29 April 2014


My partner is 91 and I am 87. We are very fortunate in many respects, mainly concerning our physical and mental health.
We do not own a car and are fortunate enough to own our own house which we maintain in reasonable order - it doesn't get cleaned and vacuumed as much or as often as it probably needs - but it is tidy and clean enough so that when people visit us the house does not resemble a pig sty!

We do our own cooking and don't get any help for anything around the house including the garden, which is small, and when the grass needs mowing - which with our drought conditions doesn't happen as often as it used to when we moved to Melbourne from New South Wales 13 years ago - friends had given us an electric mower as a house warming gift and it has been a fantastic help!

The tram to the city is two corners away, there are two buses down the road, and if we need to, a train to the city is within a 25-minute walk from the house.

We have a post box at a post office which is now about 30 minutes' walk away - it used to be about 20 minutes in the old days! - and Preston Market is about a 25 minute walk each way and we do most of our food and grocery shopping once a week there - with a shopping trolley!

So, why worry about euthanasia?

Well, because we are the ages we now are, we have seen many friends and relatives dying of diseases which have caused untold pain and suffering and they have often died agonising deaths in terrible situations.

In the 1990s, when the AIDS epidemic was still at its height, we were both carers for people living with, and dying from AIDS-related diseases which were horrifying and frightening to witness - and to be part of the caring process for.

We are also aware that many doctors treating these patients were often in despair over how to alleviate the suffering of so many - mostly young - people at the time - mostly in their twenties and thirties - and when matters became desperate for the doctors and the patients, the patients often requested - and were helped with - euthanasia in one form or another.

At that time, from the mid 1980s to about 1997 when multiple therapies became available and converted inevitable death into a chronic but liveable condition, dozens of people with AIDS asked for and were given medications to hasten death.

If the people involved in these situations at the time had been prosecuted on the grounds of euthanasia - doctors, nurses, friends, relatives - the courts would have been over-crowded and the legal bills would have been inordinately large.

Authorities knew what was happening and chose to turn a blind eye to the events occurring virtually on a daily basis at the time.

We don't know what will happen to us in the time left to us, but we have done our best, under existing laws, to cover our requirements at the end of life period with such items as legal and medical powers of attorney and our requirements when life quality becomes unbearable and we feel we have had enough and don't want to suffer any longer.

We want euthanasia to be an option available to people in our circumstances and we support Dr Rodney Syme and Dying With Dignity Victoria and similar organisations and practitioners throughout the country.

Our politicians are cowards, and none have the guts to treat this matter as urgent and immediate.


Euthanasia Part 1

and links to the following parts: 2,3,4,5,6,7,8

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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm