Thursday, May 27, 2010

She's over it

Mama is just done. She is weak and weary and the past twelve days have been quite an ordeal for her even though we have managed to fend off the most egregious procedures that the different specialists have wanted to do. This morning she told me she was done, she doesn't want any more food or medicine or treatments. She just wants to go. So we have called hospice in and with their help we can concentrate on making her as comfortable as possible so that the transition will be as peaceful and easy as possible for her. It stinks for us, we will miss her so, so terribly but she is ready and we have to respect that and celebrate her 91+ years and the fact that she will soon be free of her tired and worn out body.

I am learning though, that no matter how much pastoral caregiving, bereavement and/or social work experience you might have it's a whole new and different reality when it's your own Mama who is dying. And it really and truly sucks.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Complicated

Well we have learned that even when you have advance directives in place and a medical surrogate to convey your wishes about invasive procedures, sometimes they happen anyhow. Mama has done all of that and yet, there we were in the ER having to make an immediate decision about putting her on a ventilator. She was rapidly losing her ability to breathe in the midst of a congestive heart failure episode and the nurse was pressing us for a decision. She promised us that it would be A)temporary and B) that she would be sedated the entire time. She lied about B). Well, she didn't lie, she was a wonderful, caring nurse but some hours after the vent had been started Mama's blood pressure tanked and they had to back off of the sedation to counteract that. They did give her morphine and ativan to help try to keep her comfortable but I ended up feeling betrayed and guilt-ridden nonetheless. She was on the vent for 4 days and a feeding tube for 2 (another thing we had discussed and Mama didn't want - more guilt). She's still in ICU with a lot of medical "issues" but we will deal with them. I thank God for wonderful, amazing Dr. G (not the medical examiner one) who runs interference for Mama as her primary care doc and keeps the specialists at bay who are programmed to want to "fix" things even when sometimes it's best that they're simply managed instead. Like I said, it's complicated.