Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Weekend & Some Heavy Thoughts

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

How are things going with you?

I'm doing okay. I've had a fairly bad cold all week but I'm feeling a bit better now. I've gone out here and there to pick up a parcel at the post office and to do a bit of food shopping. I also tried valiantly but unsuccessfully to reach the car insurance place. Basically I'm returning their call about physiotherapy treatments. I'll have to try again next week.

On Friday night DH and I went off to see the new Black Panther movie, Wakanda Forever. It was quite touching in parts and beautifully done. However I still think the first Black Panther movie a few years ago was a tighter story line and I enjoyed it so much.  Don't get me wrong though. The new movie is worth watching; especially if you've seen the first installment. There are some new characters who add a lot of depth. The movie is very long at 2.5 hours and I'm glad we went to a showing that was in early evening. The movie ends in such a way as to anticipate more movies in future.


Other than errands, shopping and a movie, I spent the weekend trying to get some rest and worked on a financial project I've had in mind for months. I've been saving all my food receipts for the last 6 months and wanted to input them all into a spreadsheet.  I finally did it and it was a real eye opener it was as to exactly how much money was spent on groceries.  It's astronomical  It's also interesting to see how the spending progressed every month due to the rampant inflation and whether shopping at different stores made a difference in stretching the dollars. I also started waiting a few extra days to a week to buy something we ran out of and stopped buying things altogether if they were too expensive. Food costs were extremely high in June and July.  Shopping around and delayed purchases made a big difference in September ($200 + savings) and an even bigger difference in October ($350 savings).

I'll be keeping track of all expenses, not just food expenses, for the rest of the year and possibly beyond.  But hopefully I won't procrastinate about inputting receipt information in future.  You can  imagine that it took some time to organize all the receipts and put them in order before I started inputting the data. Tracking the household income and spending will help DH and I with planning our budgets an setting our short-term and long-term financial goals.

Besides daily routines, I watched a very limited amount of television this weekend. Instead I spent some time talking to a relative and a long time friend who is going through a dark time. His life has completely changed over the past year because he developed some kind of spinal problem and can no longer stand up or walk.  Physiotherapy hasn't helped and he no longer wants to live so he's been exploring Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). He's always been a person who experiences a lot of emotional upheaval and various problems and over time his life has become harder and harder mainly due to physical challenges and health issues. 

It's hard to be a friend to someone who wants to die and talks often about dying.  I really don't believe he wants to die but I do know he hates living in a wheelchair. I know that whatever I say will not change his mind and I no longer offer advice or try to talk him out of what he says he wants to do. I don't believe in taking one's own life with medical assistance except in the very rarest of circumstances.  But sadly it's become quite common in Canada and especially in my province for people to end their lives with the help of medical professionals. Recently this option was expanded to include those with mental health problems. I remember hearing about euthanasia as a child. At my tender years I wondered how a society could legalize dying yet here we are now in my country doing the same thing. How did we ever get to this point as a society?

I do understand when some people no longer want to live but the numbers just seem far too high in Canada.  These days there are so many people falling through the cracks of society and the disabled and mentally ill are particularly vulnerable. If they only had adequate supports (housing, food, therapy) I think a lot of them would not consider dying early as an option though there will still be some that want to choose their time and place. Medical assistance in dying (MAID) has gotten so popular as an option despite being an option for a short time in Canada. MAID was enacted in June 2016.

Data shows that 10,064 people died in 2021 with medical aid, an increase of 32 per cent over 2020. The report says that 3.3 per cent of all deaths in Canada in 2021 were assisted deaths. On a provincial level, the rate was higher in provinces such as Quebec, at 4.7 per cent, and British Columbia, at 4.8 per cent.

MAID Requests and Outcomes (CANADA), 2019 to 2021

I've been thinking of the MAID issue because the subject was featured on television recently due to the expansion of the laws.  Obviously too, with my friend having applied for MAID (I don't know if he heard anything about his application yet) I paid attention to the broadcast. I was alarmed at the high numbers and the fact that Canada's euthanasia numbers have soared so quickly in comparison to the Netherlands, the first country to legalize euthanasia. However, I did a quick google search and found that the numbers of applications and deaths in the Netherlands has also dramatically risen over the past several years. and doubled from 2002 to 2009. It's a sad state to think so many want to end their lives.

Obviously there are many people who are greatly struggling and governments are under pressure to respond to public demands. In Canada, the MAID issue came about due to some very sick people advocating all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada for their right to die and others who lobbied politically. Now that the government has responded and met their demands, it seems like they are getting a bit carried away by expanding the laws to make it easier for the mentally ill to get MAID.  I'm greatly concerned about the future. We've already had a veteran  being asked by a Veteran's Affairs employee if they considered MAID when what they needed was mental health support. Part of the problem it seems, and some doctors who review MAID applications have said, that is it harder to get appropriate treatments and supports that it is to get MAID. A very sad and concerning state of affairs.

Sorry for the heavy thoughts but this is what is on my mind tonight. When I'm faced with such difficult thoughts, I'm grateful I have my faith and my hope in God. I'm also glad that I can pray for others. It's been my experience that many who are not Christian and don't pray, feel comforted by prayer and will even ask for prayer when they are going through challenging times.

Keep well friends. Stay safe and if you are going through hardships, please reach out to someone near you or call a helpline.


Jeanie said...

I'm so sorry you are dealing with a cold and glad it's one the mend -- and that you could enjoy the movie. I haven't been to a film in a theatre in years!

Joyful said...

Hi Jeanie, sorry you slogged through my post before I properly edited and published it. I know what you mean about not having been in a movie theatre for years. It was my first time in years also. There were more people than I would have liked and the ones behind us with talking too much!

Red said...

It's very hard for us to understand the irrational. Clearly it makes no sense to us. For the irrational person it's reality. Don't beat yourself up on this issue. However the person needs support more than ever. It's a tough one as you say.

Joyful said...

Thank you for the support!

Rhodesia said...

You have opened my eyes, I had no idea that MAID was so common in Canada, so far as I know it is more than difficult to get it in Europe, Switzerland will assist in active suicide but not euthanasia. Euthanasia is legal in five countries in Europe: Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and more recently Germany and Spain. so it seems to be spreading. France seems to have a high suicide rate, but generally something at or near home.

That is enough morbid stuff. Have a good week and enjoy life. Cheers Diane

Sharon Wagner said...

Even people that seem happy have dark thoughts. That sounds extremely difficult. Take care.

Joyful said...

Yes, MAID has become very popular since it was first enacted in June 2016. There is an application and evaluation process but my own belief is it is relatively easy to get. In fact, some doctors say it is is easier to end life than to get the proper help and treatment to prolong life. That is the sad part. People don't feel they have real options. I hope you are enjoying your week and month as you draw closer to your big trip.

Joyful said...

Very true. It is difficult in general dealing with someone who is very up and down in their emotions.

Penelope Notes said...

Assisting people who are terminally ill and suffering intense physical pain to die peacefully at their request can be viewed as an act of kindness. However, the expanded version of the law as I understand it should make everyone uneasy. Deep depression due to rough circumstances or sometimes resulting from various mood/mind-altering drugs can lead to dark thoughts. Suicide, assisted or otherwise, is a permanent solution to what might be extreme yet temporary hopelessness that could turn around over time with help and understanding.

Mascha said...

I'm a disabled person, living in Germany. My pension is very small, only the half of the subsistence level... Living in my own very old and desolate home, that means, I haven't money for foods and must search for it in containers (last two months I could not and it was a hardly time only with apples and potatoes) or ask for donated foods at the "Table". That is only one day in two weeks and there are more people than foods...a lot of Ukrainian refugees came here too... I'm glad, that I can still go with my bicycle and search for foods in the night - what is, when I permanently no more can (I'm 63 and not very healthy)?
Lucky, that I haven't psychic problems and love my life... but I think, that MAID is a good thing, at least enables people to die with dignity instead of living unworthy. Wish, it comes in Germany soon!
That there is no help for people who want to live but have problems is a completely different question. As a disabled I've tried to get help - what I've experience there is just unworthy and cannot be called help. I'm glad I can still help myself. That I realized in my unsuccessful attempts to get help...
Just my thoughts.
Greetings from Germany

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