Thursday, October 1, 2015

the last book I ever read (On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks, excerpt eleven)

from On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks:

In 2006, an aneurysm in Michael’s other leg blocked up, and here again he made no complaints, though he was well aware of the dangers. He had been getting more disabled generally and knew that should he lose the leg or become more bronchitic, Ealon House would no longer be able to care for him. If this happened, he would have to be moved to a nursing home, where he would have no autonomy, identity, or role. Life under these circumstances, he felt, would be meaningless, intolerable. I wonder, then, if he willed himself to die.

The last scene of Michael’s life was played out in a hospital emergency room, waiting for the operation which this time, he thought, would probably take his leg. He was lying on a stretcher when he suddenly raised himself up on an elbow, said, “I’m going outside to have a smoke,” and fell back dead.

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