One often finds this phrase used, in newspaper articles, television news, or in simple conversation--a phrase that is punctuated somehow with a sense of deeper implication. It has a certain ring, something that demands a bit more air. Killed instantly.
Why is this significant? Did the deceased have insufficient time to enjoy his demise? Or perhaps it is the survivors who have been short changed by brevity--no time to weep or bring flowers, no time to devote to the passage, and then deposit for later use in fable, in autobiography--all the stuff that constitutes self image.
I should have thought that being killed instantly would be pretty easily preferable to being killed slowly and painfully, with plenty of time to appreciate the process.
Then again, perhaps deep down--I mean really deep down--the truly regretable thing about the instantaneous nature of this sort of departure is that it robs the stricken of one last chance for self-examination, of viewing life for once with an objective eye even as the light of the eye dims, to think of things unthought since the silence of the womb--life, spirit, soul, God.
I find at least the latter possibility appropriately touching.
Rituximab, most often associated with the (generally unsuccessful) treatment of cancer is now being talked about more and more in connection with the treatment of MS (as well as a handful of other innocent diseases). It is, they say, exciting news. The good news about this particular drug is that it is not very likely to kill instantly (although it is certainly possible). The thing about chemotherapy (i.e. the use of toxic chemicals on the vital systems that sustain human life) is that it's a process, as is made apparent in the therapy part of chemotherapy.
These things take time.
I read this in an online description of Rituximab, which may or may not be pertinent:
WARNING: FATAL INFUSION REACTIONS, TUMOR LYSIS SYNDROME (TLS), SEVERE MUCOCUTANEOUS REACTIONS, and PROGRESSIVE MULTIFOCAL LEUKOENCEPHALOPATHY (PML)Hm. Kind of gives a guy pause to think.