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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

When the end is near

Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011, at 6:48 PM

This is very personal and I don't want it to be a poor me blog.

I'm sure that many of you that follow the blogs and comment on them are old enough to either have been in the situation I'm in now, or will be someday. That situation is the impending death of your last parent and it's affect on your life. Two years ago after a chest x-ray, my Mother was told that there was a growth on her lung, and because of it's location and her age, that there wasn't really much that could be done but wait and watch. My Mother was 93 at the time. My Mother has always been the strong and sensible type so her reaction didn't surprise me. She looked at the doctor and said "You're right". No more, no less. A month ago she called me saying she was having hard time breathing. She didn't call 911, just me. I made the call to 911. To make a long story short, she was taken to the hospital, checked out and had another chest x-ray.

I was the one the doctor talked to first. I was the one that heard the words "Six months to twenty-four months." I was the one asked how much to tell her. Knowing my Mother, the choice was easy. I told the doctor to tell her everything. True to form my Mother didn't crumble. She knew this day was coming, but had put it to the back of her mind and never thought of. I knew and never dwelled on it. It was at the hospital that they discovered that she had lost a lot of her lung function and would have to be on O2 almost all the time. They explained all this to her and asked her what she wanted to do. Her answer again was direct and to the point. "Well since I have been barely able to take care of myself lately, I sure as hell can't go home now." She made the choice I could not and would not make for her. She chose long term care, Hospice care, a nursing home. Call it what you will, it is simply a place to go and wait for the end.

About a decade ago she had filled out a document called The Five Wishes, it went into detail what she wanted, didn't want, and how she expected to be cared for when the end was near. This is a great document that should be filled out by everyone. Later she also gave me her durable health care power of attorney. Another valuable document. The only thing she didn't do was to grant me a general durable power of attorney. That would represent the end of her freedom.

This last month has been filled with work, raising my grandson, and a never ending stream of paperwork and phone calls. There are those who already know I have been an active alcoholic for 30+ years and have only been sober for the last 17 months. These blogs have been a way to hold onto my sanity. An outlet of sorts. Something to help keep my mind occupied. If I seem testy at times, I apologize in advance.

It seems very fitting that I am blogging here as my Mother is a proud Veteran of WW2, and as such her ashes will be interred at the Idaho Veterans Cemetery. In the 6 years she has been here, she has come to love this state.

Thank you once again for the very warm welcome into your community.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
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Thanks Mike

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 9:15 PM

For anyone interested in The Five Wishes, here is a link. You can print it off, you don't need to pay for it. If you do decide to pay for it, consider it a donation of sorts.

http://www.agingwithdignity.org/forms/5w...

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 6:42 AM

Thank you, Mr. Pratt, for sharing your experience and for your kind words about our Five Wishes advance directive. It has helped literally millions of families in the 16 years it has been available nationally. People like it because it's easy to understand and use and covers personal, spiritual and family issues in addition to medical and legal ones. Wish 1 is the durable power of attorney for health care designation. To learn more, go to www.agingwithdignity.org. One of the commenters said it is free, but it isn't. Individual copies are $5 each, but only $1 each in quantities of 25 or more. The link given was to our read-only PDF.

-- Posted by Paul Malley on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 7:19 AM

What an amazing mother you have! I am sure that she regards you as a true blessing during this difficult time.

Sobriety is never easy, but you obviously have inherited some tremendous strength from your mother.

I too, have been helping raise my grandchildren for the past 6 years. It is a mixed blessing, but a blessing nonetheless.

We will keep your family in our thoughts and prayers.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 7:33 AM

It's sad when a parent is nearing the end of life. Those old memories start pouring in...

Sometimes you have to make choices you don't want to make. It certainly isn't easy when your caring for your Grandson.

We got our Grandson when he was only 10 months old and we raised him up until he moved out when he was 20 years old. He never knew his Mom.... Then we took my Mom in when he was about 14 years old.

It was a very stressful time, and Grandson being a teenager when we took Mom in. lol!

Stay positive and if you need to talk you can email me at Crookmaa@aol.com

-- Posted by MsMarylin on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 12:45 PM

ONE DAY AT A TIME.....TALK TO HER SHE HAS THINGS TO SAY YOU NEED TO HEAR.........HANG TOUGH YOU KNOW HOW TO GET ME...........I WILL BE AT BARDENAY EAGLE ON WEDNESDAY THE 31ST....6-9 ..GOD BLESS

-- Posted by lamont on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 4:23 PM

Lamont, where is Bardenay Eagle?

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 4:45 PM

OFF EAGLE ROAD NEXT TO THE HILTON HOTEL.....RIGHT ON THE RIVER....I THINK THE SIGN SAYS RIVER RUN...YOU MAKE A RIGHT DRIVE DOWN TO FIRST RIGHT AND MAKE ANOTHER YOU WILL BE LOOKING AT THE HILTON AND THE BARDENAY NEXT TO IT ON YOUR LEFT........WE ARE ON THE PATIO IN THE BACK.....ARE YOU OK??????????

-- Posted by lamont on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 5:19 PM

Hanging in there brother. Some days better than others, but no crisis or insane thoughts. You know what I mean. I know when to holler and have a phone full of numbers. Thanks for the concern. Just wondering where it was at so if I'm not working I might swing by.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 6:02 PM

To everyone, many thanks for the kind words and encouragement. I will survive because I believe that is what is meant for me.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 6:32 PM


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I'm an almost 61 year old transplant from California 6 1/2 years ago. I work in road construction, those dastardly flaggers. My family roots go back to New England farms, not the big city. The last town I lived in when in California grew from 16K to 40K in 10 years, and that was enough to drive me out. I don't engage in or tolerate name calling. Name calling reduces an adult discussion to grade school play yard level. I have never served in the military, but have family members who have, dating back to WW1. I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I am neither extremely Liberal or Conservative. I am raising my 16 year old grandson, not what I expected at this age, and dealing with those issues as well as my health and near retirement which are 2 things I intend to talk about. I decided to try my hand at this thanks to the warm welcome I have received on Mike's blog. When I take a position, I will defend it until I am shown that I am mistaken, and when that happens, I apologize. There are other things about me that will come out over time I'm sure.