Senator Ted Kennedy, who has represented the state of Massachusetts for almost 50 years, has sent a letter to Governor Deval L. Patrick asking for a change in the Senate vacancy succession policy for the state, further increasing concerns for his present state of health.

Fears have been growing in recent weeks as to the health of Kennedy, who missed the funeral of his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver last week.

Kennedy was also unable to go to the White House to receive the American Medal of Freedom a week before that, and this letter, dated July 2, indicates that he is getting his affairs in order.

“They know its incurable (the brain cancer Kennedy was diagnosed with) but somehow because it was Teddy who battled and won over so much adversity they thought he could beat it,” said a family friend recently. ”Now I think they are starting to believe otherwise.”

Kennedy wrote to the Governor to request that he change state law to be able to appoint an intern Senator between the time a vacancy arises and the election to find a replacement occurs (which is currently 145 to 160 days).

“I therefore and writing to urge you to work together to amend the law through the normal legislative process to provide for a temporary gubernatorial appointment until the special election occurs.   To ensure a fair election process, I also urge that the Governor obtain, as a condition of appointment of the interim Senator, an explicit personal commitment not to become a candidate in the special election,” says Kennedy in the letter.

It would seem that Kennedy is desperately trying to ensure that the state has two members present in the Senate for some of the crucial votes coming up, including the vole on health care reform.

It would also seem that Kennedy knows his days are numbered.

“Serving the people of Massachusetts in the United States Senate has been – and still is – the greatest honor of my pubic life. As I look ahead, I am convinced that enabling the Governor to fill a Senate vacancy though an interim appointment followed by a special election would best serve the people of our Commonwealth and country should a vacancy occur.”