Ottawa-area man blogs about his medical assistance in dying
People take to social media for many reasons: to talk about their families or post about their travels. But a Kemptville-area man is chronicling the end of his life as he pursues medical assistance in dying.
It's called Don's Journey. Don Kent is 56 years old, recently retired from electronics design and recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is thankful for Canada's new law that will allow him to end his life if his pain becomes unbearable.
Kent and his wife should be planning a future together, after retiring a few years ago and should be planning another trip to Florida.
Instead, he is planning his death.
“I want to avoid as much pain as possible particularly as the ending is a foregone conclusion,” he says, through a speech-assisted device.
Kent was diagnosed with terminal cancer in January.
This once very social man can no longer eat, drink and most importantly for him, can no longer speak.
“And my current life is very limited socially,” he says.
But he can write and so he starting blogging about his diagnosis and his decision to pursue medical assistance in dying.
"Statistically, I have six months to one year to live" he writes in one blog, "At the time of writing, the date is February 1, 2018. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock..."
“He wants to share what he's experiencing, what he's learning,” says Susan Desjardins, with the Ottawa chapter of Dying with Dignity, “He's putting a human face on the process and helping others to understand why people might make that choice.”
The federal bill allowing access to medical assistance in dying was passed in June of 2016. Since then, more than 1-thousand people in Ontario have requested it, according to statistics from the Ontario Coroner’s office. There have been almost an equal number of men as women, ranging in age from the 20’s to 104, with the vast majority, like Don Kent dealing with cancer, followed by neurological illnesses.
Don Kent has just started the formal process for MAID and just started writing about it. How long does he plan to blog?
“Until the end,” he says.
"My nurse indicated that the death is very peaceful and pain free,” he writes in his blog, “Family can be present and music can be playing. I'd like the Deep Purple song "Child in Time" to play while I pass. Crank it up, please!”
As Don points out, medical assistance in dying gives him an option. He may not even use it but it's there, he says, if things “go south.”