Tuesday , August 9 2022

Choosing a death: Australian man's story


She is late on Thursday afternoon in Australia but in the Basel city of Switzerland, Troy Thornton rarely scares the last full day of his life.

The Victorian career firefighters will spend spending with a man who met them, Dr Death Australia, Philip Nitschke, who has led an annual campaign on assistant dead laws in Australia.

They spend their last day extending the trail of the Rhine that nests through the medieval city of the north west, before entering the snowstep in the Alps.

At night, Troy and Christine's wife sit for a final supper with a lifelong friend who has been trusted to escort her home safely to her two teenage children.

By that time its ash will be in a urn.

The 54-year-old has not slept well since he arrived in Switzerland less than a week ago, waiting for his date with a late death on Friday, Australia time.

But when he sleeps, his son, Jack, 17, and Laura's 14-year-old, who has broadcast in Australia on Sunday, there in his dreams.

"The hardest thing I've ever had to do is say goodbye to them. He destroyed me," he told AAP, his voice crying out of an incredible disease, covered with stress, emotional trauma and a weak jet .

He was still dealing with the disease of leaving behind with grandparents, on a one-way trip to the one of the euthanasia clinic where Australian scientist David Goodall came to an end in his life last year.

For Goodall, at 104, he was about choosing. He was tired, he said, of being old. He simply did not want to go on, after leaving so many friends and family members. He chose to die on his terms.

And so it was for Troy when he made his own appointment with death, because for him, the alternative was not unsuitable.

He admitted a bizarre mix of thanksgiving, sadness and inevitable fear of presenting his arm to Swiss doctors to administer the deadly injection.

But there is less fear associated with the other option: its choice, dignity and freedom slip due to its disease, multiple system atrophy, ultimately reducing it to "vegetables".

Without any treatments for his disease, not mentioning cure, the 54-year-old did not see his decision to end his life so brave, rather, as pragmatism.

"It's so stunning and sometimes I'm thinking what the hell I'm doing here? Why did we make this decision? But then you'll see what you have and I do not go away. I'm fortunate to be here because the alternative is quite ugly. "

Troy came to an end in Switzerland after realizing that he would not meet the criteria for Victoria-supported voluntary dead laws, which have a full effect this year.

He approved those laws, although they had not been of any assistance to him.

He was unable to find two doctors who would say, with certainty, that his neurosurgery would kill him within 12 months, as a requirement of the Victorian laws.

"Doctors have always told me that you're not dead, you're dead with her. You can live for a long time, but I could add serious disabilities. n become vegetables.

"After a while it's attacking different systems, breathing, swallowing. I'll be able to drown in my own mucus, that's what's happening."

When Troy spoke to AAP he had about 24 hours after living, giving or taking, but he chose to spend one of those hours explaining why Victoria's laws must start and talk about euthanasia in Australia and not the end.

He said the danger that people thought the matter had been resolved, "but the man in the street does not understand that those laws do not help people like me who also suffer. These laws evolve.

"The focus on the terminal is wrong. It's about the right to choose how you die, no matter how old you are, no matter what illness, or do not sickness. If you have a firm thinking – and that's important – you should be able to choose. "

Troy died late Friday, Australia time, with Christine holding his hand. He had said "would be perfect" if his children were, and all his family and friends could also be with him.

"My father, a 85-year-old friend, recently died. He had a whole family there. They watched a foot and died with them all around. Very nice, that's how you want to go out.

"But I'm fortunate to have been my wife here and I'm fortunate to be able to do this. There are so many people who die a pretty bad death because they do not have the way to go to Switzerland. "

In the four years after Troy was diagnosed, he and his family had a lot of time to come to terms with a planned death.

"There's been a lot of grief already. We've prepared, my wife and children they know what's coming," he said.

He added that he could sound like "a little wank" but he thinks he has also calculated the meaning of life, which is coming down to two things.

"The first is a neutron. We are here to spread, to evolve the species, to reproduce. The second one is that you are here to inspire.

"Basically, there are both things that relate to people's relationships and life."

With a number of strangers asking him if they could join him on Friday, Troy said he told them, "the more the fun".

"It's just a good idea to just be humbled by humans when you take your last breath."

Footnote: Troy died deadly in late Friday, Australia time.

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