The Right To Live

23Aug12

We feel compelled to counter the deluge of media coverage of Tony Nicklinsons’ death yesterday by pointing out that even though he had locked in Syndrome he still had alot to live for and was still able to communicate.  He was articulate on the miseries of his life, and anyone who has followed his case will surely have sympathised however let’s remember that much can be achieved even when one is severley disabled which is never mentioned in any of the one sided reports that seem to dominate.

Here we want to remember Jean-Dominique Bauby, French man who also had Locked -in Syndrome after a stroke and wrote a fantastic, bestselling book “The Diving Bell & The Butterfly” which was made into a major film.  Lifesitenews has written about him and Mr Nicklinson,

But is death really the only solution to the dependence and limited possibilities of Mr Nicklinson’s existence? Perhaps it takes an extraordinary person, but even with locked-in syndrome, most people want to live. If the media didn’t suffer from congenital short-term memory loss, journalists would remember a French colleague who was even more locked-in than Tony Nicklinson. Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor of the French edition of Elle when he suffered a massive stroke. He retained his capacity to think and blink (only with his left eye, though).

Crippled as he was, he wrote an international best-seller, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It was a poetic reflection on his dependency which was drenched with mordant humour and utterly devoid of self-pity. Here is he is describing his meals:

“By means of a tube threaded into my stomach, two or three bags of a brownish fluid provide my daily caloric needs. For pleasure I have to turn to the vivid memory of tastes and smells, an inexhaustible reservoir of sensations. Once I was a master of recycling leftovers. Now I cultivate the art of simmering memories. You can sit down to a meal at any hour, with no fuss or ceremony. If it’s a restaurant, no need to call ahead. If I do the cooking, it’s always a success.”

He never mentions euthanasia and barely mentions death



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