Lecretia's Choice by Matt Vickers

Lecretia's Choice by Matt Vickers

Author:Matt Vickers
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: The Text Publishing Company
Published: 2016-08-29T04:00:00+00:00

Andrew replied to Lecretia, and they had a long discussion about it, but made no firm commitments. She emailed him again:

Thanks for talking to me today. I’ve spoken to my GP, who would be willing to assist me if granted immunity from prosecution for aiding suicide.

I should say that I am nowhere near the point where I would want assistance to die, but it would be a comfort to know it was available should things become too awful.

Lecretia was interviewed in early March on Radio New Zealand. I helped her dress and took her to the studio. Once she was collected at reception, I went out to the car to find a better park. It took me fifteen minutes to find one, and I remember listening to the radio as I did so, and hearing my wife’s voice as she began talking about her beliefs and why she was campaigning for change. Her conviction and her self-belief were unmistakable. What she was saying was coming straight from the heart. She really wanted to have the choice to be assisted to die, and she sensed a great injustice.

Lecretia was asked about the Canadian court decision, which had happened less than a month ago, and whether a similar decision could be reached in New Zealand. Lecretia replied that one could.

She still wasn’t sure about taking the case, as her health was continuing to get worse. After three rounds of chemotherapy, with no beneficial effects, the oncologist could offer no further treatment. Though Lecretia seemed willing to accept this, her mother and I pleaded with the oncologist for other options, but after treatment Lecretia’s white blood cell count was dangerously low, and it had to recover before we could look at anything else. For the time being, all treatment, except for anti-seizure medication and steroids for swelling, had ceased.

Later in March, we headed south to Christchurch to catch up with Cate for an evening. The next day we drove to Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island, to go whale-watching. We stayed in a lodge just north of the town, and had a beautiful spacious room in the main building. We were up some steps, but they were shallow enough for Lecretia to ascend them. We ate dinner at the lodge, and it occurred to me how normal things were when we sat down together like this. The only assistance she needed was for me to cut her food up for her, so that she could manage with a fork in her right hand. Her left hand could no longer grasp one.

‘I’m going to take this case,’ she said. She had talked about it with me before, but speculatively, as though weighing up the pros and cons. But clearly she’d made a decision now.

‘Babe, are you sure? Do you really want to put yourself through this?’

‘Someone has to do it. Besides, it’s really interesting. New Zealand hasn’t had a case like this before.’

‘I understand why you need to speak to the media to raise the profile of the issue.


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