Monday, July 12, 2010

When the time comes ...

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So is an angiogram advisable for a woman with advanced lung disease? If they find a blockage and put in a stent, will it make a difference? Is it time to talk about comfort, dignity and unfortunately - reality?

Today someone said "end of life issues" and "end stage COPD". I don't think they meant Mom isn't going to graduate from this hospital stay, but were suggesting a different view, a different approach to her illness and acute episodes. It can't be fixed. COPD is incurable, the lungs just don't work after a while. And as much as I miss smoking, watching my mother basically suffocating to death is a real good reason to never start again.

I wish I knew what to expect. Will her heart give out during an acute breathing episode? Will a breathing episode become so acute she passes out and then needs to be kept sedated? What happens when someone dies from COPD, emphysema type? Does it have to be violent?

Morbid, yes. Not something pretty or blog fodder for that matter. But I have to think about it. I have to know what I am preparing myself for. If any family will be there with her when it happens it will be me, and probably my daughter. Is there a peaceful way for her to go? Is there a way for her to pass gently without gasping for breath and straining for air? Because I would want to choose that for her.

She doesn't want to die. But if she must, I want to choose the easiest route for her. Do I get to pick?

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6 Comments:

Tonya said...

I think it is time to consult a lawyer and her Dr. They can help you and your mother make decissions based on what she wants. That is what we did after my mothers last heart attack. It gives you peace of mind in knowing that the choices are made and you are free to spend those last days with your mother. That's my advice for what it's worth.

Diane at Crafty Passions said...

My Mom had lung cancer, it wasent breathing believe it or not that was her problem but pain from millions of little tumors eating away at the spine.(She smoked every day for more than 50 years)I kept asking for morphine when ever she was in pain.That kept her more or less asleep,and she died in her sleep.The less painful way to go of course, I could not stand to see her in pain any longer.The nurses wanted her to ask for it, boy did i straighten them out, my mother asked me in the beginning to be her voice and I was to the best of my ability.Who knew my mother better than me,certainly not some nurse who could care less and only saw an old dying woman.BettJo do your best for her that's all you really can do
Diane

Lavender said...

BetteJo, I will be keeping you both in my thoughts. Hugs here if youd like them.

The Beading Gem said...

Bette Jo - my heart goes out to you and your family.

Susannah said...

Oh, my dear friend. I'm so sorry to read this. I think Tonya's advice is really good. Get as much in place as you can, with good advice. Then you will know you've done all you can.

I'm praying for you, dear one.

Lady Banana said...

Difficult times for you BetteJo...