Tag Archives: Choices

Tony Nicklinson – Why Won’t You Let Me Die?

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Tony and His Wife Jane

Tony Nicklinson was a British Man who suffered from a stroke in 2005, and since then had suffered with locked-in syndrome aged 51. He was unable to move or communicate with any part of his body, other than his eyes. However, like you and me, he was completely awake and aware.

In 2010, Tony’s legal team sought guidance about assisted suicide as British law states anyone who assists suicide will be prosecuted. His case reached the High Court in March 2012 and on 12 August 2012 Tony was denied his right to die.

Tony was the vice-chairman of the Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union before his stroke and was described as an outgoing and confident person with a busy and active social and family life. He was a husband and father of two.

We can communicate with others, confide in them, share our adventures and explore the world. In his High Court case, Tony described his life as ‘dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable’. Can you imagine being stripped of your dignity? Not being able to feed yourself, wash yourself, or scratch an itch? Much like a baby, except the inability to grow out of it.

Please excuse the comparison, but would it be appropriate to treat an animal in such way? In 2005 when Tony called for an ambulance, he unknowingly made a choice. He chose to live. He chose to do this because he had a life worth living. He also chose to die with the assistance of a doctor. This was not just a choice but a right which was wrongly taken away from him after years of being trapped in his own body. Tony stated that if he had known what his life would become when he had had that stroke, he would not have called an ambulance, but died then. He had the right to die then, but not now?

Who has the right to say who lives and dies? These men in suites who broke the heart of man by taking away the only choice he had left in life? He clearly felt that quality of life was far more important than quantity of life. The Courts do not have to live with this decision but Tony would for what could have been up to 20 more years of his life. Why not allow him to die on his own terms when he had already made piece with his decision and his choice to die?

Tony had ruled out going to Switzerland to end his life and wished for his wife to have no hand in the process. There was also no guarantee that whoever assisted him would not be prosecuted.

In June 2012, Tony sent his first tweet (@TonyNicklinson) using eye movement technology. He could only ‘speak’ with his wife, spelling out words letter by letter by winking at a letter board. “Hello world. I am tony nicklinson, I have locked-in syndrome and this is my first ever tweet. #tony.” He gained thousands of followers and much needed support.

After Tony received the High Court’s decision, he lost hope and became severely depressed. He refused medication and refused to eat. Why wasn’t he forced to eat? I don’t think they had the ‘right’ to. Tony became weak and contracted pneumonia. On the 22 August 2012, Tony died in his home in Wiltshire, aged 58.

As the saying goes, if you can’t find a reason to live, then find one to die for. Tony’s finally tweet: ‘Goodbye world the time has come, I had some fun’

I sincerely hope Tony has found solace wherever he is after these horrific years since his stroke. My thoughts are with his family. X

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Is University The Right Choice?

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With university tuition fees tripling from £3,000 to £9,000 per year beginning this academic year, is it necessarily the ‘right’ route to take? Due to the pressures of society to enter university, it may seem so over apprenticeships and other educational opportunites which aren’t seen as equal value.

When I was at college, university was seemed as the only option. Any other route seemed like a lesser or not as worthy of an option than continuing in full time education. Yesterday was 2 years from my dreaded A level results day and the only thing I was adamant about was that I didn’t want to go to university and that due to my lack of revision, I wouldn’t be getting the straight As I probably could have.

I went on to do an apprenticeship and I’ve still not a clue what I want to do with my life and I consider whether I would have been better off going to university. Of course there would have been the joy of moving away (probably to London) making new friends, and getting drunk on a regular basis! I would be a poor student but would I have a clearer vision of what I wanted to do if I was living that life right now?

If I did, I would be in my third year of university as of September/October this year, but when I think of that, all that comes to mind is that revision is not my friend but that it doesn’t sound too bad considering I’m leaving my house at 7.40am, 5 days a week for work.

Students all over the UK are currently pondering whether they’ll be able to pay off their monstrous tuition fees in three years time and if they will be able to secure their dream job, or even any job for that matter, in the current economic climate. That’s what university has become about as it is not free as it used to be all those years ago, it is more of a worry rather than the joy of a new incredible chapter of your life.

I am grateful that by the end of the next academic year I won’t be in a mountain of debt and have to worry about soaring interest rates. But I wonder whether I’m missing out on 3 incredible years or if I would be just as unhappy as I am about my current situation.

I don’t think university is necessarily the answer unless you know what you want to study, and what use you degree will really be. I am not dismissing that it is essential to go the university if you want to go into certain professions but I do know many people who have gone to university not because they wanted to, but didn’t want to get a job and decided to put it off for a few years.

But I can’t say university is right or wrong as it depends on the individual.  I do know university is not the only way, it just seems like an extremely popular way – a critical piece of information which is missing in today’s society as many people fear of being different. Some very successful people didn’t go to university e.g. Alan Sugar, Steve Jobs, Jamie Oliver etc.

This article prompted me to write this post.

Something I am certain of is that I’ve been at work for 2 hours and I should get on with my job and stop blogging….

Stuff Happens

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Have you ever wondered why we are who we are and what control we really have over our lives? Recently I have been doing just that.

Some people believe that everything happens for a reason and they chose to live their lives by this mantra believing there is some big reason why a certain event in their life occurred. I can’t justify this. To me, that is like saying our lives are already set out for us and we are just a small part of a big story.

There are a lot of reasons why we are who we are but to say something was ‘meant to be’ seems ineffable. We can’t choose the era which we are born into, our families, or where we are brought up. These things are not optional but do these things define who we are?

I like to think that it is our choices that define us more than our abilities or where we come from. And that we do have a choice in who we are and what we do with our lives. We are all responsible for our own actions but not necessarily everything that happens in our lives. We meet people. Stuff Happens.

Maybe we just need one of these to get on with our day….

Cup Of Courage