Friday, September 12, 2008

I-1000 — It’s Not About Disabilities

Washington State I-1000 Death With Dignity

I am a man with disabilities.

Moving HURTS.

My walking stick has been in my family two generations.

Like many people, I have disabilities you can not see. But the being a gimp thing is pretty damn obvious.

Back before I became a crip, I was a paramedic and a flight medic.

I worked as a paramedic for almost ten years. Houston, Little Rock, Tucson & South Tucson, Oakland, and up in the mountains doing rope work. The videos you see on television of medics going down hoists out of helicopters with red crosses on them, into floods, ravines, and mountains? That was me. I flew all over the western United States in both little prop planes and on high-flying Lear Jets. I worked in big-city inner-city neighborhoods — the ghetto — and I flew above it all as a flight medic. Except for the moments when I dropped in and pulled someone out.

All that is behind me now. Even walking hobbling to the bathroom hurts.

Some people, who claim disabled status, are lying about I-1000, the Death With Dignity initiative. They claim it is a trick to put down folks like me, people with long-term chronic injuries or medical issues. They are liars trying to scare people.

Don’t be fooled.

Death With Dignity has NOTHING to do with people with disabilities. That is a vicious, cruel, dishonorable lie.

I’m going to tell you the truth:

If you’re a cripple or a gimp or a wheelie, or just so hurt you don’t know how you can take it some days, I-1000 doesn’t apply to you AT ALL. Nada. Nicht. Non. Not one fracking bit. The ONLY people Death With Dignity applies to are people who are TERMINALLY ill.

If you have a disease which multiple physicians sign off as fatal, that you’re going to DIE and die soon, then and only then can YOU request a dose. That’s it. It is your call, no one else.

None of this has anything to do with people with disabilities. Not a thing. If you have pain, get a good pain doctor. It’s amazing how much pain can be managed with meds these days. I KNOW. I take pain and associated meds every three to four hours around the clock and have for years. Most of the time they work.

Here’s my point. Pain hurts. Disabilities suck. But Death With Dignity isn’t about people with disabilities. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

Don’t listen to the liars.

Unless what you have is fatal NOW, unless you are dying NOW, Death With Dignity has jack shit to do with you. Because it only applies if you are dying NOW and multiple doctors say so.

In that final moment, I know I want my mother, my children, myself, to be able to be as PRESENT, as AWARE as possible. When death comes — and it is coming, one death to a life, that’s the way it works — I want my eyes to be open so I can watch the transition happen.

Death With Dignity allows this to happen.

The liars would have you believe otherwise. That it has something to do with being a gimp, a cripple, a wheelie, or otherwise a person with a disability. It does not.

Death With Dignity has to do with YOU and the people you love; with being in charge of your life… and your death… when it is time. YOU, and your doctors, and your family, will know when it is time.

Right now it is time, please, to Vote YES on Prop. 1000.

Written for HorsesAss. Cross-posted at Group News Blog.