I don’t need validation for my decision. For once, I thought the alternatives through and made an informed choice.
I’m posting this for the benefit of people who might be facing the same choice and might be helped by following my logic.
Up until now, Mom has lived on her own next door to me, and I took care of her.
Back in the late 1990s, Mom was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, which was causing her dry eyes and dry mouth. It can also cause fuzzy thinking, difficulty swallowing, and lymphoma.
Long story short, all those things happened, plus a stroke. The difficulty swallowing led to her inhaling food and pills instead of swallowing them, and operations to remove stuff from her lungs. She elected to have a feeding tube inserted. She hasn’t had anything by mouth since 2012.
The last time she was in the hospital, I took over her accounts. Fuzzy thinking got her where she lives — she, who was head of the accounting office for Corning Glass Works’ Ceramic Products Division.
She’s gotten too shaky to do her own feeding and give herself her medicines.
Her doctor has put her on oxygen 24/7 and nebulizer treatments twice a day. Her doctor has also diagnosed her with mild and worsening dementia.
If anything happened to me, from a bad cold to sudden death, nobody else could take care of her. I found that out, the last time I left her with relatives at her own home for a weekend. Two very smart people couldn’t do it all. So if anything happened to me, she would have to go into a facility then, which would be disruptive for someone with dementia.
She’s pushing a feeding pole around the house, while navigating through coils of oxygen tubing. So far, so good, but a fall could be disastrous. She has a LifeAlert button, but I’m not confident she would remember to push it; if she was unconscious, she couldn’t push it.
If she stayed in her own home, she would have to have someone there all the time; that’s three 8-hour someones who could administer feedings and medicine and could tell whether her nausea and pain are serious or are a physical reaction to not wanting to take a shower or go to the doctor. If she was seriously ill, there would be the difficulty of getting her to the ER or the doctor and all the fuss and upset to her of that process.
She could live at my house, but she still would be unhappy not to be in her own home and still wouldn’t have a professional on site to assess her health. If she fell or needed professional attention, we would still have to get her from here to there. Not easy, if we’re iced in back here in the woods.
A few years ago, an ice storm took out our electricity for nine days. It was several days before we could get to the road. Oxygen pump? Feeding pump? Both take electricity.
She doesn’t agree, but I decided it was time for her to have professional care and constant oversight in an environment that will always be stable, safe, and electrified.
When this all began, she bought herself a long-term care policy, which is now paying off. She’s under long-term hospice care, too, and they’ll help me make sure all is well with her in between my frequent visits.
If you’d like to send her a card, let me know.
I’m posting today at Fatal Foodies about Fruit Salad With Bear-Whippin’ Sauce.
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: A character makes a difficult decision that is not well-taken.