Elderly women, how did they get there?


Following on from the discussion (starting here) in the medical open thread, what does the future look like for elderly women, the ones who have out-lived their ‘useful’ useby-date?

Well, it’s not good. First let us consider the female life cycle. As a girl child, you probably have a 20-25% chance of being sexually abused, with most perps being male. Then you reach puberty or adulthood, and have about a 1 in 4 chance of being raped or sexually assaulted, most perps being male. So you ‘do the right thing’ and get married and have a few kids, leaving you at least a 1 in 4 chance in your lifetime, or a 5-10% chance annually of being the victim of domestic violence, or even one of the two (UK) women killed by their partners or former partners, with most perps being male and most victims being female.

You give up your career to look after the kids, there is no real impact on Nigel’s career having kids. If you do work either during or after the marriage, chances are it will be in a lower paid role or profession (a pink ghetto). Of course, by the time you reach 45-50, ageism specific to women, will make it hard to find a job. You might even be sacked.

Maybe you are recruited for freebie babysitting for your daughter’s (or son’s) kids, but generally marginalised if you offer any helpful suggestions on child rearing. This is while you are still young and mobile enough to help, before any chronic health problems set in.

Hopefully at this time in your life, your Nigel has dropped dead of a heart attack leaving you widowed. Although, if Nigel is still about, there is no guarantee he isn’t an abuser and will bump you off. Or maybe your 50yo Nigel-son bumps you off.

If you manage to get through all of that, and avoid serious health problems (therefore avoiding being shipped off to a nursing home with sub-standard care, unless you are lucky enough and rich enough to be in one of the more upmarket homes that will bleed your finances dry at a rate that will make your head spin), you live independently at home, sometimes with carers to come in and help you.

Then, you have the local burglars and rapists that see you as easy pickings, so much so, twice in one day (hey, you might just be spritely enough to fight back). Note that the “Night Stalker” Delroy Grant raped the elderly women, no mention of buggering the elderly men that he robbed, it’s that cis-female privilege thing again!

So basically your dream of living out a peaceful old age, going to cake-bake sales at the local church or community centre are pretty slim odds.

The majority of the news links are from this month, March 2011, and are NOT ALL of the (robbery, rape, murder) events that have happened to elderly women this month. The work tribunal case was from earlier this year, but most women do not have the time or resources to fight employers. There are also a bunch of accidental deaths from fires or drowning. Most of these links were found at the BBC News site, just doing a search for “elderly woman”.

51 thoughts on “Elderly women, how did they get there?

  1. FAB Libber

    I will probably add some more links into the post. Some might be slightly older (like older husbands killing their wives, an article from not that long ago).

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  2. Sargasso Sea

    I ask the Universe to do me right in the knowing when it is time to Walk Away. It’s the third and final gift that could be granted to me.

    Jilla, this is a very charged subject for me too and I feel for you and with you. I do.

    My partner and I have just transitioned her 97 year old father into a wonderful, private *assisted living* facility after 6 years of tending to him personally. This man is a pedophile and should have been living in prison (or just dead) all these years, but instead he’s been collecting three pensions for longer than he actually worked and therefore can afford the luxury of care.

    I didn’t think I could HATE him more than I already do but when I think of you and Mary, and FAB and me and all of us being afraid, not of dying, but of living too long and being punished for it and him sitting there being waited on hand and foot…

    Also, I’ve mentioned that my mom is 75 and that we have problems. I’m in the position of being completely emotionally drained after years (and however many more, because we still have to advocate and handle finances etc. for the Perv) of dealing with a man who has dished out so much pain to have to now begin to think of how I will be able to deal with helping my mom when she can be very, very hurtful, not only to me but to my family. Moral Intelligence demands that I find a way to protect my mom as much as I can without putting myself in *danger* and I am not feeling equal to the task.

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  3. FAB Libber

    I suppose it is *wrong* of me to wish a speedy end to the old perv?
    Shame you aren’t more of a dishonest type, to embezzle his funds, and syphon it off towards the women-folk. Fucking three pensions? Jeez. I cannot believe you and your partner cared for him so long. He does not deserve it, he should have been thrown into one of the sub-standard homes, after all the damage he has done to his victims.

    I think I will probably have a specific chat with my mother along the lines of a living will, and how and when she wants out. Can’t tell my sister, because she is the type who will hang on when it is not in the best interests of the patient. I already know that my mother does not want to be cremated, she isn’t fond of burial either, but she will have to pick one, burial by default.

    I think euthanasia is legal in the Northern Territory, so it might be a final holiday arrangement.

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  4. Mary Sunshine

    Yup. That happened years ago. There is however, an active group of elderly people in Australia who are working at how people will be able to set off on their own chose paths to the end of the world.

    I’m too tired to dig up all the links now, that I have stashed somewhere.

    Google up: peaceful pill

    Aussies at work! 😛

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  5. Sargasso Sea

    Yeah it’d be *wrong*, but if wishing the Perv dead is *wrong* I don’t wanna be right!

    (And I’ll suffice it to say that “due to his discovering a generous streak in his old age” more than one woman has benefited from his pensions; many of them right there at his local DV/A shelter. Sometimes little miracles happen in grocery stores, street corners and parking lots too 🙂 )

    Anyway:

    The goddamned life-fetishists in the US make it really, really difficult to just fucking die already. Washington state (where my mom lives at the mo) recently passed a right-to-die law but you have to be “terminally ill” with 6 months or less to go before you can opt out which isn’t necessarily all that helpful. But it makes my mom happy because she is and always has been a proponent of taking one’s death matters into one’s own hands.

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  6. FAB Libber

    I am reading the http://www.peacefulpillhandbook.com/ site now.
    ETA, dammit, you have to buy the ebook. However, I think you can sign up to the online forum.

    I did forget the coralling into prostitution in my female life cycle. In my defence, it was a fairly hurried post, the things that came to mind. But anyway, most readers here know most of the stuff.

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  7. FAB Libber

    This blog might be interesting
    http://assistedsuicide.org/blog/2007/04/09/euthanasia-assisted-suicide-seek-the-peaceful-pill/
    and
    http://www.lists.opn.org/pipermail/right-to-die_lists.opn.org/2009-March/003279.html

    It seems that penobarbital is the favoured main drug. The same one they use to euthanise pets with, under the brand name Nembutal. Illegal in Oz since 1998. The blog above reckons 9 grams is the fatal human dose (I was looking to see what were the standard strengths, to calc the number of pills required). Did find one site that indicates the standard injection dose of 150 to 200 milligrams (mg)
    http://www.pdrhealth.com/drugs/rx/rx-mono.aspx?contentFileName=nem1286.html&contentName=Nembutal&contentId=519

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  8. FCM

    s4, the situation with “the perv” gets me every time. its not fair is it? men who at least arguably deserve to die for the crimes they have perpetrated on women and children…that they get to live AT ALL, and then get to live in relative luxury in their old age too, as women face the most cruel torture anyone can imagine. many of these women are of course the old mens victims as well…and their ex-wives too, who are left in poverty when the perv throws her over for a younger vicitm. men leave a trail of tears and a trail of victims their entire fucking lives. and women never get a break.

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  9. Mary Sunshine

    I had the PPH a couple of years ago in dead tree form, but it perished. I’m on a right to die list (Exit International?) – but it’s ideas & political issues. I just want the how-to.

    FL, I may sign up for the PPH thing. Their new service is just a month old! 😛

    If so, I’ll let you know & we can confer.

    My *fantasy* at this point is to “just” (!!!) go live feral until Nature swallows me up in her own way. I chuckle that there’s a funnel-web spider out there with my name on it. But as I get closer in I may decide to be a big baby and go the nembutal route.

    Aussie oldies have been getting their act together to formulate their own. These are upper-middle class retired professionals who have the expertise and contacts to be able to do so. The drug underworld is in no way involved. It looks promising.

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  10. FAB Libber

    the situation with “the perv” gets me every time. its not fair is it? men who at least arguably deserve to die for the crimes they have perpetrated on women and children…that they get to live AT ALL, and then get to live in relative luxury in their old age too, as women face the most cruel torture anyone can imagine.

    Yes, it was what I was thinking FCM, primarily about all of his former victims, and how he screwed up their lives. Doubtless he continued offending into his 50s/60s or even longer, and that is a lot of victims to rack up. Some of those female child victims would have been so damaged as to go into prostitution and be re-damaged all over again. And that shit gets to live out in comfort with a nice cushy pension.

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  11. FAB Libber

    Mary, most of the animal toxins are not that fast, and some are mighty painful. They *might* kill you in 20 minutes or less, but that is an agonisingly long 20 minutes. I recall when I had diazapam intravenously to put me to sleep for an op, and by fuck it was agonising all the way to unconsciousness, and that was a mere 5-10 seconds. By gawd it burnt, I felt the exact path of my veins.

    Some animal toxins do work fairly quickly, many are muscle constrictors that stop the heart (heart attack). Now, if you want to go that way (and someone with better medical advice could confirm/deny), I have always thought that an empty syringe loaded with air was the way to bring on a heart attack (air embolism). The heart attack pain itself should be fairly tolerable (we’re women, we’ve been through worse), and relatively quickish (a few minutes).

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  12. FAB Libber

    btw, i was wondering where all the comments were. my place is completely dead today, now i know why!
    Nah, there has been general quietness the last few days. Thursday was a really dead day here, will only about half the number of hits, and very few comments. I was beginning to think I had become boring. 😛

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  13. Sargasso Sea

    We know for sure (confessed and *apologized*) that he was offending in his 60s because that’s the era of my partner’s victimization. What he won’t admit is anything before and the other obvious victim from that time frame just ain’t talking.

    Sisters, the man is 97 years old and he’s still staring at little girls’ bodies the way that pervs do. God how I hate that man.

    FCM! I’m just so bogged down in my personal misery today (!) that I don’t feel coherent enough to make sense of what I want to say at your place, if you can dig it. Soon though 🙂

    And FAB, you know that it’s not about “boring” but about boringness. This is an important distinction and I’m not sure I can tolerate your intolerance of the non-essentialist nature of ness. You should educate yourself before you just start throwing the word BORING around. Or something. Anyway, I’m right.

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  14. FCM

    yes, its all about the ness.

    and i am glad to see not one but TWO references to my dictator-like comments policy. LOL! my message is getting through. eeeeexcellent.

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  15. jilla

    Yesterday I listened to a radio program on the subject of “moral distress’ for nurses, who are drugging seniors in nursing homes (against patient and family dictate — personal directive means nothing if the caregiver wishes to override) and doing other inhumane things like putting them in a sling above their beds with bedpan below them, until they pooped and it fell in the bedpan.

    The nurse describing this was a student nurse who was shaken and upset at what she had to do. Said it was a rigged outfit made just to lift elderly, heavy patients for transport or while their bed is changed, but is now an official bathroom “aid” and used regularly everywhere. And I know, the patient is usually given an enema first, whether they are able to get to the bathroom and let nature follow its course or not.

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  16. FAB Libber

    In honour of you bringing up the importance of “ness”, you will note that I feel like the Loch Ness Monster inside. Hover your mousey over picture.

    More seriously, yes, most of these dudes, including bulk-standard domestic abusers, usually keep going into their 60s, unless they are caught or stopped. There is no stopping of their own accord, they keep going. I gather that the drop-off after 60s is usually due to either death or mobility issues, not a decline in interest or some sort of sudden moral realisation.

    Case in point, Josef Fritzl was in his 70s.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritzl_case

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  17. Sargasso Sea

    The *ness* was inspired by the entire nessness of our existenceness. Put that in your Loch and smoke it!

    Bad jokes aside now: I’d never done an enema until it was prescribed before my uterus/cervix-ectomy and I’ve never been the same. I swear that one enema screwed up a lifetimes worth of pretty damn good gastro-intestinal health.

    I’d never wish an enema on a person who absolutely life-or-death didn’t need it. (I understand that prostituted women/girls use them regularly.)

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  18. rahelle

    There was an unusually high number of (reported/discovered) rapes and rapes and murders of elderly women where I live a couple of years ago (including a disabled woman repeatedly raped by her great-grandson). And people laughed and laughed and laughed. Mostly boys and men, but also girls and women (that was especially painful to see). At best, they’d say something about how sad it is, and then crack a joke. It all about how -unsexy- the rapes were, how the rapists/murderers must have been “really desperate” and “couldn’t they have picked hotter chicks”, and how hilarious it all was.

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  19. jilla

    Sargasso Sea thank you for answering me so kindly, and with your experience. I’m just recovering from such a rotten day precipitated by all this, so I’m going to leave responding to you properly until later.

    Because you’ve mentioned other factors that can’t be left undiscussed, here, by the women who post and read here.

    Thanks SOOO much for hearing me, and not just dismissing me.

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  20. FCM

    jilla, i agree with your comment about elderly women, and i responded to yttik’s comment even before i read your criticism of it. there is very much a class-issue at play here, although as dworkin says NO women can escape the circle, or change it, or say that they exist outside it, or that it does not apply. and the fact of the matter is, if your money or your health runs out before your life runs out, you are fucked, and theres nothing any of us can do about it. the suicide-talk is very, very appropriate.

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  21. FAB Libber

    Jilla, I was busy writing another post. The sling/enema thing, really disgusting.

    Rahelle, it is sort of the theme for my next post (the one I was writing as comments came through on this thread). Exactly right, this stuff is very much laughed off, and dismissed with “how desperate was he” and “couldn’t he have found a hotter chick to bonk”. Rape culture at it’s finest.

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  22. radicalesbian

    Thanks for the euthanasia links. There used to be an illustrated, step-by-step guide to suicide by carbon monoxide inhalation online, but it was taken down years ago.

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  23. FAB Libber

    although as dworkin says NO women can escape the circle, or change it, or say that they exist outside it, or that it does not apply.
    Absolutely yes. I think that this is where the mozzies and 3rd wavers get it horribly wrong, and where the radfems get it right, that we are all within Class Woman no matter what we do, and just by luck, circumstance, or there-by-the-grace-of-gawd-go-I, we recognise we are stuck within the same system, or circle. I think it is why radfems have no problem accepting (and helping) prostituted women, because we know the forces at work.

    RL, the problem with the DIY carbon monoxide is frequently you are found too soon. I guess you can get a vehicle and go out in the middle of no-wheres.
    Speed is obviously a factor, not to be discovered before the job, by whatever method, is done.

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  24. radicalesbian

    This guy who made the website had a method to make it go faster, but I don’t remember the details. I believe he killed himself this way. I’d probably rather overdose on something like Fentanyl, though ideally I’d like to be tripping on acid when I shuffle off this mortal coil.

    Every time you say ‘mozzies’, I think you’re referring to Morrissey fans.

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  25. FAB Libber

    Perhaps I will switch to “mozzers” then. 😛

    Fentanyl sounds like it has potential, but as with any of these drugs, it is getting your hands on it (most are a bit hard to synthesise at home! even LSD I believe).

    Perhaps we should look to the more naturally-found plant drugs – belladonna in big doses? Dunno.

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  26. jilla

    I was wondering, if a woman had diabetes 2, couldn’t she just double dose her insulin injection, or something like that?

    Mary as much as I fantacize about heading out to the bush, I know they’d have helicopters and sniffer dogs and front page articles of the demented woman who was lost in the bush, and they’d keep at it until they found you and brought you home. This will take some planning, kind of like battered women need to do for their exit.

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  27. FAB Libber

    I had thought about the insulin thing too, but not sure how reliable it would be, and you would be quite wonky I think.

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  28. Mary Sunshine

    Jilla,

    Everything you say in your second paragraph is true. I have also pictured it. *sigh*.

    Yes, the planning.

    It’s not a standing broadjump, it’s a running broadjump. And just when I feel least like running!

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  29. jilla

    Right Mary, and they’d have our daughters babbling on TV: MOM I LOVE YOU MOM PLEASE come home. And they’d blare that out of the helicopters, and we’d hear it out there, and just be pulled into it, and head home. Feeling like a woman.

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  30. jilla

    Where is Sargasso Sea? I want to bring up her plight again. A lesbian (I think?) and her partner’s father the perv has bankrupted their patience, understanding, finances and stamina; and there’s an aged mother in the waiting. So Sargasso and women like her are nearing retirement age themselves and need to focus on saving and banking as much money as possible, paying down their mortgage and planning for their own old age. And what if one of these two is incapacitated relatively young, like with a stroke, or goddess forbid, dies. Then who looks after the other, who is I remind you, a lesbian, in a homophobic society? This can’t be easier as you age.

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  31. jilla

    Oh there are some nasty herbs that grow in the north, but as you said: how much, how long, the root or the leaf, what time of year, and how long will it take or will you just be found 48 hours later, paralysed.

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  32. FAB Libber

    The roots apparently, with belladonna.
    LSD has fatal doses that don’t sound that high. A trippy way to go. If you can get the good stuff at all these days.

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  33. FAB Libber

    That second bulletin is rather creepy isn’t it?
    Do you think that in one of her more lucid moments, she decided to end it? The schizophrenic meds they give them in the homes can be pretty heavy duty, some do not like the side effects, but they have little choice in their medication. Most times they are probably over-medicated.

    Years ago I had a friend who was schizophrenic, I would describe his death as “accidental suicide”, he did not really care one way or the other. In those moments of clarity, he knew he was powerless against the illness.

    It is an incidious condition, that usually affects those with a very high IQ.

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  34. jilla

    Three you go. No need for talk of esoteric herbs and gothic potents. We’re Canuck, we know the fastest, easiest way to do it. Just wait for minus 30 and step out.

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  35. Mary Sunshine

    Yup. I’m right here on the St. Lawrence River / Lake Ontario.

    It would be a strange thing not to have to survive another winter, eh? I’m so accustomed to storing a year’s supply of food …

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  36. jilla

    http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/abstract/cmaj.101406v1

    Canadian Medical Association Journal
    Published online ahead of print March 28, 2011

    CMAJ 10.1503/cmaj.101406
    © 2011 Canadian Medical Association or its licensors

    All editorial matter in CMAJ represents the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of the Canadian Medical Association.

    Risk of death and hospital admission for major medical events after initiation of psychotropic medications in older adults admitted to nursing homes

    Krista F. Huybrechts, Kenneth J. Rothman, Rebecca A. Silliman, Alan Brookhart and Sebastian Schneeweiss

    From the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics (Huybrechts, Schneeweiss), Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.; the Department of Epidemiology (Huybrechts, Rothman, Silliman), Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.; RTI Health Solutions (Rothman), Research Triangle Park, Durham, NC; the Department of Medicine (Silliman), Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.; and the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health (Brookhart), Chapel Hill, NC

    Krista F. Huybrechts, E-mail khuybrechts@partners.org

    Background: Despite safety-related concerns, psychotropic medications are frequently prescribed to manage behavioural symptoms in older adults, particularly those with dementia. We assessed the comparative safety of different classes of psychotropic medications used in nursing home residents.

    Methods: We identified a cohort of patients who were aged 65 years or older and had initiated treatment with psychotropics after admission to a nursing home in British Columbia between 1996 and 2006. We used proportional hazards models to compare rates of death and rates of hospital admissions for medical events within 180 days after treatment initiation. We used propensity-score adjustments to control for confounders.

    Results: Of 10 900 patients admitted to nursing homes, atypical antipsychotics were initiated by 1942, conventional antipsychotics by 1902, antidepressants by 2169 and benzodiazepines by 4887. Compared with users of atypical antipsychotics, users of conventional antipsychotics and antidepressants had an increased risk of death (rate ratio [RR] 1.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14–1.91 for conventional antipsychotics and RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.96–1.50 for antidepressants), and an increased risk of femur fracture (RR 1.61, 95% CI 1.03–2.51 for conventional antipsychotics and RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.86–1.94 for antidepressants). Users of benzodiazepines had a higher risk of death (RR 1.28, 95% CI 1.04–1.58) compared with users of atypical antipsychotics. The RR for heart failure was 1.54 (95% CI 0.89–2.67), and for pneumonia it was 0.85 (95% CI 0.56–1.31).

    Interpretation: Among older patients admitted to nursing homes, the risks of death and femur fracture associated with conventional antipsychotics, antidepressants and benzodiazepines are comparable to or greater than the risks associated with atypical antipsychotics. Clinicians should weigh these risks against the potential benefits when making prescribing decisions.

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  37. m Andrea

    Er, car exhaust hasn’t been lethal for years, and the air-in-the-veins thing is a myth. Sorry to bust your bubbles. :O Let’s see… Geo Stone has an excellent methods book, and is usually always available by torrent. Lotta people have posted research and personal experience with various methods to A.S.H. over the years but the last few it’s been over-run by trolls. Still, search there anyway for all your death-related needs.

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.suicide.holiday/topics

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  38. m Andrea

    oh also, google has recently noticed that folks are using google to search for things they don’t approve of, and so have changed what pops up. You can’t find anything helpful anymore using google, so use a different search engine.

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  39. m Andrea

    type in “sucide methods” in a general search engine, or simply “methods” when you get to ASH. add the specific name of your favorite when you have one, ie “helium”. Personally, I can get as much Nitrous oxide as I want… (aka laughing gas — dentists used to use it until some patients died, and it’s completely painless). You don’t need any regulators for any of the gas methods, just seal off a tiny space and open up the tank.

    Apologies if any of my comments squick anybody out.

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  40. m Andrea

    It’s funny that I just came from FCM’s latest post where she talked about a resurgence of new radical bloggers. But apparently they’re mostly under 30. I see a lot of older people, especially women, who are about at the end of their ability to cope but hey nobody gives a shit cos they’re no longer useful to men. I’m like hello notice the cycle. Everybody is hopeful and thinks “this time” things will be different when they’re young — that’s nothing new. Yet the years of telling each other to be patient while they wait for men to improve “someday” invariably takes it toll. After a while it becomes obvious men are just playing a game called ‘don’t forget to forgive us even as our abuse of you never actually stops’.

    ok done serial posting, I have to go enjoy such a BEEEUTIFUL day!! 🙂

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  41. FAB Libber

    Nitrous oxide sounds like a plan. I did have it at the dentists years ago and it was good.
    Might be hard to get hold of.

    Yes to the “this time it will be different thing” – it never is.
    The “you just need to explain it nicely/simply” thing is my pet peeve.

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  42. jilla

    There are any number of prescription drugs that will do the job just fine. And physicians are all too happy to prescribe them for no presenting reason.

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