An incurable illness
that will inevitably
in a short time. A very few illnesses are considered "terminal
" in and of themselves; these include AIDS
, Duchenne muscular dystrophy
, some forms of acute leukemia
, and severe acute radiation sickness
. The majority of terminal illnesses are advanced stages of certain disease
s or cancer
s, or conditions such as advanced renal failure
, heart failure
disease, and such. These types of illness mostly affect people over 60; in many cases treatment
has been carried on for years but at some point will no longer be effective.
Much controversy surrounds the issue of whether the terminally ill have the right to commit (assisted) suicide in the USA, as expensive drug treatments and surgical procedures only delay the inevitable end. Because it is actually fairly difficult to kill yourself, and aging people who wish to just get death over with (rather than swell up and writhe in pain for months, riddled with tubes and surrounded by weird machines) do not wish to disturb their families by blowing themselves away, jumping off a building, or hanging themselves -- the only reliable methods of committing suicide that make resuscitation impossible -- planned, assisted suicide (euthanasia) is an attractive alternative. This is still considered murder in most of the United States. As usual, numerous religious views complicate the issue.
The Hedonistic Imperative webring (which includes www.cocaine.org) advises that the only time crack cocaine should be taken by humans is when they are on their deathbed with terminal illness -- to "go out with a bang", so to speak. To quote from the article "In Search of the Big Bang":
There is perhaps a single predictable time of life when taking crack-cocaine is sensible, harmless and both emotionally and intellectually satisfying. Indeed, for such an occasion it may be
commended. Certain estimable English doctors were once in the habit of administering to terminally-ill cancer patients an elixir known as the "Brompton cocktail". This was a judiciously-blended
mixture of cocaine, heroin and alcohol. The results were gratifying not just to the recipient. Relatives of the stricken patient were pleased, too, at the new-found look of spiritual peace and happiness
suffusing the features of a loved one as (s)he prepared to meet his or her Maker.
Drawing life to a close with a transcendentally orgasmic bang, and not a pathetic and god-forsaken whimper, can turn dying into the culmination of one's existence rather than its present messy and
There is another good reason to finish life on a high note. In a predominantly secular society, adopting a hedonistic death-style is much more responsible from an ethical utilitarian perspective. For
it promises to spare friends and relations the miseries of vicarious suffering and distress they are liable to undergo at present as they witness one's decline.
At present, treatment for the terminally ill is carried out in a hospital
(or occasionally at home) and focuses on keeping the patient comfortable and free of pain to the extent possible (often with large quantities of opiate
s), tying up loose ends, and maintaining maximum mobility and consciousness
for as long as possible.