I admire your dedication as a caregiver, but I'm afraid that you have confused knowledge with faith. We "know" for example that 2 + 2 = 4. We can also inductively deduce that the sun will rise tomorrow because there's no scientific evidence to the contrary. But there's no objective evidence that God(s) exist(s). That's why belief in a supernatural power is actually faith.

But more to the point, one doesn't need belief in a supreme being to have an inner strength to carry on in the face of adversity. The ability to carry such burdens is based on many factors including genetics, environment,resources, character,etc. And of course not all burdens and abilities are equal. Sometimes it depends on the circumstances. As you acknowledged for example in your own case the factor that you were the only family member not working or apparently needing to do so, which made the difference in your decison/ability to take care of your FIL. As you can see from other posts, some can handle this kind of a load. And some can't.

It's really sad that there's no national progam of assistance for those who are crushed by the burden of caring for disabled family members. Yet we have billions of dollars to throw away on a senseless war. Such priorities speak volumes about our society.
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:38 PM   #35
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Yes, I would off myself. Follow Guy Waterman's lead, slip off the Window in Big Bend, a gun, or just pills.
Death hath a thousand doors to let out life....
Phew. Guess I'm gonna have to follow up on why my father hasn't answered my last two e-mails...
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:25 AM   #36
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My father suffered a stroke in 2004 and has never been the same. He tells me at least once a week that he wants to die, and it's depressing as hell. He has next to no quality of life mostly because he refuses to be treated for depression and spends most of his days in bed getting weaker and weaker. I think he's falling into dementia which isn't helping. I wouldn't blame him if he found a way to end his life.

If I'm ever in his situation, I'd want the option to say I've had enough.
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Old 04-19-2008, 12:54 PM   #37
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Shoe, I admire your dedication as a caregiver, but I'm afraid that you have confused knowledge with faith. We "know" for example that 2 + 2 = 4. We can also inductively deduce that the sun will rise tomorrow because there's no scientific evidence to the contrary. But there's no objective evidence that God(s) exist(s). That's why belief in a supernatural power is actually faith.

.
Xpat;just my take and we can exchange by PM if you think it would be good for either of us; the proposition from my experience is not that god can be proven by some 2+2=4 logic but that you can understand 2+2=4 or that everything exists at any moment is the miracle/gift/proof of god. God is not subject to logic or irrational but non-rational; prior to or senior to logic.
I'm not very theistic (Episcopal) and just came back from a 3 day Zen retreat but as in 12 step programs I have come to know there is a 'higher power' (I use the term 'abundant source') from which everything, including you & I flow. Some people like Buddhists refuse to use a name and some do (I do) but there are experiences that can resolve this 'question' and provide a source of strength for our journey.
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Old 04-20-2008, 01:07 AM   #38
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Xpat;just my take and we can exchange by PM if you think it would be good for either of us; the proposition from my experience is not that god can be proven by some 2+2=4 logic but that you can understand 2+2=4 or that everything exists at any moment is the miracle/gift/proof of god. God is not subject to logic or irrational but non-rational; prior to or senior to logic.
I'm not very theistic (Episcopal) and just came back from a 3 day Zen retreat but as in 12 step programs I have come to know there is a 'higher power' (I use the term 'abundant source') from which everything, including you & I flow. Some people like Buddhists refuse to use a name and some do (I do) but there are experiences that can resolve this 'question' and provide a source of strength for our journey.

Yakers, I don't think we will need to go the PM route, but I do appreciate the offer and your non-judgmental tone. Just for the record I too was a believer in a higher power, but gradually changed my perspective. As a result I have found that making such personal decisions as refusing to die the slow death of alzheimer's much easier to make.

Even if it were proven that God(s) exist(s), it wouldn't change the fact that people experience and die of horrible diseases and other burdens too great to bear. IMHO that gives us the right to take our own lives rather than put up with suffering that has no hope of relief.
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Old 04-20-2008, 01:32 AM   #39
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We were discussing living will type stuff yesterday. My father informed me that he's planning to off himself when he's not enjoying life any more. Probably with pills, from the sounds of it. He's a retired MD and thus knows enough about pharmacology and ways to get doctors to prescribe the right meds. He also has a 72-hour time limit on ventilators and external pacemakers and such if he suffers a stroke or is in a car accident.

I'm his designated plug-puller if my Mom isn't around, and I told him I'd follow his wishes to the letter even if I'd rather have him stay longer for my sake. What's hard is that situations are probably never as clear-cut as we want them to be.

He did acknowledge that if he starts getting Alzheimer's he may be in the Catch-22 situation of not wanting to live that way but not having the presence of mind to kill himself once it gets bad enough.

It's all very matter of fact with him, and it's very surreal to have those conversations but I really think that each person should have their wishes in that regard respected and that the conversations are necessary for that.

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Old 04-20-2008, 08:39 PM   #40
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"our life is always deeper than we know, is always more divine than it seems, and hence we are able to survive degradations and despairs which otherwise must engulf us."~~william james 1842-1910
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