Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The dying process

The dying process is underway. Mom, who is 88 years old, was unresponsive in her care facility sunday afternoon. The aides did what they are instructed to do - call 911. The EMS immediately put her on a ventilator when it was determined that she was not breathing. She was taken to the ER, and then to ICU. After a series of tests, it was determined that there's "nothing wrong" other than she stopped breathing. The aides in her care facility "interrupted"the dying process. So then the decision is on the family to remove the ventilator. Mom bore 10 children, one of which is now deceased. That leaves 9 to weigh in on the decision.
Mom has a living will, and being artificially sustained is against her wishes. The decision was made to remove the ventilator. We were fully prepared for her to expire once the tube was removed. That was nearly 24 hours ago. She's still breathing on her own.
They moved her out of ICU and into a hospice house. No IV's. No needles, no tests, no tubes, no noise. Peace and comfort. It's just a matter of time, now.
Mom mumbles, gets anxious, loops language, calls out. She mentions names that we can associate with family members who have passed.
I have never feared dying, only the pain that might be associated with it. We asked mom if she was in pain. The nurse was ready with a shot of morphine. Mom said no. She's a tough old bird. Her maiden name is Kessler. Give a clue? She's a stubborn german!!
The dying process. Transition. Passing. All terms and expressions that have little meaning until you are thrust in the middle of it. What do we hold on to, and why?
This is a life-changing event. Undoubtedly. It will change the lives of all my brothers and sisters and of many people who have been brought together and kept together because of one frail little woman called Kathryn Therese DeMars.
May God Bless Her and Keep Her.

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