At the time of his death, David was still independent in his daily needs. While Carol O’Neil (the Exit nurse who had travelled with him) was on hand ‘just in case’, David took care of himself in his own hotel room. He went to the toilet unaided. He still had that dignity. When Carol asked if he needed assistance showering, David ‘fessed up’ that he was not keen on daily showers. He requested, ever so politely, that she not labour the point with him. Fair enough.
David spent his last days entertaining what seemed like an endless stream of family members who came and went. Friends from the Netherlands likewise. David seemed to like the idea of a glass of wine with dinner. It also quickly put him to sleep at the table. Meanwhile, the conversation went on around him and perhaps this was his point.
He told Philip Nitschke that he didn’t feel relevant in the world anymore. We humans are intensely social beings. When one has no peers, a connection to the rest of us is inevitably dented. And with very advanced old age come other losses. Loss of hearing, loss of eye-sight and, ultimately, loss of independence.
As David explained at his press conference:
My life has been rather poor for the last year or so. I a very happy to end it. All the publicity that it has been receiving can only I think help the cause of euthanasia for the elderly which is what I want.