“A HOSPITAL IS A PLACE”
A hospital is a place I hope to never see again once I leave. However, I am not able to leave.
As I walk to my car, I might feel a momentary rush of freedom. It feels like I’ve been released from a prison. However, the “hospital prison” simply follows me. I am relentlessly pursued.
My phone is about to ring at any moment. The call is most certainly about my punishment for even thinking about escaping!
A hospital is a place where my appetite is outside of the realm of my own body. I feel like I never want to eat again, and yet in a moment I am easily overwhelmed with voracious hunger. I eat whatever is most easily available and am astonished how the hunger can be overwhelming while at the same time food has no taste.
A hospital is a place where I watch those I love reduced to their most human condition. I scream for their pain and fight to remain calm and soothing all at the same time.
A hospital is a place where the utmost intelligence is required to make unbelievably, challenging decisions. At the same time that intellect is necessary for “quick thinking,” all decisions end up coming from the heart and not the brain.
A hospital is a place where I am so important that every other part of my life is miniscule. Nothing matters except my being there.
A hospital is a place where a story is unfolding. The story has a beginning, middle, and a clear ending where there is no mystery.
A hospital is a place that has taught me how to truly travel. I have learned to travel to destinations in my mind where I am uplifted and sane. I used to travel to beautiful vistas and scenes of my own creation. Now I travel to places that are filled with musical scores.
10 p.m., December 31st – Friday evening
Message to a friend:
This is probably the most difficult decision of my life.
It is very, very hard to disagree with doctors. Certainly their expertise is in keeping patients alive. But my mother’s quality of life has been rapidly diminishing. This would be a difficult surgery for her to recover from. I don’t want to put her through it, even though there’s a chance she could “physically” recover. What good is a recovery if her mind is gone? Her panic and fear would be worsened. At the moment, she seems to be accepting her bedridden situation and her pain is manageable.
Even if she were able to walk again (which is unlikely) – she would probably sustain another fall since she doesn’t understand she’s not supposed to walk unassisted. She would be placed in the Alzheimer’s unit to be watched and I know she has been terrified of moving there. In fact, her fall resulted from her general unhappiness and misery over her predicament – she hates living in this dependent state.
That is pretty much what I gathered from discussing this with her. Not that she’s in a “state of mind” to make a decision, but I certainly wanted her input.
My mother’s dementia has been “unsolvable” and rapidly progressing. Although she might certainly have a chance with successful hip surgery, I’m not sure she wants her life extended in that way. I know that sounds horrible to say, but mentally it’s not going to get better and likely to rapidly worsen.
At this moment, she already has a possible, respiratory infection going on. My father has already stated that if she has pneumonia he won’t allow her to be intubated.
I think pneumonia is going to do her in with whatever way we go.
I will make sure that she is comfortable with whatever time is left. Tonight she ate and was smiling all evening. I brought my father with me (against his wishes). We lit Sabbath candles and together sang the blessings. My mother’s face was truly radiant.
I have reached a place in my life where I truly trust my intuition. I have worried that I am selfish in wanting to make things “end quicker.” Is it easier for me? The truth is that I don’t want my mom on this earth any longer than she has to be if it means she is suffering.
I have always said this. Far worse than death is to see someone you love suffer. I love my mom too much for that and I’m willing to let her go instead.
This is all certainly painful, but I do feel much stronger than last year. I have really transformed over this year, and it has helped me a lot.
A SUPPORTIVE MESSAGE:
On Dec 31, 2010, Nancy wrote:
I am thinking of you.
I certainly cannot help with your decision, but I can say that whatever you decide will be the BEST decision you could make. It has to be. And it must be left at that – no matter what. That’s all there is. We cannot turn back the clock. Trust the decision you make and it is out of your hands.
You are a loving and caring daughter seeking all the advice and wisdom you can find. That is the most you can do. You are doing the right thing for your mom and your family.
Love you Judy,
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