Lull in the Crisis

Just let me take a few days off, and Dad seems to take a health dive. For instance, on my return from my visit with my first cousin, I got a phone call that Dad had fallen. Little did I know that there was a brand new, green Home INstead caregiver with him. She did know much. This was her first time elder sitting–EVER.

The caller, Ashley asked,”How do I get him up off the floor?”

“WWWWwwwhhhaaaaaatttttt?” I answered. What in the world? She is asking ME how to get him off the floor? What kind of elder sitter is this?

I was already annoyed that my car’s AC wasn’t working. On the drive down, I had experienced 8 hours of unairconditioned discomfort to Fort Walton in the sweltering heat, praying for rain. Now I was trying to prepare myself psychologically for the return drive in the sweltering heat. Somehow I had had to redirect myself from a wrong turn, wondering if I was taking myself miles in the wrong direction, make a U turn, sit at traffic lights, hot, with sweat running down my back, sticking my backside to the hot leather seat. I was already feeling panicky from my wrong turn. My arrival time had already shifted to a really late time. It was getting dark.

I stopped for gas and to call Ashley back after I though the crisis over.

“Well, if you can’t help him off the floor, you are gonna have to call the EMTs or get the neighbor to help you,” I said watching the gas pump gauge go over $50.00.

Nearing the $70.00 mark, the gas pump continued. Ashley asked for the neighbor’s phone number.

Jesus, I thought. I don’t have that phone number!

“Just look in the phone book under Jack Carmichal!” I said, feeling like yelling. God, it was hot here. Was I in Hell? I shifted over into the shade, watching the numbers continue up on the pump’s gauge.

Did I have enough credit for that amount? I didn’t have any cash. That was gone. Do you wash dishes at a gas station if you can’t pay, I thought forlornly. This could be trouble coming.

Time to Go

The waves bashed against the large granite rocks in front of the three story house. Dad was happily wrapped in a blanket, and gently rocks in his chair, watching the ocean with glee. Sitting beside him, I wonder when the end will come.  When will she go? When will she finally die? As the tide comes in, it must go out. When will his wife of  six decades die?

As macabre as it may seem, sometimes life continues when the quality of a person’s existence is to the point of where I believe we ought to euthanize them. We do this for animals, don’t we? Well, I believe it is time to bring up the taboo subject of death, and especially the subject of helping ease someone on out. 

In my opinion, it is time for her to go. At 84 years old, she can’t walk, make complete sentences or go to the bathroom on her own. Her mind is mostly gone. She has severe dementia. Is she enjoying her life? No, but then she only got this bad recently. And it is doubtful that she will recover any of her abilities.

Why fight it? Why not just ease her on out? A quick hypodermic like I had to give my beloved cat.  He had a good death. He died with dignity. He could no longer nourish his body, it was a matter of time. As much as it hurt me, I had to be responsible. I refused to allow him to suffer more.

Well, mother can’t nourish her body either. She hasn’t eaten enough on her own for months to maintain herself. We are doing her an injustice by the tube feeding, I think. Why prolong her life? I believe prolonging her life is cruel, and there is an ulterior motive of the health profession to keep her going at all costs.