He had packed a fatal dose of morphine to kill himself quickly if need be.
Getting morphine and other killer drugs was not difficult in those faraway days.
Now government, in league with the sanctimonious, has locked the medicine cabinet, making it more difficult — and more messy at times — to do yourself in.
Some years back a good friend came down with cancer. He was a smart man who looked to the future. During a mining career in his younger days, he had access to cyanide. Like Roosevelt, he squirreled some away.
His cancer, uncharacteristically, was not accompanied by extreme pain, but he grew weaker and weaker. One night he took the cyanide and died peacefully.
That he could do so was a grand thing.
It turned out that Roosevelt did not need that morphine, and his expedition into the Amazonian jungle — filled with Stone Age Indians, insect swarms, snakes and piranhas — survived.
No one knows when he will sail down a similar River of Doubt.
And nobody has the right to stop you from killing yourself. It is a personal decision.
* * * *
* Later renamed the Rio Roosevelt.