When Joe, a Boston cop with a loving wife and four grown children, (some of whom still live at home), suffers from lack of balance, slurred speech, angry outbursts, random jumping and fidgeting and not even being aware he is doing it, he tries his best to keep his job and get a decent pension to provide for his wife after he is gone. Unfortunately, he has to quit early and will only get about 1/3 of his pension. He finds out from a lawyer that unless he divorces Rosie, she won't get anything because it will all go to pay for the assisted living place he most likely will end up in like his mother did.
I must say, I agree with Joe's thinking when he considered killing himself. Here is an excerpt from page 268 that really rings true to me (Yaz was Joe's little dog that died recently):
Joe thinks of Yaz. He lived a good, full life. And then, when his quality of life drained away, they didn't make him suffer. Yaz's end was peaceful and dignified, fast and painless. Five seconds after the vet's injection, he was gone.
It was the humane thing to do. Joe takes note of the word human in humane, and yet that kind of "human" compassion is reserved only for animals, not for people. There is no five-second injection option for Joe. Doctors aren't allowed to be humane with humans. Joe and everyone like him will be expected to suffer and suck it up, to endure zero quality of life while being a burden to everyone held dear until the bitter, gruesome end.We all hope we never get to the place where we can't take care of ourselves, but many do. I just think it would be nice to have the option of a lethal injection to speed up the inevitable and spare all the pain and suffering.
In the book, Joe did not commit suicide. His daughter, Katie, changed his mind with the following words from page 273:
We don't know anyone else with HD. You're the only example we have. We're going to learn how to live and die with HD from you, Dad. . . . . We don't know what's right and wrong when it comes to HD. But whatever you do, that's the advice you're giving us.What do you think about this?