It’s been a tense few days in Topsy-Turvy land.
All arrangements for the difficult visit to Switzerland were in place. Flat to Heathrow via taxi to Paddington station and then the Heathrow Express (easiest and quickest way with me in the Peacemobile wheelchair). At Heathrow staff will give me an airport wheelchair and will take the Peacemobile to go in the hold of our flight. Staff take us through security and into a lounge. We get to the boarding desk early and go onboard first, to the special ‘bed recliners’, praying I can get the back support I need to counter the head-drop and ease breathing. At Zurich, wheelchair assistance through passport control to pick up bags and the Peacemobile which I then use. Wheelchair-suitable taxi specially ordered to the hotel. Next day a day of rest. Following morning to Dignitas. All meticulously arranged.
Six days ago the sky fell in. Omicron, the latest Covid strain, caused Switzerland to impose a 10-day quarantine on Brits arriving there. Disaster. Physically I couldn’t possibly cope with that. The hotel, chosen because it has the facilities I need, would be prohibitively expensive. The extra liquid food and medicine would be a problem. The Dignitas schedule would be disrupted. There was no way I could travel. All plans in disarray. How to obtain an exemption?
At this point think about this: I found myself desperately anxious not to prolong my life; seriously worried that my death might be postponed; getting morbid about the prospect of seeing Christmas. Now how many people ever think in that way? Topsy-Turvy Land indeed.
Dignitas and a Swiss ministry pointed us to the Canton of Zurich. Typically Swiss, decisions on such things as exemptions are made locally.
So we wrote to the canton. Two stressful days followed. Then the exemptions came through. Huge relief. They’re only for carer (Tim) and me though, on medical grounds. The other two companions would have to quarantine, so they’re not travelling. It will just be Tim and me.
Well, It’s been a roller-coaster. We could have done without it, but thankfully it’s returned us to some sort of normality in this rather tense time.
No more shocks please.
A little bit more on this. I have relented. Through Dignity in Dying we’ve learned that the Sunday Times, supporting the Assisted Dying cause in Britain, thinks that my recent shock about possible quarantine adds real time evidence of the disruption to lives when a very sick person has to go abroad. They’d like to use the story to add more pressure to change the law. I’ve agreed a text with DiD, in my name. It might be published this coming Sunday the 5th.
That must be it!