I was listening to the radio the other day as I got ready for work and they started talking about Dignitas, the assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland. I can't remember exactly why it was in the news, but it was probably the same reason as it's always in the news: individuals seeking legal clarification that they wouldn't be arrested for assisting a suicide on their return from Switzerland if they had accompanied their partner to the clinic to end their life.
Maybe I'm imagining things, but it seems to me that the examples they pick always seem to be people whose lives have been touched by multiple sclerosis. Debbie Purdy is probably the most famous example: she has MS and has been campaigning for clarification of this law for many years as she wants to be certain that her husband will not face prosecution for helping his disabled wife travel to Dignitas in Switzerland to end her own life (I've written about this before). Purdy's MS is probably less relevant to the coverage of her case than the fact that she is the person taking it to court.... but as I listened to the radio the other day, the guy who they brought on to talk about it was someone who had helped his wife travel to the clinic several months before so that she could kill herself. His wife had MS.
Perhaps I'm being over-sensitive.
I have MS, and I'm fully aware of my possible outcomes. I know that MS can reach a point where the disability is so overwhelming that you do not want to go on. I also know that lots of other people with MS - lots more people - live full and happy lives.
I know that. You probably know that.... but according to every single news report that I have seen on the subject, MS is a disease so awful that you will want to kill yourself. If you have MS, then your life is all downhill from here. MS will strip you of your mobility, your dignity and then it will kill you or make you want to take your own life.
Not true. Certainly not true for everyone.
I'm living with MS, and this sort of casual coverage of MS exasperates me.... (just as it exasperates me that Dr Gregory House can apparently diagnose MS on someone serving him in the hospital canteen and then fix them with an infusion of interferon.... just like that... so why the hell did my diagnosis in real life take 4 years again?). Imagine how would you might feel if you read this sort of drip-feed coverage about something you have just been diagnosed with?
Big topic, short rant.
Watch this and feel calm again. This beautiful, positive film about living with MS makes me well up a bit every single time I watch it. It's less than 5 minutes long, so do please enjoy.