This is a play about dying and how different people deal with death. Mary Johnson is an old woman with a progressive lung disease (COPD). Mary is now in hospital, having recently suffered a “respiratory crisis” (similar to a severe asthma attack). She is in a single bed, occupying her own room, using a BiPAP machine to help her breathe. This is not Mary’s first respiratory crisis. She has been in the hospital before and does not want to go through another round of recovery and relapse. Relapse is a certainty — COPD has no cure. Mary will continue to grow weaker and weaker until she can no longer breathe. It is a slow suffocation. There is no getting better, and Mary does not want to stay tethered to a breathing mask and oxygen for the rest of her life. And so she decides to end her life. “Ending it”, however, is not a simple matter in a State where assisted suicide is not legal. “Give me the meds and I’ll see you in heaven,” is not an option. But when a person’s life is dependent on artificial means for survival, the devices sustaining that life can be removed. The patient is then allowed to die under heavy sedation. In hospitals this procedure in known as Comfort Care.
This is a true story about a woman choosing the time and place of her death. Right to Die, law, and religion all butt against each other in the process of achieving a desired end. This is also a story about memories, and a son’s love for his mother.
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The names of the characters have been changed for privacy.