My life, my choice
I still recall Troy Thornton's sad story in The Standard earlier this year about how he had to go to Switzerland to die with dignity. So I am encouraged that Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation is finally available in Victoria but the ability to die with dignity will still not be accessible to many terminally ill people. Troy stated in the article "I didn't want my kids or wife Chris to remember me stripped bare: without dignity, without control over my body, a paralysed shell of the man I once was". This is similar to the last memories I have of my mum and dad. Watching people you love wasting away in pain with no chance of recovery and the hopelessness you feel when their misery cannot be ended is absolutely horrid.
My mum had a good active life until she had a major stroke. She also deserved to die with dignity. Within three days of her stroke, we were informed she had no swallow function, had significant paralysis and no chance of a recovery. It was suggested she could be force fed to prolong her life (and hope for a "Jesus Cure"). The forced feeding would only be for a limited time and then be removed and the dying process would recommence. My family declined the option, we thought mum was already suffering enough and didn't want to prolong the inevitable. Mum had also provided instructions she was not to be resuscitated. After 10 days she hadn't spoken a word, could not inform anyone if she was in pain, was in and out of consciousness and was slowly starving to death. Twenty days after her stroke, mum died, starved to death. You'd get locked up if you did this to a dog (and deservedly so). Also she would have hated her death, the additional pain caused to her family, the waste of resources and the medical staff's time spent on her instead of helping people with a future life. The concern I have with the Assisted Dying Legislation is that it would not have helped end my mum's suffering. As it is written, you have to have decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying, be diagnosed with a disease, illness or medical condition that is incurable, advanced, progressive and will cause death, and is expected to cause death within less than 12 months; and be experiencing suffering that cannot be relived in a manner that the person considers tolerable. I understand that there needs to be sufficient regulation in this bill that stops inappropriate accessing of the legislation but the rules are too restrictive and a lot of terminally ill people will continue to have to suffer. This is not good enough, I want the ability to decide when and under which circumstances I can end my life if my quality of my life is gone. This I consider my right, not something that is to be dictated by politicians or religion groups. My life, my choice. My thanks to the medical staff who looked after my parents, especially the doctor who administered morphine at the end to my dad, you are a saint.
lan Baum, Dennington
I was shocked and surprised to find the planting on the Sackville Street roundabout in Port Fairy has been pulled up and replaced with stones. Why? Well chosen planting can have a good effect on the micro climate of built up places, cooling in summer, and softening the wind in winter. These patches of stone will have the opposite effect and take away from the character of the town. Port Fairy does not have enough street trees and the few we have are regularly butchered by Powercor. We need more plantings, not less.
Clare Atkins, Port Fairy
Living, as we do, in a community that teaches its learning drivers to ignore the rules that govern roundabouts and to blindly give way to the right regardless, I suppose there's a perverse reasoning behind the council's decision to introduce roundabout rules that are different to almost all other areas on Victoria. Added confusion to an already confused situation? It's hoped the reduced methane from landfill that should result from council's applaudible decision to introduce the FOGO initiative will be enough to counter the increased pollution caused by idling vehicles that are banked up at our roundabouts. Makes the town look busy though.
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool
Save the trees
In a recent article you reported a local resident bemoaned the loss of his view from a carpark and referred to a blocking tree as a 'monstrosity'. I have nothing against this man or his complaint but I was deeply disturbed by the term he used because it reflects an attitude that all too many of us hold. That 'monstrosity' he referred to was a living thing that has a beauty all of its own. I can recall many times in my life when I found solace in the beauty of a tree or a simple flower. Once it was a leafed branchlet that I held in my hand for what seemed like hours as I recovered from one of the 'outrages of fortune'. There is so much loving beauty in this world despite what we do to it. I always wonder why people have to spend so much resources and time flying across across the world to 'see the view' when there is so much to see in their own garden. Truly 'we have given our hearts away' as Wordsworth said. Yes, the view of the sea is wonderful and may we always enjoy it. But let's get out of our cars, hold nature in our hands and reflect on all the wonders that surround us. We need it.
Jim Williams, Warrong
Winter is here with a vengeance as ferocious storms eat away our shore lines! Undermining pretty Briton bathing boxes, shore line collapse along Tasmanian losing 30 metres from heavy seas, Queensland shore copping a pounding, Sydney with their beach front elite homes are in trouble. And close hand Moyne shire is frantically building a temporary stone wall to stop the sea devouring the old tip sight, will it stop the September gales?
But have we forgotten the 1946 floods where the fishing boats tired up to the Norfolk Island pines in front of the old court house now history house. As I remember in 1967 when I arrived there was a water mark half way up the old Stump wall, as James Street was flooded and look where folks have built houses now. Don't blame Moyne if you are in the flood plain, it is on records at the shire.
Climate change believers; should you not give people a gentle reminder by knitting pole warmers and slide them up power poles in Port Fairy. One for the height of the last flood and one for climate warning, get this viral!
Robert Rowley, Illowa
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