5 July 2011
A sad day. Our cat, Lucy, had to be put to sleep. She been under the vet for some time and had been losing weight and condition. In the event. the vet said her heart was in a bad way and there really was no possibility of her recovering, so poor Alice, had to take the decision to put her down. The loss was not quite so heartrending as that of, Mouse, Henrietta’s companion and the last of our two donkeys, who also suffered the same fate, and earlier this year. Mouse, who had come from the Wood Green Animal Shelter, had been with us for around 20 years whereas Lucy was a stray that Alice had taken save that pity on.
A short while ago, after watching the BBC television programme Choosing to Die, (see 15 June entry) featuring Sir Terry Pratchett, I was musing on its content and I decided that it was very one sided and wondered if Mr Smedley, who went off to Switzerland to Dignitas die in front of the television viewers, had really given sufficient consideration to the hospice alternative Having said that, in complete ignorance of what a hospice really it is, I have already told my palliative care doctor, Dr Margaret Saunders, that I want nothing to do with hospices. To me it’s another name for a place to go and die, and that fairly soon.
It seems that this is a misconception and I’m told that they are wonderful places and many terminally ill patients are much happier there than they would be at home. As I find this extremely hard to believe it seems to me that the Choosing to Die programme is screaming for a sequel, educating the public what a hospice is really all about. To this end I contacted the makers of the original programme, KEO films and spoke to the director, Craig Hunter. He agreed that the programme was perhaps slightly one-sided as it dealt specifically with the right to die, as offered by Dignitas, in Switzerland. At the time I did not float the idea of the sequel to Mr Hunter but subsequently, having tried to speak to him again, was told that he really didn’t feel that a sequel by KEO Films would be necessarily attractive to BBC..
Accordingly I contacted his office again and asked if they would be kind enough to give me the name and contact details for the executive at the BBC who commissioned the original programme. My intention being to put it to this executive that they should consider commissioning a sequel so as to educate the world at large as to the true function of hospices so they would hold no fear for anyone finding themselves consigned to one. As Sir Terry Pratchett seems as ignorant about hospices as I am, I wondered whether he would agree to accompany me and learn together s about their true function. This then was to be my proposal should I get to speak to the right person at the BBC.
I received a call back from Craig suggesting that I sent an e-mail to him, setting out my suggestion – which he would pass on to the appropriate BBC executive – just explaining quite succinctly why I thought such a sequel would be attractive. To be fair he did not hold out a great deal of hope as such documentaries are planned months ahead and there may already be plans a foot, or even in train, for such a sequel, as the BBC received over 1000 letters or e-mails following the original programme. Anyway, nothing ventured nothing gained so ,on receipt of Craig’s email address, I did as you requested and now await a response via him from the BBC.