20 February 2010
I have been very badly let down by the press. (See 17 February entry). â€˜My lovelyâ€™said I was naive to give the interview, in the first place – and how right she was – but the journalist, Alice Ryan, seemed genuine enough and assured me she would honour the caveat that I laid down, before agreeing to be interviewed, that the emphasis was to be mainly on the blog and the benefits that I hoped it was conferring on others. To be fair, she did ring me and read out the entire text (against recognised journalist practice ) which I was perfectly happy was a fair representation of our discussion. The problem came in the sub-editing, which was precisely the point that I made to journalist that I wanted to have some control over. Instead, the editor included a rather poor photograph of me in colour, on the front page with the caption â€œ Why I’ll take my own lifeâ€. Then inside, we see a full page and a third of text, under another photograph, this one covering two thirds of the page, with the caption â€œ I’m dying – and I’m going to do it my wayâ€. This is definitely not the way I put it.(why am I surprised!). What I actually said, after explaining the progress of MND and how one can eventually end up lke a vegetable unable to speak or move or swallow, was:
â€œ…… when it gets to my throat, Iâ€™m going have a couple of bottles of Bollinger, soft music, my family around me, the old photos out, and I’m going to slip away, while I can still do it myselfâ€
Having said that, these comments were only made in the context of the current debate about assisted suicide and form a miniscule part of the interview but, of course, as we all know, good intentions and beliefs do not sell newspapers but sensational and dramatic headlines clearly do. I am deeply disappointed as these captions are clearly depressive and go totally contrary to the objective of this blog, which strives, through logging my own experiences, and those of much braver people, to be inspirational and forward-looking and certainly not about dying. Let us hope not too many people see the article.
This whole episode reminds me of the story of the Bishop who, when he disembarked in New York was asked: â€˜What do you think about the prostitutes in New York?â€™
The Bishop, slightly bemused and totally perplexed by the question, enquired, ‘Are there any prostitutes in New York?’ and it was his enquiry to the question that formed the precise headline to the report of the Bishop’s visit. Well, that’s newspapers for you.
To top off great day I managed to repeat the backwards tumble down the staircase that occurred two nights before. Again from the top step crashing to the floor below, taking â€˜my lovelyâ€™ with me, who was following behind me halfway up the stairs. Amazingly again no broken bones but more bruises and scrapes. Alice got me back upright and I was forbidden ever to attempt the stairs again. Fortunately, only yesterday Alice had had the foresight to have a bed set up at the end of the sitting room, anticipating the need at some near date, but not, I suspect, quite so soon. I am clearly indestructible, as one of my good friends has said.