Doesn’t Mean You Die Even When You Decide To
Posted by terrepruitt on April 1, 2014
HOLY MOLY!!!! Sigh. Ok, I feel that since I started it, I need to continue with it. Right? I mean, it is not my intention to make my blog all about death, but since I asked for love and support, I think it is only fair that I give you all an update. I sat with my mother in her hospital room for roughly seven days. During that time she was presented with an option that would have been extremely painful and risky. The surgeon gave three scenarios that could occur and two of them pretty much ended with immediate death, so she opted to skip the procedure and just spend her last days with a tube down her throat, unable to speak and unable to cry. She entertained visitors. Not many because it was exhausting to her. She also was asked to pick the day on which she would have the tube removed. The thoughts were that her trachea is so encroached with cancer and would be so traumatized by the tube that when they pulled it out she would not have much time before she died.
Regarding the procedure mentioned — for those that are curious — it was a stent. A stent was to be placed in the trachea. The idea was that it would hold open the collapsing trachea so that she could breathe. But, it would only be for a few days. The stent is not a permanent or even semi-permanent solution. It is also metal and rigid, it would not have flexed and moved. It would have been very uncomfortable/painful, because the trachea moves.
She did not want to go. She had a lot left she wanted to do. Knowing she couldn’t do ALL that she wanted to do before she died, she thought she could at least do SOMETHINGS. So she decided to have the tube removed on Monday. She made that decision on a Wednesday. It is MY belief that if she knew all that she would have to go through between Wednesday, March 26th, and Monday, March 31st she would not have picked that day. But she wanted to at least get her Easter cards written out. She also wanted to advise me of who gets what in the stack of Christmas gifts she already bought. She also wanted to spend as much time with her family as she could — who wouldn’t, right? But in order to do so she suffered a lot. The medical professionals taking care of her were always there to administer the drugs she needed so she wouldn’t be in pain, but those drugs made her groggy and unable to think clearly so sometimes I think she held off a bit. Plus the procedures that need to be done to allow someone to breath through a tube are not comfortable. So anyway . . .
We got to visit for several days. As I have said several times, she was unable to talk with the tube in her throat. She also was unable to cry because the contractions that happen when one cries caused too much pain. Normally I would not tell someone not to cry because crying is such a great release. I believe crying is good for the BMES – ha, yes, that is a Nia acronym. It helps clear the tear ducts and allows for a physical release. Crying helps clear the mind also. It is an emotional release as well as a spirit helper so to me, it is a good thing. So if you want to cry, cry — except while you are driving or you have tube down your throat and it hurts too much.
I was there until Friday night. I got home around midnight on Friday. I came home to do some laundry, teach a yoga class, do some paper work, and pick up my husband. We went back up Saturday night. We visited all day Sunday and waited around for 1:00 pm on Monday. We all were under the impression that at 1:00 pm it would happen. But we all forgot that “hospital time” is not exact. They do things — even scheduled things — around other things. So our 1:00 pm scheduled extubation turned into 2:28 pm. I trusted the medical staff (although it turned out not to be who we were told it would be) would see that she was not in pain, but we still didn’t know if there would be any gasping and gagging and who knows. I was confident that it would not be a long time after. I saw the MRI of the trachea/esophagus area. Nurses and doctors helped convince me that it would be quick. Well it was not. We are going into our 29th hour. While my mom is so medicated she doesn’t know what is going on and she feels no pain . . . this is NOT what she would have wanted. Lingering on. In fact every visitor that came to visit her while I was there, her answer to their comment of “I’m praying for you.” was “Pray that I don’t linger.” Again, I am at a loss.
Yes, we all have ideas as to why she has not died . . . . she is not ready . . . . she is doing it in her own time (something we call Natural Time in Nia) . . . ALL TYPES of ideas . . . but really we don’t know. All that I know is that this is really hard on my dad. This is not a case where she might revive and be ok. This is not a hopeful, “Oh, I’ll sit by your bedside until you are awake.” This is a grueling death watch. Judge me anyway you want, I left last night. I didn’t want to see her as I know she would not want to be. I didn’t want to hear the “death rattle”. Ugh! Since it is hard on my dad, if it drags on until the weekend I will go back up.
Well, this post is way longer than I like to have my post, but I really wanted to let you know what the status is. Also . . . I guess it helps to write it out. One more thing . . . I believe that I would not have been able to handle this if it weren’t for all of you. So many people have “come out of the wood work” to share and support and deliver sparkles. So thank you all for sharing and caring and giving. I have not been told I am loved or said, “I love you” this much in as many days before in my life.
Please keep up with those thoughts, prayers, stories, sparkles, and all that jazz. It REALLY helps!