How To Die In Oregon

Seen this documentary on HBO yet? I watched it tonight and it is a documentary about people who choose how and when to end their own life once their disease has reached a painful threshold. Powerful stuff. It’s hard to watch it all the way through because you get to know the main character, Cody Curtis - a 54 year old wife and mother, so well that you do not want to see the ending. Although the ending is handled in a very classy way.

As one person put it: “It may seem like a movie about dying, but it’s very much a movie about living”. I couldn’t agree more.

When my time comes, give me some Seconal.

I’ve always loved Oregon’s progressive attitude towards Death with Dignity. I’m sure the health insurance companies would get on board with it; the life insurance folk, not so much.

I caught this film at Sundance this year. It’s an amazing film and Cody Curtis was a strong and compelling woman. I really don’t know how she managed to put her soul on camera with all the trials and tribulations she went through. I sure hope I have a chance to off myself in a dignified and painless fashion when the time comes. I’m hoping to get a similar law passed in California.

Cody was indeed amazing (as was her family) and the movie wasn’t at all heavy-handed.

Some observations:

I didn’t have much sympathy for the guy with the great voice. I wondered what was going on in his life that made him choose death over losing his voice box. Maybe his voice was all he had going for him, and that was more sad to me than his illness.

Did Cody’s hairdresser not realize how ill she was? Asking her about holiday plans that were months away?

When Cody confessed to the Compassion counselor that she worried that she’d be “cowardly” when the time came, what did she mean? That she’d be afraid to take the Seconal? Or did she mean “cowardly” as deciding to continue treatment in hopes of living awhile longer? I didn’t understand what she meant and I’m not sure the counselor did either.

I was surprised to learn that a patient wouldn’t be allowed the Seconal if they couldn’t administer it to themselves. If you’re so sick that you can’t lift a glass to your mouth, you can’t take it. :frowning:

I hope Cody’s husband was holding her hand when she died. What a remarkable woman.

So the answer isn’t dysentery?

You know you’re an old gamer when…

I totally came in to make that joke. :frowning:

Well, not just dysentery: History of 19th Century Oregon

I have a friend who’s aunt took that way out. A few months ago she was feeling tired and achy all the time. When she went to the doctor, they found it was cancer. Cancer everywhere; bones, lymph nodes, lungs, everywhere. She could either waste her husband’s money (who is also in poor health due to a back injury) on hospital bills to live another 3 to 6 months in agony, or take the Seinfeld way out; go out at the top of her game. She chose assisted suicide. I’d never known anyone that had done that before.

I cannot see this movie. I will bawl.

Anyone know why Seconal is used? From the movie’s description of the process, the patient quickly slips into a coma but it might take a long time (days) to die. Why not use something else? Would morphine work better?

Just a WAG, but I would assume a decent percentage of these patients are in chronic pain and are probably on a high dose of morphine or a similar narcotic. Cody was using something like 100 mg/hr for her pain near the end, so I would guess it was going to take a lot of morphine to actually kill her, which may make it ineffective as a suicide drug.

I totally got sucked into this movie the other night and it kept me up until 1 AM (normal bedtime is 10:30! It was very hard to watch, but I couldn’t look away, either.

I really felt for the widow who was fighting to get the law passed in Washington. You could tell she was using it as a way to postpone the grieving process…as long as she had that fight, she didn’t have to think about the fact that her beloved was gone and she was alone (they didn’t appear to have children). So tragic, all of it.

Cody was awesome. Did anybody else have false hopes that maybe, just maybe, she would live? She went so long past her “due date” I couldn’t help thinking it even though I really knew it wouldn’t work out that way.

All those people are so brave…I don’t know if I could do the same in their shoes. It just goes against human instinct…usually we fight to the last breathe to keep life. I’m sure it’s one of those things, though, that you can’t know unless you’ve been there. Knock wood I never have to find out.