A Social Worker With ALS Makes The Decision To Guide Her Own Death
By Esmeralda Bermudez, Los Angeles Times (TNS)
LOS ANGELES — The dishes she used to scrub after each family dinner pile up by the sink. The husband who sweetly called her his trophy wife cries alone in the room where he now sleeps. The 11-year-old son with big brown eyes who once cuddled on her lap now hardly comes near her.
She can’t move. She can’t talk. She can only blink her eyes.
Angie Bloomquist was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis less than two years ago. Since then, the fatal illness known as Lou Gehrig’s disease has shut down just about every muscle in her body. The toll on her family has been almost as devastating.
“It’s like a tornado ripped through our home,” Angie says. “And destroyed everything we built.”
She speaks through a special computer that tracks her eye movement, a painstaking task that exhausts her after a few sentences.
Still, in her final days, Angie finds herself pushing more than ever — for the choice to die through doctor-prescribed medication.
Proponents know it as “aid in dying.” Opponents call it assisted suicide. Since it was legalized in Oregon in 1994, there have been dozens of attempts to have similar versions approved in nearly 30 states. All have failed, except four: Washington, Vermont, Montana, and New Mexico.
In California, the issue hasn’t been brought before lawmakers or voters since 2007. This year, buoyed by the story of Brittany Maynard, who left her Bay Area home for Oregon to carry out her legally assisted death, supporters have geared up for another try.
One bill is making its way through the Legislature. Recently, two lawsuits were also filed against the state aiming to legally protect physicians.
Angie, who says she knew long before she was diagnosed that she would want to hasten her death if she became severely incapacitated, joined one of those lawsuits this month.
“I know how I want to live and know that that life is no longer possible,” she says. “The right to die should be my right.”