If I have one, I’ll use it. Ted Kennedy died of a brain tumor, a glioblastoma which carries a literal death sentence. My mother died ten months ago from complications of colon cancer. For the people who think “ObamaCare” involves “death panels” I’ll tell you something. My mother had several surgeries, one which caused irreparable damage because of a surgeon’s mistake. When the cancer recurred my sisters took her against her will in an ambulance, as she had not been able to eat or drink. and she went through a battery of tests.
In the end they said they could do more surgery and perhaps another colostomy and my mother said, in perfect lucidity, NO. No more tests, no more surgeries. The next day she was transferred across the street to a hospice that her pain doctor leads. For two weeks they took stellar care of her, encouraged us to be around and kept her comfortable. What was comfortable for her (talking or not talking) was not comfortable for us but this was about her. In the end my siblings agreed that against their wishes, if she wanted a chaplain to get a priest for last rites, it was up to her and I would organize it. She did and it was a moving moment for us all as we told her of our love for her.
When a terminally ill patient goes into palliative care that is hopefully the patient’s wish or that of his/her family or person designated in a living will. Our mother decided it was the end, that her body had its fill of disease and heartbreak. I would encourage people, especially those who have little family or who aren’t married, to have paperwork in order as soon as possible. I’m working on ours, even though we’ve been married forever, sorry nearly 7 years. We will both do our own papers and sign DNR’s because we don’t trust each other to let the other go. I know that in my heart.
We’ve had our own death panel and know that whatever healthcare system we’re a part of will not disregard our wishes. When Mom died the lead doctor said he never thought she would last two days, much less two weeks. And added that she was a tough lady and he wished he’d had the benefit of knowing her better. Sorry for the sadness, the one-year anniversary is coming up and I’m thinking of Mom a lot. In memoriam, Dee