It’s been a week now since my Mom’s primary care physician broke the news to Mom that she’s at the end of her 15 year fight; the last 8 of which have been full-court-press. Being the skeptic that I am, I escalated the issue to her specialist at the transplant institute. I was able to get the specialist and the primary care docs to talk – at the last minute, so a consistent message could be delivered to us.
Unfortunately, that consistent message turned out to be the primary care doc’s message – it is over. He confirmed with the specialist that a transplant is not in the cards – my Mom has deteriorated too far to return. He indicated that she is in her last year of life. He said we would now move to comfort measures and stop running to the hospital as often. He is strongly advocating Hospice at this point and providing palliative care with medicine that will make her comfortable.
I interjected – ME – that in addition to making her comfortable, it will also shorten the window in which she will be able to conclude her business of life (visits with family and friends, making final video messages, giving away or assigning possessions, etc.) because with a combined end-stage liver/end-stage renal diagnosis, to make one comfortable means to induce encephalopathy – a great deal of confusion and disorientation.
I also added – ME – that these comfort measures would also shorten her life. The doctor agreed to both of those points, but still thought it best. I was disappointed that I had to bring those points up – it made the ‘sell’ seem a little less objective and a little too ‘hard sell’. It could also be that’s the way I want to see it because it isn’t what I want. How immature would that be!?
I think I am bouncing from denial to anger today – repeatedly. I was really surprised at the lack of compassion with which this message was delivered. His PA was in there ‘observing’ (I am assuming so she could learn how to deliver this message), and was equally as cold. Perhaps they have to be because of the emotion they are trying to fight off, or because they really don’t care. I don’t think it is the latter – I cannot believe that. My Mom does not seem to understand the full implication of what was discussed – and there is probably a fair amount of denial going on with her. This is where Hospice would be beneficial – they can help us navigate this rough terrain.
I am, for the most part, remaining detached today; detached with moments of grief. Combined with that is a fair amount of aggression; likely from a root of anger. Although I had a marvelous day, this evening after this conversation – people in cars were stupid – actually, people in general were stupid, I became impatient with about everyone and everything.
We’ll make it through this and I have a feeling as she continues to deteriorate and it becomes apparent that the only relief will be death that is when I will accept it and know that it is right for her. Until then, I’m sure we’ll be kicking and screaming. But, we’ll be throwing in a fair amount of ‘taking care of business’, just in case. That, in and of itself, has to be a gift. Not everyone is afforded the opportunity to close up shop.
I am so done today. I hope my message is better tomorrow.
- Blessings –