Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hard Choices: Doing the Unthinkable

Mother is at the end of her life.

Mom is in the last stage of her liver disease, which shut down her kidneys, and is in extreme pain. Two weeks ago I delivered the news to her that dialysis was her only choice. I was selfish. I didn't want her to die just yet. I kind of talked her into having it done. While she was having it done, she was voicing her choice that she really didn't want it done.

I honestly thought that she would get better and come home. It wasn't meant to be. She is in intensive care with no hope of recovery. Two days ago, the nurse came to her room to administer dialysis. She told her "No." She then proceeded to take all of the tubes and needles, etc. out of her arms. She even grabbed a nurse by her shirt in an effort to keep her away from her. SHE DOESN'T WANT MORE DIALYSIS TREATMENTS.

My dad called me to tell me that the nurses had called him to tell him this. I called the nurse in hopes of talking my mom into having it done. The nurse told me that she really needs it done right then and there. She was sedated and given dialysis.

She is not breathing on her own, her blood pressure is so low that she needs 2 medicines to keep it at minimum functioning level, her heart is alive because of her defribillator pacemaker. If it senses that her heart rate is dropping, it shocks her. She has a living will that states that she does not want resuscitators or extreme measures taken to prolong her life. We have failed her.

She is in so much pain, is jaundiced, her eyes are yellow, her stomach is enormously swollen, as are her feet, legs and arms. Her face has sunken and is barely recognizable. She has lost her speech ability.

My brothers and sister came 2 weeks ago to see her, so she was satisfied that she had seen all of her children. We all saw how much pain she was in and wished nothing but the best for her.

We all spoke to each other yesterday and came to the consensus that we would rather see her go with her Saviour than watch her suffer any longer. I told my father that we, her children, wished that all equipment, dialysis and test be stopped and that only comfort measures be taken until the end of her life. He refused at first, but then called me about an hour ago and agreed. I am beside myself and ache so badly. Deep down I know that she doesn't want to go on, so we can at least give her her last wish and let her go in peace. If this were happening to me, I would make the same choice.

She tried so hard to be a good christian woman. She tried to keep her family together. She tried.
We didn't have an adversarial relationship, but it was not a really close relationship. Now that she is at the end of her life, I regret the wasted time. I always made sure that my children knew their grandparents and always gave her pictures of the kids. I wish I had done more. Now is too late.

Life sometimes is a bitch, then you die. Let this be a cautionary tale. Mend your fences before it is too late. You only get one life to live and you never know when your number is up.


Anonymous said...

Sending so much love, hugs, prayers, and thoughts your way, Kait. My heart is breaking for you. {hugs}

Anonymous said...

Kait, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. Know that we're all thinking about you and keeping you in our prayers.

Karen Bowers said...

oh kait, i'm so sorry. your family is making very good and very painful decisions. i'll pray for peace and comfort.

sausan said...

My heart goes with you. Let her go. And do not regret what you call wasted time but be thankful for the time you were able to spend together. It may sound easy, in fact it is not. But she will always go on living in your heart.
Hugs and lots of strength

Anna said...


I am thinking of you today and in the days to come... and keeping you and your family in my prayers. I know that there are no real words of comfort here... but know that in my heart I am trying to find them for you.

Anna (AnnaBen)

Anonymous said...

What a terribly sad place to be, Kait. I do so hope that eventually the peace that your mother is about to achieve will find you and your family, too.


Ramona said...

We went through this with our own mother. As hard as it is to let her go, knowing that she is ready is a Godsend. Hugs and prayers your way.

Karen said...


My heart aches for you and your family at this time. I'll be praying for peace and comfort for you, your mother, and the rest of your family at this difficult time.

Karen Maggie

Anonymous said...

Kait, I was so sorry to read about the troubles you and your family are experiencing. I went through this in 2000 when my Dad, after 5 strokes, ended up in a nursing home, something he never wanted..... Many prayers for you and yours. May God grant you peace.


Anonymous said...

Kaitlyn - I visited your blog to get in touch with you regarding a digital layout that we're publishing in Somerset Digital Studio. Your entry brought tears to my eyes ...I am so, so sorry about your mother. I went through a similar situation with my father 14 years ago, and it's so hard. Please know that you & your family are in my prayers. Please email me when you have a moment at Thanks,
Jana Holstein
Managing Editor
Somerset Digital Studio

Vickie said...

I am sorry, Kait. My heart is breaking for you. email me or hop on line if you need to chat or cry. I can give you my phone number or you can give me your so I can call you.

Roberta D'Achille said...

Oh Kait, this is so not a desirable place to be, been there. However, hopefully you will be able to find peace knowing that you are advocating for what she wants when she can't advocate for herself. You are being there for her when she needs you more than she ever has. Prayers and thoughts for your mother, you, and your family. You know how to reach me if you need anything.

Roberta D'Achille

Jenna Jaquez said...

Kait, I am so sorry and my heart aches for you. I had a similar situation with my father 8 years ago. It definitely tough and as someone mentioned aforementioned, it's Godsend she IS ready. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and the good Lord comfort you with his loving arms. Love you girlie....

twinsmomflor said...

I feel for you. I was reading your story and it was like I was reading some of Dad's story. It's so hard to let go. There is no wasted time. You were there when she needed you the most. And, she will be watching you from heaven. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

I lost my dad a year ago to cancer.He fought for so long and finally had enough.After 2 weeks in the hopital he let go.It is so hard to watch someone you love waste away to nothing!My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time!

Donna B. Miller said...

Oh, Kait, I'm so sorry for all of you. It's never easy to say goodbye, but it sounds like your mother is at ease in her own mind with her decision. You're in my thoughts and prayers. HUGS