There comes a time when we will all have to make the biggest decision of our life. Not a life altering decision, but a life ending one. When is it time to just stop fighting and let the circle of life come to its close? Will your weary body let you know or perhaps you’ve fought so long that you just want it to end?
You live years with the pain, the doctors, the hospitals and emergency rooms, the endless rehab visits that become longer with each episode…the misery as you watch your life savings spent on nurses, caregivers, and mounds of medications… fighting endlessly with each life prolonging measure. Years upon years of fighting and you are drained beyond all hope. The pain becomes so intense that you finally just want it all to end. It's time to fly with bluebirds over the rainbow.
The BIG Decision
With this last hospital visit my mother has given up her fight. The hospital doctor has suggested hospice (palliative care) and for the very fist time, mother agreed on her own accord. With tears streaming down her cheeks she pleads, “I can’t do this anymore. I just want it to stop.” This has been a decision in the making for 20 years, and now she is ready. Me…not so much.
Typically, hospice will evaluate a patient and decide if they are indeed hospice ready. There is little doubt with mom’s history, she will qualify, and she does. She probably qualified years ago by hospice standards.
February 3, 2010
After two doctors agree, hospice reviews medical records and they feel mom has less than 6 months to live, hospice is ordered. Mom accepts this and preparations are made to bring her home and keep her comfortable until the finale.
These are her wishes. There have been a few times, when she was unable to speak for herself, with Power of Attorney over her, I’ve overridden her DNR (Do Not Resuscitate – No Extreme Measures.) An order set in motion in writing when her Living Trust was formed. This time she speaks for herself, and this time I painfully respect and understand her decision.
There has been no quality of life for many years. Private nurses and caregivers have been her only regular visitors for almost 2 years. She has rarely left her bed for more than a few hours a day, too weak to go anywhere, too many medical complications, and far too many pills artificially keeping her alive and almost pain free, but never fully. She calmly signs the hospice paperwork and I leave to prepare for her final homecoming. My heart aches.