Advanced Decisions

Making decisions about the future is scary. You never know what will happen between now, and then. In this moment, or the next. Situations and circumstances change. Conditions change, for better, and for worse. People change, their wants and outlook on life. End of life care is no different.

We had a doctor and a nurse come and sit with us as we went though and filled out an Advanced Directive. This wasn’t new, we went through this with her mom. But this was new. I was going through this with Mom. My mom. The person who couldn’t die, not with everything she’s been through in life. The one person who never left me, and wasn’t going to leave me for a very long time. Still, it was good to have, just in case.

Here’s the journal entry, written by me.

[Nurse] wrote down the answers we discussed for the advanced directive.

[Doctor] was wonderful. He answered every question just the way Mom likes. She was very pleased and happy with both of them.

[Doctor] made making decisions easy. He told us that, with Mom’s heart the way it is, there’s a 1% chance that CPR would work. He also said that if the heart stops on its own, that’s a good indication that there is a problem.

Foreshadowing: not just for novels.

I love to write foreshadowing in my stories. It’s one of my favorite elements (that and symbolism. I don’t know which one I love more!).

The doctor and the nurse were from palliative care. Palliative. As in, terminally ill. As in, end of life.

Foreshadowing.

Mom wasn’t terminally ill. I mean, spoiler alert, Mom was getting better towards the end. It’s just fun–…interesting how things work out.

I remember sitting there, listening to Mom answer the doctor’s questions, feeling conflicted. I was glad we were doing this, but I knew we didn’t need it. Was Mom in her right mind? Would she change her mind later? Did she know what she was saying? Did she know what was going on?

She seemed like it. Her answers aligned with conversations that we had before she got sick, so I knew she was aware.

I sat there and let her answer. She was still able to be in control of her life. And I let her. I agreed with everything she said, because it was what she wanted. And I would agree with it if/when the directive came into play, because she always told me what she wanted. And out of respect, I would uphold her wishes. No matter what.

I knew I might have to make life altering decision for her, you know, one day when she was eighty or ninety. But it would be at home. She was going to die, peacefully, at home. On the couch like Grandma, or in bed like Grandpa (or on the floor, like my dad’s mom). Not in a hospital. Mom, indestructible Mom, wasn’t going away any time soon.

I knew she was going to die at some point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive. I was glad we were going through this now, when she was able to. I was just looking at the facts. Mom was getting better, everyone was figuring things out and doing everything they could to help her. She was going to get out of here, and we were going to move on. Everything was going to be fine.

False hope? Maybe, but at least it got me through the day.

That’s all I had.

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