Over the weekend, a veneer on one of my front teeth, showcasing that fashionable Howdy Doody look:
Fortunately, my awesome dentist was able to cement it on, but why, oh why do these things happen on a Friday??
I had a session today with Kim and was able to ask Erik about the situation in Cuba and even talk to Fidel Castro. Very interesting interview. I’ll try to post it as a YouTube Wednesday. Meanwhile, enjoy the last part on our Euthanasia series.
Kim: Just real quick. He’s reminding me of a patient that I used to have. She was my age. I went to her house and did home health on her. Long story short, she had gastric bypass surgery that was botched. She had been opened up from the belly button to the chest over ten times.
Kim: She had her internal organs rerouted, so she was suffering terribly. She was losing her vision because she couldn’t keep her food down, and her body couldn’t absorb [nutrients.] So it actually got really, really bad. I’ll spare you the details. She’s a person who could have definitely and wanted to be euthanized. She’s someone who has since passed.
Erik: She would have been a great candidate.
Erik: Because we know, looking at her, that it wasn’t going to get better. She had been permanently damaged, and it was causing a lot of negativity in the family. So sometimes, Mom, this can be a ticket to a more positive experience, knowing that she’s not going to have to suffer anymore.
Me: It could be a lesson in compassion for the family and friends.
Erik: Exactly, and compassion isn’t always easy to give. Compassion has to be outside of your standards and expectations. It has to be an unconditional thing. Even if it can be difficult to lose a loved one, it’s more difficult to watch them suffer.
Me: Oh, yeah.
Erik: In general, euthanasia is not just a quick fix.
Kim: He’s being really blunt about that.
Erik: There’s a lot you have to think about when you’re considering it.
Kim: Will it ever be legal everywhere? Will it be a service like a self-referral thing?
Erik (shaking his head): No.
Kim: He’s not explaining or elaborating.
Me: How do you think it ought to be done. For example, I think in some countries you can undergo euthanasia if you have two doctors sign off on it. Should we have things like that? What safeguards should be in place to make sure euthanasia is done to the people who are good candidates for it?
Erik: Oncologists, musculoskeletal specialists and a variety of other types of doctors who have taken time to look at the case should decide whether to sign off on it or not.
Kim: So he’s saying a whole group of different healthcare providers ought to be involved.
Me: Okay, one last question. You know, sometimes depression like bipolar disease is a terminal one, and in your case it was. You sort of euthanized yourself.
I feel sick inside thinking about it.
Me: Do you think euthanasia in your case was proper?
Erik: Yeah, Mom, you’re right when you said, “You euthanized yourself.” You’re right.
Kim: It’s interesting you say that because he’s kind of equating it to that in the beginning. It’s kind of similar to the way Erik passed away with the thought of suicide.
Erik: For me, Mom, if there had been easy access [to euthanasia] I would have sought that out because, it may have been difficult, but it would have also been less traumatic and experience.
Erik: For people with depression, anxiety and debilitating bipolar disease, this would be something to consider if and only if –because some people have phases where, “When I was 20 to 25, I suffered terribly, and now I’ve kind of grown out of it, moved on or healed.” But if you look back and you’ve always struggled—
Kim: He’s just talking about what security measures we should put in place for euthanasia for people with mental illness.
Erik: If it’s a longstanding history of suffering—
Me: And you’ve tried EVERYTHING.
Erik: Yeah. Even people who have attempted suicide, this would be a security measure to look at and say, “Okay, they’ve had a longstanding illness.”
Kim: In fact, I just spoke to a lady yesterday who said, “Don’t call the cops on me, but I’m thinking about [suicide.]” And she has access to things to exit this world, and Erik was giving her guidance.
Erik: I want to put emphasis on the fact that it’s not something to be frowned upon, but humans do. No matter who it is, even if it’s a perfect stranger, would you rather have them live their whole life crippled with fear and anxiety or depression and they’re tried medicines but they don’t work?
Me: But you never know what the future holds. For example, now they give ketamine infusions to treat depression. Maybe that would have worked on you.
Erik: It would have.
Me: So that’s my problem. If you wait long enough—or an Ayahuasca experience might have helped. There are certain things that could have helped that might have prevented you from euthanizing yourself.
Me: But then we wouldn’t have your wisdom as we do now. I guess.
Kim: That’s true.
Erik: It depends on how exotic people are willing to get with wanting to help and cope.
Whatever works! I’d have tried anything to save him.
Erik: So everything you recommended, the infusions and the Ayahuasca, would be huge for people if they’d consider it, but including myself, when people get into that zone with anxiety, depression, bipolar disease and even schizophrenia, they get agitated and fearful, and they want to fix it the way they want. So they get really attached to ideas like suicide.
Kim: He’s showing someone trying to recommend Ayahuasca to somebody, but the person goes, “Well, I’m suffering, and this is the only way out.”
Erik: So, it’s really hard to introduce that to people, but I’d highly recommend it, especially Ayahuasca because it can be extremely life-changing for so many people if it’s done right.
I’m thinking, ‘Why didn’t I offer this to him.’ Sigh.
Me (choking up): Well, thank you guys, and Erik, I’m sorry that you’re gone from this world but I’m so glad to have you in that world. Thank you, Kim, for being his voice.
Kim: Of course. It’s my pleasure.
Erik: Mom, I’m always here. I’m here in your world too, just in a different way. You know that.
Me: I know.
Sessions like this one remind me that I’m still not over his death.
Erik takes a bow and blows me a kiss.
Kim: He’s giving you a lot of love and gratitude, and he’s giving a warm greeting to his brother.
Me: Oh, okay! I’ll let him know!