Cafe Hitch-hike


I tell them, then they show me

Almost 3 years ago, Uncle J. told me he was going to put his mother (my maternal grandma) into hospice:

Another uncle (Uncle Joe) sent me a picture of her in ICU the day before Uncle J. made the decision. I noticed her hands were puffy and her fingers were blue. A geriatrics nurse (once) told me when the skin or lips of a patient on life support starts turning black, they can shut it off without the decision of the family. I figured blue fingers was the gateway to that. With that in mind, I replied (to Uncle J.):

"Hey, it's all right. I think you are making the right choice and stand by you. I've had friends who felt like they should had made that decision sooner for their loved ones, and the loss was much harder from seeing them in so much pain.

We know she fought a damn good fight, and we know you didn't give up easily."

My friend College John talked to me about his mother's issues shortly before she died. I told him to keep her home if he could, and to avoid the hospital as much as he could. Pain management was going to be the key along with her comfort. Sadly, she would have less control over things and feel more pain, and there would be a point where she'd have to get a steady drip so she wouldn't be in such pain. It sucks, but at least she's not in pain. If anything, it gives her a chance to accept it, especially since she did everything she and excellent medicine could do. She would be more comfortable at home, even if- even if -- she tries to micromanage her passing as well.

(How do I know? I know because it's how my birth father passed. He had a peaceful death despite having a bit of a tumultuous life, far more than mine or his daughters.)

"Your mom is scientific, but there's some energetic things involved when they pass (and they both respected physics, so saying it like that would catch their drift). If she is home and more comfortable, the transition will be more comfortable for her. Not painless or easy (because it just isn't), but better (and yes, it's of comfort for them that someone thought of that)."

We had a pause in the conversation, and I felt a vibe from CJ.

"I know because I lost more people than you," I said, firmly and objectively.

I told him, also, that he will need to be prepared to make decisions for her when she is no longer able. Marla could had kept going, but I didn't know if this point would come sooner or later. However, I also told him this:

You cannot make a bad decision. I don't say this because the stakes are that high. It's because I can't think of anyone else who would make a better informed decision about someone they care about than you. Even if something doesn't work, I know that you thought it over as thoroughly as you could (and John and his dad are highly intelligent). So no, you can't make a bad decision! A lot of people can't say that about the people who are supposed to take care of them in a pinch, but your mom definitely could say you made informed decisions.

I said it because it was true. I knew how CJ thought and the high regard he gave his mother (even when she became more difficult in the last 3 years of her life); I didn't think what he expressed to me was fake. CJ took the best care of his mother that he could, and was nowhere near neglectful or assholey towards anything about her care. He followed her wishes to let her be as independent as possible (while running his poor ass into the ground). I think CJ did the best he could with his mother, and I know he will do the same for that quirky, retired Danish-American social worker father of his. His parents were very good to him, and it assures my feelings about the human race that he does the best he can by them. Heck, it makes me want to be better, too.

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