Friday, July 10, 2009

Perspective

In just a few months, it appears my mother-in-law has aged ten years. She has lost her teeth again. Still, she smiles as if they were in place in all their enamel glory.

The doctor says her lungs are no worse than they were a year ago which is only because no one will buy her cigarettes. The fluid on the brain is significantly worse. And this is where we are having problems.

She can no longer walk. Her memory is for crap basically gone.

But she is happy. In her world, she is picking weeds, going to work, teaching dance lessons, and entertaining the annoying neighbors. She is even going to the dentist. Her husband who died 5 years ago is still paying the bills. She is happy.

And yet, she is no longer who we knew before. She is but mostly she isn't.

The doctors talked with us about having a shunt inserted to relieve the pressure off her brain. It isn't a complicated procedure. The complication lies in getting her off the respirator. There is a strong chance she won't be able to come off that respirator. Her lungs are that bad. And this scares me for her.

What if we have this shunt put in and it works? It would be great to know that she is able to realize the world around her and to once again carry on a real conversation. But what if she is never able to come off the respirator?

I know there are things worse than death. Isn't that it?

36 comments:

♥ Braja said...

Yeah, that'd be it....or at least, one of them....decisions like that are crushers....

Jan said...

I'm with Braja on this one. Jesus, girl, I'm sorry.

Beth said...

Braja and Jan - I really feel for my husband in this situation. I know he just wants his mom back. I think it just may be too big a chance to take.

beth said...

that is so hard. good luck with the decision making. reading it makes me think "if she is happy and somewhat comfortable now, why put the shunt in and make her aware of the respirator/discomfort/etc." but, i would want my mom back, too. so sorry for your family.

TechnoBabe said...

What do you and your husband think his mom would want if she were able to tell you? Did she ever say either verbally or in writing what her wishes would be if she were unable to decide for herself? Best wishes to you and your family.

Jules said...

Wow. That's a difficult decision. Both of my grandmas have dementia and that's hard. But I do think living on a respirator is worse than death. My opinion.

only a movie said...

Oh, Beth. What a decision. Hugs for your family...

Michele said...

Oh Beth ~ I'm so sorry. That's such a tough decision to make. When my mom got really back with Alzheimer's, they ended up putting her on a respirator and that's how she died. It was so sad...she didn't know anything that was going on.

Big hugz to you and your family...
Michele

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Oh Beth, Big hugs and that's all I've got. The tough stuff. Hate it.

M.J. said...

Wow...that's a really tough call to have to make. Since she is happy, I would be inclined to leave well enough alone and let nature takes its course.

Candice said...

It's times like these when you wish you could see into the future, right?

I wish I knew the right answer for you, Beth.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Big hugs from Hawaii. This is a tough one.

The Nice One said...

Wow, this is tough. Whew.
Best wishes making tough decisions.

Congrats on u signing up for a half. Go!!!!

K13 said...

ohhh, that IS a tough spot to be in. I wonder why the docs even suggested it really...there is alot to say about QUALITY of life.

Bee and Rose said...

Sending you lots of hugs and prayers...I think about this kind of thing where my husband is concerned daily...it's just really tough to know..{{{Big hugs, Beth}}}

Mrs. K said...

oh that's awful (the decision to make)...i hope youguys find some answers...i'm awful at this.

lakeviewer said...

These decisions are never easy.

mo.stoneskin said...

I don't know what to say but you have my thoughts, hope you find peace and comfort as things pan out.

Anonymous said...

This is a hard decision, I know. If she had something set up for a situation like this that is best. My Dad had Alzhiemers and while he was still in his right mind, wrote down what he wanted done. He also told my brother and Mom. When it came time he had no respirator( he didn't want it).It was really hard to watch him die, but it was what he wanted and what had to be done. That is all that kept me going, I really lost him two years before because he forgot me.His body going was just prolonged pain for us and him. I do think there are worse things though he could have been in pain and your mother in law could be in pain. But she isn't right. It seems that it would be more pain to do that stuff to her than just let her be and enjoy her life as she sees it.It hurts I really know that but what is best for her is more important than having Mom back. It won't never be the same and I don't mean to hurt you saying that. It was really hard to accept for me, but it is the only way I got through it.I will keep you in my prayers.

Elisa said...

Sorry didn't mean to push anonymous,

Michel said...

Shit Beth! I'm so sorry that is a hideous decision to have to make! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!

So sorry!

Funny Girl said...

I feel for you....my beautiful mama is in the hospital again. It's a hard time for all. I will pray for you and your family and for your mother in law.

Funny Girl said...

I soooo feel for you right now....my beautiful mama is in the hospital again with many health issues related to diabetes. You and your family and your mother in law are in my prayers.

Optimistic Pessimist said...

keeping you in my thoughts. I'm sure you will make the best choice you can.

otin said...

Beth, you have to ask yourself what decision that she would have made if you had asked her the question when she was herself. "Would you like to be on a respirator and not be of sound mind, or would you rather be on a respirator and have your life and memories in your mind?" What would you say if that question were posed to you? If I were in her situation, I think that I would want to know my family,be able to remember my children, even if it was only for a short time!

Kulio said...

Oh, this is so hard.

Does your gut tell you anything?

Saying a prayer.

Joanna Jenkins said...

My heart is with you. These are tough decisions to make. xoxo

Reinvent Dad said...

What a difficult decision for your family. So many what ifs, maybes & outcomes. I'd take a deep breath (well a lot of them), pray and let nature take its course. I hope your mother-in-law finds peace.

Vodka Mom said...

wow- that was something else.

I don't know what to say, except that I am thinking of you and your husband...and your mother-in-law.


whew.

Comedy Goddess said...

I am sorry. At some point I may have to make a similar decision, and I am praying for loving guidance. Peace be with you all.

Gaston Studio said...

A terrible situation Beth, and I feel so for you and your hubby. Sending prayers and hugs your way for all.

H.K. said...

That is such a difficult situation! Sometimes I don't know which is worse, for the mind to be somewhere else and have a healthy body or have the mind have full clarity while the body doesn't function. But, in this case it seems like your MIL has both! It's hard to see a parent suffer like that, my mother went thru two bouts of cancer.

Sending you prayers & hugs across cyberspace!

carma said...

So sad to hear this. Cigarettes ruin lives :-(

Marinka said...

I'm so sorry. What a decision. My thoughts are with you all.

dizzblnd said...

You are all in my prayers! It is not easy to watch someone you love go through that.

If she is happy in her world.. who are e to decide to take that away from her.

But if she is also suffering, you want to ease that.

Prayers, thoughts and lots of hugs to you all on a heart wrenching decision

Southern Drawl said...

I am so sorry; it's so hard to watch our loved ones fade away...