Mcleans Mag                     April 26, 2014-04-25


Re: Potential future issue on the on-going Organ Donor shortage &  Right-to-die debates in Canada


Written to my family, in regards to the acute shortage of organs in Canada AND the Right-to-Die debate.


Heart Gift

If the headline reads - “Grandfather dies saving grandchild from death by drowning!” he’s a hero; so I don’t really understand and can’t accept when peers don’t grasp the concept that we should be able to demand the right-to-die in order to pass on a perfectly good heart to a daughter or sons if theirs was shot & the tissue was a match and there was no transplant available - as is still often the case today in Canada. I can only attribute their reticence to this concept because they haven’t lived as much as they’d hoped to and still have a bucket list to experience.

I can’t imagine at my age of 62 and moving on, standing over any child of mine or grandchild watching them die when my heart was just going to allow me to continue to live and experience another decade or more, knowing from that point on I’d be filled with the heartache of loss.

I’ve taken very good care of my liver, kidneys, and other critical organs and would certainly pass on at least those to my own kids and theirs if the need arose but the heart should be part of that package so they’d have many more decades to live versus my last decades. Certainly when my grandkids bodies are large enough to be able to successfully carry any of my organs, heart included, I should have the right to donate so they might live. That should be an absolute given.

It’s not that I don’t love life; I still wake every day early and embrace it; I adore life, and live it fully daily but I’d want my kids and theirs to spend at least as long as I have done loving life as much as I have loved it. It’s hard for many folks to understand, because they’ve not yet lived enough.

Teeth & Molars                        As a very small example, a couple of years ago I finally got an appointment at UBC Dental Surgery to have a molar implant. The school has taken care of my alumni teeth regularly since I retired. My lower back molar was cracked in three (rugby eh!) and had to come out. Then my son said he’d had an infected molar yanked while working up in Fort McMurray. I immediately asked UBC to consider giving him my spot. They did, and voila - he had a beautiful, tough, more carefree, implanted molar which should be around many years longer than it would have been with me. Makes complete and total logical sense eh!? A no brainer eh!

Not The Way It’s Done!                        OMG! What? Whenever other folks suggest things aren’t done a certain way, I sometimes wonder where they’ve been hiding. There are so many ways we Boomers have changed the society of our grandparents; and too many of those ways are not for the better. In general: we no longer know nor take care of elderly neighbours - we don’t shovel their walks of snow and recently we’ve found out we couldn’t possibly stop by daily, to offer to pick up their mail from pending Canada Post Superboxes. Oh no! - Don’t stop our daily delivery! We can’t handle that! We don’t keep our home temperature at a reasonably sustainable 15 degrees and wear a sweater indoors like they did. Hanging clothes to dry on a line like they did is too much work. We don’t walk and take public transit nearly as much as they did. We eat far more sugar and fatty processed food and are far less fit than they were, now breaking the national bank when it comes to escalating health-care costs and sugar related Alzheimer’s disease. The list of ways we have changed their society is endless.

Yes, we don’t do things the way they did. We simply accept that society changes. So why is it we find it so difficult to accept that those who choose to, should have a right-to-die on their own terms? Are we really so incredibly selfish?

Embrace Life to Die           
I embrace life fully every day and I will continue to do so, but I encourage others to start today to wake early and get lots done so that they have no end of life bucket list and then end up fearing death when its time approaches on the down-slide.


Empty Bucket List            Unlike too many of my typical Boomer peers who now scramble to cram their last years with experiences they missed having chosen to sit in front of TV or drink relatively in excess and sleep through too much of life - my bucket list now remains near empty. I don’t need to be - jumping out of any more planes, romping white-water rivers, or scuba diving yet again. I’ll not be backpacking, or motorcycling or camper van-ing through any more exotic places. I’ve seen and experienced more than my fair share of my grandkid’s world, something they may never be able to do with climate change / global warming.


My bucket list now consists of helping teach grandkids to help out with home renovations and to hoe, plant, prune and harvest home food garden; to tool and craft leather and wood and perhaps teach them to sail, canoe or kayak.


Hey “God” - Slightly Used – Good Condition            Having taken relatively excellent care of the body and all of the organs I was gifted by the earth mother creator I should now be able to do with them as I choose.  I am not personally bound by any dogmatic religious constraints. My society’s laws should not be constrained by them either. The separation of state and religion should not only be by law as it in fact is, but also by sentiment - unconstrained by bias as in that of fundamentalist evangelical religious types - e.g. Prime Minister Stephen Harper et al who might take to heart their own ‘lords’ dictate – “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for another”.


When I come to what feels like the end of my naturally worthwhile, healthful life I should be able to choose what to do with that well cared for body and all of its parts. If my grandkids or my children do not need those parts then I should be able to donate them as I see fit. I should have, under Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a Right-to-die on my own terms.


Doctors who do not agree with ending an old life so that a young one may live, need not - simple as that. But neither should they tell other doctors who see it as a viable and logical extension of their Hippocratic Oath.



The Right to Die must be enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms


a ’twampa / Grandpa (age 62 - 2012)