There were thirty-seven members is attendance this week, definitely above our weekly average.  Ned Meisner brought our lone guest, Khalil Dana, an electrical engineer.  Representing the Park District this week was Mary Cherveny, who is the Marketing Manager and in charge of communications.
President Thomas announced that a very good club visioning meeting was conducted the previous Monday.  Over 20 members were in attendance and they produced many excellent ideas.  We will be hearing more in the near future.    Barb Tubekis encouraged the membership to participate in this Saturday’s (Oct. 24) “Make a Difference Day.”  Last year over 19,000 items were contributed to 14 organizations.    David Grant announced that an adult production of “A Christmas Carol,” under the direction of Toby Nicholson would take place at the Community House on December 5th and 6th.  Purchase your tickets before November 1 and get a $5 discount per ticket.   John Thomas announced that Kristen Leahy would assume the Public Relations chair.
President John also announced that due to the Antiques and Modernism Show our club would be holding our meeting on November 5th at the Greek restaurant Avli in the Laundry at the corner of Spruce and Chestnut in Winnetka.  Due to the special menu, lunch will cost $20 for those who pay weekly and any guests.
Happy Buck$ were contributed by Ned Meisner, Liz Taylor, Tony Kambich, Patti Van Cleave, Barb Tubekis, John Stone, Wes Baumann, Kristen Leahy and John Thomas.  Brooke Peppey capably handled this week’s Dig ‘n Grin.
Fred Schwimmer was given “Time to Shine.”  Fred is a proud 72-year resident of Winnetka.  After retiring from the daily commute to downtown Chicago Fred now enjoys collecting and reselling antiques and memorabilia.  He said that people don’t often realize that among their ‘junk’ there may be some hidden valuable items.
The day’s speaker was Ed Gogol whose topic was “Aid in Dying, the Ultimate Right.”  Ed is the president of Final Options Illinois.  The organization is part of the Death with Dignity movement that is gaining momentum in the U.S.  The majority of doctors today support a change that would permit the medical profession to assist patients in dying.  Final Options Illinois was founded in 1984 as an independent voice working to establish the right to aid-in-dying for all mentally competent adults who are suffering intolerably and irremediably.  They believe that even with the best palliative care, suffering can be very intense at the end of one’s life.   Aggressive medical treatment can also be very painful. They also believe that the person in that situation should have the choice to end their own life and should be able to employ the assistance of a doctor. Thus the goal of the movement is to legalize Death with Dignity, in each state.  It is currently legal in five states – Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and California.   A number of other states are getting close to passing the needed legislation.  Currently in Illinois doctors are not legally allowed to assist a person who wishes to end their suffering without fear of the law.  Though it is widely believed that some physicians will assist by increasing the dosage of painkillers, such as morphine.  Where it is legal two doctors must agree that the patient is mentally competent and the condition is terminal, generally with six months to live and the patient must self-administer the lethal drugs.  In many cases drug that the doctors has prescribed is not used but the patient feels more control having possession of such drugs.  In those states where the law permits doctors to assist a patient there has not been a significant rise in the number of assisted suicides.
Mr. Gogol suggested that if we have concerns about how we want to be treated in our last days, we should check with our attorneys about various documents such as Advanced Medical Directives, Durable Power of Attorney and Palliative Care Options.  Final Options believes that it must become a fundamental right to die in peace with dignity.