Martin Welsh considers himself a lucky man, with a loving family and innumerable friends. “Life has been truly wonderful,” the 55-year-old doctor writes in the Los Angeles Times. But soon, that life will end, and he doesn’t want his doctors to do anything to prolong it. Welsh has ALS, a neurological illness that’s already paralyzed one of his arms and both of his legs, and left him unable to speak.
“It’s not that I’m a quitter,” he writes, but “there will come a limit.” He doesn’t want a feeding tube or a tracheotomy. He considers the 100 things he does each day that make life what it is, like kissing his wife or even brushing his teeth. As those things fall away, the pain will eventually outweigh the joy of living. “I am not afraid of dying,” he writes, “and that is a wonderfully comforting thing.” (Read more end of life care stories.)