I survived yesterday! Yay! Hurray!
It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was afraid of lots of tears, but it didn't happen. Maybe it was because I was busy with the paperwork. Steve, on the other hand, came home emotionally exhausted because he had been trying to keep my mom's spirits up and keep her from feeling overwhelmed and depressed with the topic. That is one of the many reasons I love the man!
Anyway, I gave my mom the letter I wrote and talked to her about it a bit. I was about an hour early, so there was no rush or hurry. Then Steve came in, then Debbie, my sister, followed by the case worker. The case worker explained the form, dropped it off with my mom along with a pen, and then left us to work out the details.
The details were the hard part: do you want a feeding tube? the choices were never. of course. for a limited time. .... my mom chose for a limited time. My sister jumped on that, because her bias is against feeding tubes. She was a home heath care nurse for a lot of years and in her experience most people wished they wouldn't have gotten them after the fact. On the other hand, because Michael has one and has had it for 7 years, I have absolutely no hang ups about them and I'm fine. To me it is just another way to eat, so I resisted and asked if my mom understood the consequences of no feeding tube. *That* was the hard part: making sure she understood the consequences of using or not using a certain thing, and also preparing for the worst of life's circumstances, "Okay, if you are like grandma and have alzheimers or dementia, do you want...." Very uncomfortable.
Of course *she* didn't want to think about it and tried to change the subject and talk about her bills instead. Boy that says a lot about how much she *didn't* want to talk about her advanced directive choices! *Bills* were the wished for topic!
We got out of her that she doesn't want them to just keep her alive if her living situation would be awful. She doesn't want a ventilator. She doesn't want any extras (antibiotics, dialysis, etc.) if she gets where she doesn't recognise friends and family or is in a vegetative state. Very uncomfortable stuff.
I was put in charge of documenting her wishes. So I was hell-bent that *she* say exactly what she wanted and that she totally understood what the consequences are. Like when she said that she wouldn't mind a feeding tube for a limited time. I made sure that she understood that if that is what she chose she knew it meant that she would probably die from lack of food and water when they take it out...who wants to think about that?
I encourage all of us, while we are healthy, to sit down and look at the questions on an advanced directive / living will and at least start thinking about what we want and to *make our wishes known*. Because of that paper, we will be in charge of our life even when we *can't* be in charge of our life, because our coherent, conscious self now can take care of our incoherent, unconscious self later. And we won't have to take a good, hard look at death's face when its standing too close already.
ON A MORE HAPPY NOTE! Over at i have to say..., she is giving away remnants from bolts of fabric she sells on Etsy. She has some adorable prints, so go stick in an entry!
Take care of yourselves!