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Today marks 4 month since my grandma passed away from a aeortic dissection. Her heart tore. I was her caregiver from age 20-22. Her death was preventable.


I had forgotten to take her to her doctors appointment in early January. I thought wouldn't be big deal to reschedule it a few weeks back. I didnt realize her blood pressure meds had stopped being prescribed. Two weeks later, I realized we were missing a pill. At the time, I understood the urgency. A pill mishap was how she had her last stroke. Any normal person would have immediately gone to the pharmacy to fix things, but I didn't..I waited for my mother to pick them up from work. She forgot. We figured pharmacy was closed. That morning, I procrastinate until the evening to finally pick them up. Grandma went to bed at seven. Now two days have gone by. I was unemployed, I had nothing to do all day except that. This entire time I was aware of the danger, but still waited to until next morning to give them to her. I even woke up that morning thinking "hope grans okay". Proving I was aware of the danger, but did not act. A pill the night before could have saved her but I didn't give it to her, instead was out drinking. She died that next morning. A "heart attack"-like attack of pain that could've have been avoided if I had just shown the proper concern. I had so many opportunities to do the right thing


If I was aware that her life was in danger, why I did I keep procrastinating? Did I not think her life was important? I showed complete apathy. I was running away from my responsibilities those week, I procrastinated on giving her dinner, I started crying each time i had to take her to bathroom in middle of the night, I even left her in house alone while I took walk. I never used to do that. I knew these things were wrong. What I was I thinking. I turned into monster. Instead, that month, I was spending more and more evenings hooking up with a guy, drinking, obsessed with how my makeup looked, completely self absorbed desperate to feel like a 22 year old and ignore real life. Weakening out my conscience each time I did. And causing me to avoid her due to guilt


That was a rough winter, I had dropped out of school, quit my job, and was trying to get over this compulsive skin picking disorder. I think, instead of turning me more caring, I let my misery turn me narcissistic. I even realized my caregiving was compromised, but was did not value her enough to realize shed be better off with another person taking over. I was totally obsessed with my own life experiences. I kept saying I'll circle back to gran and be better caregiver when I get more functional. When did I decide my bullshit was more important than her actual life sustaining needs? Became too comfortable putting her needs on the backburner. All I had to do is dl the right thing, I had days to do it, and still avoided it.


Ironies followed, felt like I was only capable caregiver, yet it would have been better off had I not been around, was tired from not getting full nights sleep, now I've had same nightmare for 4 months, wanted to get back into school to get life back on track, now I spent my days in bed. As if any of that BS ever mattered, the most important person I had who I was responsible for, I not only let down, I caused her to miss the spring, miss her 90th birthday, I dont know where she went, shes gone. Yet, here I am months later, self absorbed in my guilt, completely lost. Foolish and evil in truth, always was worried something like this would happen. Hate knowing she left this world due to lack of care from her own family. Hate knowing I was capable of this level of heartlessness. She had taken care of me my whole life and this is how I repayed her. She deserved better and hate to know what she'd think of my actions and how betrayed she'd feel.

Gardenia

Sweetheart you did not kill your grandmother. Please don’t carry that guilt. You were overwhelmed and burnt out from caregiving. You were shutting down and your brain shifted to allow you to cope. We get lost in caregiving and you just wanted to feel like a normal 20 something which is normal. I’m a grandmother and I can tell you she wouldn’t be mad or have bad feelings she would be thankful for the time that she got to spend with you and happy for you now to pursue your dreams now that she has passed on. You are not bad you are not negligent you were completely worn out. I’m so sorry you are struggling now. Please know that the care and time that you gave your grandmother was a gift of love. None of us are Superman and none of us know when our time is. Your grandmother very well may have passed because it was her time. Please look into some counseling. You can do it online even. You are a beautiful young vibrant individual and you owe it to yourself to heal and enjoy your life. God Bless you
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Thank you so much for posting. I was also caring for my grandmother at a younger age. I was 18-19-20-up until 25 caring for my grandmother alone. I broke my ankle and was prescribed pain killers, that I became addicted to, until I switched to cheaper heroin. While caring for my grandmother I overdosed in my bedroom at her house. I was in a coma for 4 months, pronounced completely brain dead, I had a feeding tube put into my stomach, they said I was a vegetable and would never come out of it, the deacon from my church even came and did my last rights when they took me off the ventilator. But I started breathing on my own.
Anyway while all this happened, my younger sister and her kid moved in and took over caring for our grandmother. At the time dementia wasn't an issue with her, she was all there mentally. My sister had forgot to put her daughter's toys away one day and grandma stubbed her toe on one. She's diabetic. So she ended up losing 3 toes on that foot. My sister was supposed to take care of the area and dress it and all that. She didn't. I went over to the house to visit after I got out of all the hospitals and it was bad. She was sitting there barefoot with her feet up in her recliner, the foot the toes were removed from looked good , but the other one was BLACK. not from being dirty. It was black from being dead tissue. I was horrified. I called an ambulance right away. She was angry saying she was fine she didn't need to go to the hospital. I told her she was going to lose her damn foot! But anyway she had to have her foot amputated, but the infection was still spreading up her leg so she had to have another operation to remove more. Basically they left her with half of her thigh. That was about three years ago and she has been in a home ever since.
But I feel horrible. Just freaking horrible all the time. Because if I hadn't been in theher hospital I would of been there caring for her. She wouldn't have lost. her toes, then foot, then her leg. She wouldn't be in a home to now. It's sad. My grandmother isn't even 70 yet.u
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You had a lot going on, and you probably were suffering from some sort of depression. You have to judge yourself with all things considered, you didnt purposefully kill your granny, you were in a negative frame of mind because of everything you had to deal with and because of not being yourself mentally you forgot to do some things.

Please be kind to yourself, you are not a murderer or an evil person at all. You are just a human with overwhelming human emotions.

Ssometimes we need a helping hand, and you were at a place mentally where you needed a helping hand but unfortunately there was none.

It's so difficult to look back at our past and say, "That was me trying, that was the best I could do given the overwhelming internal struggles I was facing at the time."

You might feel like your best was not good enough, but at that time that was all you could handle.

Please please please forgive yourself. You are a multifaceted individual and dont let one error marr your human experience and cause you to hate yourself. Please.
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Just want to take a moment and say thank you for all the supportive posts, Gardenia , you posted in the right place and I hope you received reassurance from the posts. I did.
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Hey Gardenia, I can relate to this a lot. I feel like I caused my grandmother's death by trying to feed her when she could no longer swallow. I was untrained in how to handle end-of-life measures, once organs start to fail and eating/drinking is no longer required.

I have had to learn to be ok with everything that happened in the past during my caregiving time. Caregiving to elderly family is messy by nature: we're caring for people who are declining. And unless you have a medical background before you start caregiving, you may have to learn a lot very quickly.

I hope you can see that you did way more good than any harm, and we can't make older people young again. You did a good job, being there for your grandma when she needed someone.
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You did not cause your grandmother's death. Aortic dissection is very unpredictable. Stop beating yourself up for something you had no control over. It was just time for your grandmother to go.

I am sorry for your loss.
Hugs!!!
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There is no doubt that you did not cause your grandma's death. You can't live your life thinking if I'd done this, if I'd not done that. There are a million little things we all do during our lives that contribute to things that happen to us. You could never pinpoint one particular thing that you did that contributed to your nan's death. Look at it in another way. How about you went and got her her pills and you got in a car accident on the way home and hit a child. Then you would be saying oh, if only I hadn't gone to the pharmacy that day. That child would still be alive. You see what I'm saying? You just cannot live your life thinking that way. Hell, maybe we should all stay inside and never do anything in case something we do or don't do causes something bad to happen. Not happening right?

Stop beating yourself up. Yeah, maybe you procrastinated. We all do. We are human. Like someone else said. There has only ever been one perfect person and he died on the cross.

When you know better, you do better. Now you know. Look at this as a learning opportunity and nothing else.
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You did the best you could under the circumstances. It sounds like you were probably experiencing depression and emotional burnout from the responsibilities of caregiving. At your very young age of 22 years, why was your grandmother your primary responsibility in the first place? Where was everyone else in your family during this time? Don't continue to beat yourself up about this. Your grandmother lived a long life and we all know that no one can stay on this earth forever. If we could all be so blessed to live 90 years. It's natural for you to feel some guilt but, please consider seeing a therapist to discuss your feelings. You are not a bad person and you did the best you could. Take care if yourself.
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No my dear you did not cause your gran’s death. Aortic aneurysms are unpredictable and a dissection can happen without warning.
I hope you work this through and realize that the great care you provided to her prolonged her life. Be proud of yourself. You’ve done nothing to feel guilty about.
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Gardenia - So glad you checked in here to get this off your chest. You did *not* turn evil and cause your grandmom to die. Nope, you were actually doing something healthy - you were looking after your wants and needs. You were being young. Eh, the hookups were probably not in your best interest, but you had some fun. Grandma always wanted you to be happy when she was thinking right!

Now you want to get moving forward and back to school. I pushed my adult kid into trying an earned admission program from Arizona State online. They have a bunch of open admission classes that anyone can take without even applying. They are made for people like my son who was afraid something bad would happen again and he would not be able to finish the class.

These classes only stay on your record if you pay for them, and you pay for them only if you like your grade. This is only for these 10 or 15 classes. He took Western Civilization first and he made an A. You would not believe how much better he felt when he got that good grade. When you do something positive that you have a concrete reward for, you will start feeling better about yourself. (You have a year to pay for the credit, but if you sign up for any of them before the end of August, you pay just one hundred if you pay before the end of December, and you can pay by credit card).

Both he and my oldest kid have the skin picking problem. It's anxiety related, and it is worse when they feel unworthy or insecure. I think taking a class and building yourself up in your own mind will go really far in helping you get beyond that. I remember when I lived with my mthr who was very unkind that I would shred myself. Arms, legs, back, neck, face. Once I moved away from her, as time went by and I felt better about myself, it was less and less. It was important to me to feel like I had accomplished things I was proud of.

I don't want you beating yourself up and shaming yourself about Grandma. God only calls us when it is our time: "We know not the date nor the hour..." -It's written in the Book. And she's not suffering now, but in a better place with all her loved ones on the other side. She wanted you to go out and have fun. You are loved by a multitude of witnesses!
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Oh, hon, my heart aches for you.

There is no way the lack of one or two pills could have been the cause of your grandmother's death. People die all the time from aortic aneurysms and they weren't on any medication at all.

You learned to be more responsible during this time and that is enough. You cared for and loved your gran at a pretty young age.

Get some therapy and talk this through with a professional. You didn't cause her death, not in the least. You sound like a profoundly caring individual--go easy on yourself, OK?
((Hugs))
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Dear Gardenia,

it wasn't your fault. Feeling guilty is a way many, many people try to cope with loss of a loved one. This post just shows how much you loved her and cared for her.
Also, it shows so much self-awareness, honesty, and courage in saying such difficult things that you can never, ever, turn into a narcissist, even if you try.

When my grandma died, I was 25 and was travelling. I knew nothing of caring for an elderly, waking up to take her to the bathroom at night, being responsible for giving medications to her... I was happily and childishly oblivious, and far.

You have a huge heart. Please believe this. Your grandma knows this.
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Look up the actor John Ritters death. He passed from an aortic dissection. No warning, no time to fix. These just happen, normally with no warning, and no amount of meds will stop one. No matter what you did or did not do, it was going to happen! You are only 22,, too young to be so responsible for someone else. I totally understand you needing to BE 22 once in awhile. I hope no one else is making you feel guilty
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What medical professional is telling you that gma's lack of meds is responsible for her death?

My husband was on bp meds. Took them religiously. Had no other physical complaints. Had a crick in his neck. Went to see our doc. Who made a referral to a cardiologist, because dh's dad had died of an unexplained cardiac incident in 1960.

DH delaayed going to cardio. Went to chiropractor, who, upon hearing story refused to adjust and sent DH to cardio. Still taking bp meds. FINALLY went to cardio. 6 cm aneurysm in aorta. Got him on the table in time. But only after an angiowhatever showed that the cause of all this was a malformed aortic valve.

A couple of weeks after this, a cousin dropped dead at work. Autopsy showed aortic aneurysm. (He is no relation to my DH). No malformation. Also taking BP meds.

Dear Gardenia, your grandma's death is in no way your fault. Unless she had imaging that showed the aneurysm, there was nothing short of surgery that would have saved her.

I'm so sorry for your loss.
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I doubt that 2 weeks without a blood pressure pill would cause a dissection.
This is a condition that had been happening for years.
If you want to "play" the Blame Game let's start with the Doctors office...
They should have contacted you about the missed appointment and rescheduled.
Did they call you?
Your mom...she did not go the the pharmacy...she is just as much "at fault" as you, as the Doctor's office.
You will find in life that there are plenty of times when we look back and play
Shouldacouldawoulda ,
You were doing the job that many of us have done or are doing with far more years and we STILL make mistakes. It happens. As far as I know the last Perfect Person what nailed to a Cross.
As a wise person I know says...Don't Should on yourself.

I am going to suggest that you talk to someone, a therapist and you can make appointments now and they are doing consultations over the phone. My guess is a Therapist would say you have PTSD or sometimes now called PTSS Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
Please do not be so hard on yourself.
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Gardenia, You are a caring granddaughter and she was fortunate to have you. We all make mistakes. Do not be so hard on yourself, you are 22 years old , so young to have such responsibility caring for another. Your grandmother probably had more health issues. You should not blame yourself. She passed on into a better place, her time was up. She is at peace now and you will see her again some day. I would suggest getting into therapy. Talk it over with your mother. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time in your life. Wishing you peace and strength. Hugs.
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First off - this is perhaps something you should be seeking professional therapy for instead of just advice from online message boards.

Second - where were your parents during all this? Was this your Grandma on your mother's side? This was not all on you. At 20 to 22 years old, you are indeed an adult and capable of helping but this seems like an awful lot of responsibility to put on such a young person with no help.

It sounds like you made some mistakes, yes, but there are certainly people older than you who have made the same ones, and as I mentioned above you are not alone in this and I strongly feel your family should have been helping as well and providing emotional support to you to make sure you were okay.
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