It could not have been a more fitting time for the delivery. My palliative care provider and I were on a video call when they arrived via courier this morning (Tuesday): the medical aid in dying (M.A.I.D.) drugs.
My journey to receipt of this box of lethal drugs began in earnest in May when I spoke via Zoom with a physician at the medical center where I had been treated for cancer and COPD for the past three years. Our conversation began the legal process that culminated in that delivery.
So here they are and it is no small thing to live next to this box of certain death. Not that I would take the drugs on a whim or just because I'm having a bad day. That's not who I am.
But I suspect that more often now I will take up the questions that have both buoyed and bedeviled me from time to time and even, in a couple of cases, made me laugh:
Will I have breakfast on the last morning? If so, how will I choose? Cheerios? Scrambled eggs? Maybe just a muffin with jam? Should I wash the dishes or leave them for someone else?
And what does one wear to one's own death, especially when you know you are dressing for the final time? To whom should I look for inspiration? Anne Boleyn? Marie Antoinette? Lady Jane Grey?
Certainly not a convicted American woman in orange prison garb.
People will be here, less than a handful – three seems right. Should I arrange snacks? Wine? At least some wine, I think.
Do you find this morbid? I don't, and it's not like I control the thoughts that pop into my head. There are bigger, more important issues but these will do for the time being.
Every day now I can tell that my life is waning. There are good days and bad. Sunday night I slept no more than two hours and lost most of Monday to fatigue.
Even with a full night's sleep, I tire so easily that my productive time has been reduced to about six or eight hours.
Quite a lot of those hours is taken up with with medical activities - pills and inhalers at certain times, oxygen, nebulizer, managing refills, telephone calls and home visits with the hospice people.
Not that I am complaining. These and other medical professionals prolonged my life way beyond the year expected when I was first diagnosed, and the majority of it was much easier than now.
I have been with people during the last months of their lives and so far I experience fewer difficulties than they did. And don't think I'm not grateful for both the extra time and the terrific medical people who find ways to smooth my way as much as possible.
Because I really, really like being alive.
My job now is to find a way to make peace with dying. I've come a long way toward that goal in the last three years but the arrival of the drugs puts a whole new reality to it.
Until that box was in my hands, M.A.I.D. drugs were mostly theoretical. Now they are fact. In my home. There for my use. Or not. There is no rule saying I must take them. But I suspect the only reason I will not is if I die in my sleep or get hit by a truck.
I thought you might like to see what the drugs look like. Quite ordinary, don't you think? Until you remind yourself what they are for.