Saturday, February 9, 2013

choosing sides




     The doctor was waiting. A decision was necessary, and it was up to me.
     It was time to take my mother off the medicine prolonging her life. The kindly doctor, who had assisted me the entire time she had lived in the nursing home with her dementia, told me that if it were his mother, that is what he would do.
     The pneumonia would keep returning, and mom’s lungs would fill up more and more frequently. This dosage would keep her going for about three weeks. The next time the medicine would work for half that time and continue to shorten. I could read from the doctor's face what he was trying to say— Let her die gracefully. But, could I accept this?
     “Put it in God’s hands. It is time,” he said with compassion in his eyes.
     I screamed out, “No. No. I don’t want her to die. I don’t want my mother to leave me.”
      I jumped up from the chair and paraded around the small office space with anger trying to walk away from this discussion pretending that it wasn’t happening.
     Almost immediately I thought about what had come out of my mouth. I wasn’t meaning that, and I returned to my seat regaining my composure and listening again as the doctor explained what would be the course of action.
     “ Her body will shut down gently and she will go into a coma. She will feel no pain.”
     “When? How much time?”
     “It will take a week, and then she will be at peace, both her body and mind.”
     There was a lot to take in and I nodded in agreement tears pouring down my cheeks. This seemed like the right path. I must not second-guess myself.
     I made the choice and left it in the hands of God.