Month: March 2014
One of my kids favorite books…and mine.
W;t opens this Sunday at The Majestic Theatre in Corvallis.
The following link from an article at Web MD by Denise Mann entitled:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
“Number 3, number 3, I want number 3.” my mom said. She was frantically pointing at the whiteboard where the doctor had written down 3 options for us to consider. She had heard the news minutes before that she had terminal brain cancer. The options were:
1) Chemo and Radiation to possibly prolong her life.
2) Biopsy to see if they could determine the scope and type of cancer. (Which would likely point to chemo and radiation to prolong her life.)
3) Do nothing. Go home and enjoy your life.
We were all in shock. She had been so healthy and vibrant for a 79 year old grandmother. Active in church, driving her little red car around the state to visit her grandchildren. Writing and researching history and genealogy projects. It wasn’t fair.
We pressed the doctor to give us an amount of time. He looked at the ground and said 8 months…18 at the outside.
Well, that was some time.
It was clear that mom didn’t want to live the rest of her life with invasive treatments that wouldn’t allow her to live.
She went right home from the hospital and got busy getting ready for Christmas. Presents for the grandkids and her own kids and thier spouses. She went to visit family and say goodbye. 3 weeks later we all had Christmas together.
3 days after Christmas I came back to spend the day with her. It was 9:30 in the morning. My father was lying on the couch sleeping and the Christmas tree was still up but in the process of being undecorated. There were boxes around the floor where my mom had been attempting to sort the decorations but apparently had given up.
I helped her finish taking down the tree and vacuumed the living room. Then we sat down to look at her book she had put together for end of life wishes. She had been so prepared. She had already had her doctor sign and complete a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR) several years prior. She had put in place a cremation plan that was all paid for. Even had suggestions for a celebration of life. She was clear.
I tucked her in bed that evening and headed back to Corvallis for the dress rehearsal the next day of The Majestic Reader’s Theater Company production of Isn’t it Romantic.
On Saturday morning my dad called and said my mom hadn’t gotten herself out of bed that morning and wouldn’t take her pills or eat or talk. We sent my sister in law over to try to get her to eat lunch but she would only eat one bite and then went to bed. That evening I had a Skype session with my sisters, sister in law and my dad. We decided that my sister would drive down that evening to stay with her.
The next day, Sunday, were the performances of Isn’t it Romantic. I got a call from my sister who was inconsolable saying that our mom wasn’t responsive.
With the director’s blessing and support from the cast I made the tough decision not to go through with the performance that day and drove down to be with my mom through the end of her life.
I was at her side along with the rest of our family through the week and she died early the following Saturday. Less than 4 weeks after she had been diagnosed.
I’m thankful for hospice and all their support as well as my mom’s strength, wisdom and foresight to help us through that time.
Here is a link to Oregon Hospice Association’s page about end of life choices.