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For first time readers...my journey begins here: THE VERY FIRST BLOG POST (CC1)

Meaning of life

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." ~ Pablo Picasso

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Circle of Life - Part 2

The Pain

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.

More come...

Peace B

9 comments:

Maureen said...

Oh Brian,

My heart breaks for you. We all know, as we age the time comes faster and faster when we will have to say a final good-bye to our parents. But even with all the preparations we try to make, including emotionally, we really are never ready to say good-bye.

I have to trust that my mother IS in a better place. The last thing I wanted was to face her death, but I couldn't bear to think of her suffering one moment longer then she did. I have to believe that she is with the love of her life that passed away much too early. I have to imagine my father was waiting for her with wide open arms and they are still embracing each other. Your dad will be waiting for his love and they will both be together...free of pain and looking down at you with pride.

Hospice workers are angels on earth and they truly do offer comfort and support. Not only to thier patients, but to the family as well. Accept what they can offer YOU as well.

You are strong and will get thru this and continue to exemplify the qualities of life and living your loving parents instilled in you.

My arms are wrapped around you via cyberspace, but I hope you can feel the support I am sending you.

{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}} to you. May you be able to find peace in this journey.

Frieda and Harry will be watching out for your mom.

Dr. Swill said...

Maureen,

You have been there for me from day one, cheering me on and I love you for that. You always seems to pop up when I need that extra boost. Thank you!

And thanks for the hugs, I need them bad right now.

Peace B

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

Hi Brian, I'm so sorry for all the pain you are going through, personally, as you deal with your momther's pain. You've surely had more than your share of struggles. I hope you are physically doing ok-- with your own health. You are in my thoughts & prayers as you prepare for what lies ahead w/your mom. Take care, Jan

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

So Brian, after reading through your blog (probably not 'thoroughly' but best I could in an hour or so)...I just want to know 'where you are'. Have you had cancer 'return' lately, since 2007? Or did you have the flap partially removed to make more space, but no return of cancer? Also, is the feeding tube gone and you can actually eat? Just trying to get a picture. Sorry if it seems I didn't take it all in...I have...but,in some ways reading it at this point I'm slightly unsure of 'where you are' right now. Catch me up, ok?

Leah said...

Brian,
I cried as I read your post. I am so sorry about this happening to your mom. We always picture our parents as strong and vital, almost immortal.
I recognized my husband in your mom's description. He spends most of his time in bed because of the pain he is in, yet he is not able to get rest, sleep or relief from the pain. This is despite all his meds and his pain pump. It is so frustrating for him and very frustrating for me as I watch him suffer.You are right to support your mom's decision, even though it is almost impossible to accept. I guess everyone has their limits of what they can or will endure.
Brian, please take time each day to breathe and be good to yourself. It is so important for you to recharge at some point each day. You need to take care of you, as well as being there for your mom.
Reach out to supporters when you need to and don't be afraid to ask for that support.
As always, I hold you and your mom in my thoughts and prayers.
Leah

Anonymous said...

DEAR DR. SWILL, I'M SITTING HERE CRYING FOR YOU AND YOUR DEAR MOM.WHEN I LOST MY OLDEST BROTHERS JUST A FEW YEARS AGO, I WANTED TO DIE WITH HIM.WE WERE SO CLOSE BUT AFTER I GOT OVER THE DEEP HURT I WAS HAPPY FOR HIM BECAUSE THE PAIN OF CANCER AND OPEN HEART SURGERY ALL IN ONE YEAR HURT ME AS MUCH AS IT HURT HIM. I FINALLY LOOKED AT HIS DEATH AS A JOY. HE WAS FREE AND DIDN'T HAVE TO PRETEND ANYMORE JUST TO HELP US GET THROUGH HIS PAIN. BREATHE MY FRIEND JUST BREATHE. GRANNY TG

Anonymous said...

I would appreciate more visual materials, to make your blog more attractive, but your writing style really compensates it. But there is always place for improvement

Maureen said...

Brian,

I think your blog is PERFECT the way it is. I come here to read about YOU and not the graphics around it. I do hope you will continue to allow us to ride along on your journies with you. As we travel down the road of life, the bumps aren't as bumpy when there are people keeping us company.

Anonymous said...

IT'S BEEN A WHILE. ARE YOU OK?

GRANNY TG

Words To Live By:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others." -Mahatma Gandhi