Friday, 18 July 2008

An easy death?

From looking at the Ohio Conservative Friends' e-mail discussion about abortion I can across a mention of euthanasia and it brought back to me my mother's recent death. Myself and my two sisters' were unanimous when told by her doctor about what we should do. There was no discussion, though we had all obviously been thinking given that she had survived for longer than expected. She had cancer of the pancreas and secondaries had formed, one blocking her bowel. Having been taken into hospital they had to operate urgently because of this blockage. As they went in her bowel ruptured. They cleaned up as best they could and we were called to the hospital for the death watch - I'm sorry but I can't put it any other way.She revived in terms of her heart and, at times, could speak though I would ask her questions and she would grip my hand to say yes when I asked if she needed more morphine etc.. However her kidneys failed to work. We were given the possible outcomes. As I had an old lover die in a few weeks with cancer of the pancreas only 4/5 months before I knew the speed it grew.My sisters and myself were presented on the Sunday evening with the choices: take away all but palliative care, try dialysis but that would involve them finishing the operation they had begun on the Friday night and waiting until they could put a bag in plus dialysis. This meant 3/4 days a week travelling across town for treatment and she would not have been able she could do all she had before in terms of going to the market, visiting my sisters and coming to 'run me round' - she should have bought the 'tooit'. We opted to wait until the Monday morning to see if her kidneys did work. They didn't. They waited until the three of us were there and started to turn off the equipment except palliative care. She lived for nearly thirty six hours longer with her children and grandchildren around her as much as possible.I'm telling this story because I got the distinct impression that all should be done to maintain life and too a point I agree with this but where does maintaining life become the issue of keeping life for your own sake/wellbeing and when is it the best course of action for the sick person.This is not the 1st time I've been involved in this but the 1st time involving someone so close. No matter what others' think I am convinced that we all showed our mother the greatest form of love even though it created tremendous pain for us.No matter what arguments are presented I can only feel happy about what we did and how without discussion we had agreement - would anyone do anything other?In Friendship and memory of Edna Lawless 24/1/1926 - 22/1/2008.Peter

1 comment:

Heather said...

It's always a hard thing to do, to accept the death of a parent, and I'm glad you have such peace about how your mother was treated. It sounds like you all did the right thing.

Just because we can prolong life now, it doesn't always mean we should.