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What a silly thing to have nostalgia for, but I've been thinking about it all day. Three out of four of my grandparents had a major heart event and BOOM! That was it. Off to their maker they went! Only one grandparent had a lingering illness and, even then, it lingered less than a year. Then there's my parents. My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was still in college. He was dead by my late 20's and that was after years of terminal illness and caregiving. Mom had me later in life & was significantly older than dad, so by the time he died she required regularly checks in and help. Now she's got congestive heart failure, COPD, and mid-stage FTD. I can't remember a time in my entire adulthood when I wasn't minding one of my parents, and today I just keep thinking how easy they had it. Not a single parent of theirs ever required their care. I can't even imagine what independent parents would feel like. Man, I'm tired.

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Prolonging death...the new medical boondoggle. They outlive their money, wear out their welcome, become blibbering incontinent burdens, and yet we are called heartless for wishing them dead. Never mind that they wish themselves dead, at some point.
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There is also a book called How We Die by Sherwin Nuland
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We all understand what you are saying. The "end of life" stage used to be short term and now can drag on for years. My GP is honest and told me he and other physicians agree that they prefer minimal treatment when QOL is an issue.
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@daughterof1930- is the book
Being Mortal by Atul Gwande?
it was very insightful.
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That’s a good point CM. What’s better for them isn’t necessarily what’s better for us.

In the last 10 years, I have gone through 1 sudden very unexpected death and one drawn out expected death. My uncle who was my moms twin brother, had a heart attack while driving. The heart attack itself was survivable, however he was driving through his neighborhood at the time and rolled in to a parked car and his head fell forward, fracturing his windpipe and cutting off his oxygen. After at least 45 minutes, the hospital was able to get his heart started but he was brain dead. It took a few days to determine that but my mom knew. We knew he wasn’t coming back to us, we knew the odds were not in his favor. He had the heart attack Monday afternoon and I think Thursday or Friday is when they checked his brain function? They made him very cold for 2 days and then warmed him up and checked his brain function. I think we started grieving that Monday night because we knew....he had been without oxygen for too long.

With my MIL, I started grieving the moment I read the text from my SIL saying the doctor just told them MIL only had 3 months left, at most. It was so unexpected. I grieve for 3 months. When we got the call that she was gone, I went numb. Didn’t feel a damn thing until I got to her house that morning.

For me, my uncles sudden death was easier to get through. But I can’t honestly say that an unexpected sudden death is better for the living, I can’t. Because every situation is different. Every relationship is different. I just know that those 3 months in 2018 were full of grief and sadness even though MIL was still with us physically, although she wasn’t MIL as we knew her. Her light went out as soon as the doctor said 3 months.
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It's impossible not to make comparisons, I agree.

My father dropped dead at 71, of a heart attack.
My mother lived for twenty years following her first presentation with congestive heart failure, and died at 90, bedridden and partially paralysed by a stroke.

"Better for him, worse for you" is what my parents' friend told me at my Dad's funeral, meaning to be consoling. It was consoling, too: I know which parent had the better way to go, but I'm still not sure which is gentler on those left behind.

I do know it's not like anyone is given much of a choice!
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wubba,

i feel you!! I’m in my upper 40’s with 2 teenage daughters at home and I’m also caring for my 83 year old MIL who lives with us as well. It is SO.EXHAUSTING! And I feel guilty and selfish for wishing there was somewhere else for my MIL to live....🥺
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This article is related:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/10/why-i-hope-to-die-at-75/379329/
I'm feeling tired these days too. :(
These end of life years are dismal, for both the caregiver and the patient.
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Sign me up for lights out with a massive heart attack or stroke. Just nothing scary like death by grizzly bear, please. And most doctors would NEVER put themselves through what they put their patients through with "life extending" drugs and "treatments" the side effects of which seem as bad or even worse than the disease.
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There’s a book about this, can’t recall the title (no comments on what may be going on with a person who can’t think of something 🤭😜) It discusses that people used to live lives of hard physical labor every day, there wasn’t much of a concept of retirement, and then they’d suddenly die. And now we live lives of little physical labor, much more relaxation, and we linger for many years with various ailments, both mental and physical, and die a long and protracted death.
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Yeah, I'm definitely "sandwiched" but not with a college kid. My mom might be 92, but I'm in my early 40s. My oldest is 10. I'm in the midst of the intensive parenting years and trying to care for my mother at the same time. It sucks.
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My grandparents all died quickly and with minimal suffering, There wasn't even time to decide what to DO for long term care for them--they just died.

Both my mother and MIL are hard-worn 90 and both will live forever, I swear. My mom said the other day that she really just felt better than she ever had in her life. I don't begrudge her that at all----but she was a horrible mother and grandmother. Now she has ZERO responsibilities she can play, go to BINGO, spend all her money on garbage and go out to lunch 4 xs a week. Where was this person all my life?

My MIL is is terrible shape, but will also live forever, to torment her kids. She's even said that. What a delight. Planning on "paying them back' for the miserable life she had.
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I was caregiver for my folks mom had copd and was bedridden for 3 years, Dad had old age issues and a lot of pain. Hard stuff to witness. I used to think that their generation had it easier. Folks didnt live and linger as long..modern medicine is a blessing and a curse.
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There is good and bad with every new development or technological progress. As the great economist Thomas Sowell said, "There are no solutions, only tradeoffs."
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Hi Wubba, that took courage, what you said. Many of todays pills weren't developed until 1981 (ACE inhibitor), & 1995 (ARBs). (Those categories of bp meds are today's standard). I'm not sure about meds for diabetes or COPD, cuz my family had none of that. But I do sympathize with ur family's situation, & your being so vigilant to care 4 them. It can seem relentless.
I guess we're called the "sandwhich generation", cuz we're between kids in college & extended parental care...(or something like that). I think society & laws are trying to catch up with our dire need for more flexible care options & respite, but I never had an ounce of help, yet I helped anyone in my family. Even my ex in-laws, I still am helping them.
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Kat,

God bless her. My grandma said she wanted to go quickly and by God she did. She was 85 and her heart just stopped. No suffering either. That’s exactly what I hope for too.
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NHWM, my Granny went to bed and died peacefully during the night. No pain - for her!
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I guess the ideal way to go is going to bed and not waking up!
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My maternal grandmother was the first to go. She had pulmonary problems but there was no reason to think she was going to die soon. The day after my grandparents returned from a 2 week trip down south to visit my aunt, my grandma got up during the night to pee, came back to bed and told my grandpa she wasn’t going to breath any more (that’s what he told everyone) and she collapsed on to the bed and was unable to be revived.

4 years later, my paternal grandfather died from brain cancer. I don’t remember how long he battled. He was 10 when I died. Us kids were shielded from it, we rarely saw him after his diagnosis. I don’t think he lived but a year at most?

4 years after that, my maternal grandfather died and he had been declining for years. Started with depression after my grandma died, then he got diabetes and landed in a nursing home after his leg had to be amputated. He was there for a year at least before my aunt came up and got him & moved him down to SoCal. Down there, it was discovered that he had lung cancer (the doctors here knew it but didn’t tell the family). After a few months, he died peacefully in her home.

11 years after that..my last remaining grandparent, my paternal grandmother, dropped dead in the dining room at her assisted living during dinner. And I tell ya, that’s the way to go! She had a DNR on file so they didn’t try to revive her. She was 83 & had lived a long full life. Her body was weak thanks to life-long heart problems. She was only about 80lbs, always a tiny petite woman, so CPR likely would have caused significant chest trauma anyway.

My MIL was the first of our parents to go. And she was the one we all expected to GO LAST. She was the one who didn’t drink or smoke, she was the most active. Her battle with pulmonary fibrosis lasted 18 months. The last 5 months, were the worst. I would say that about early 2018, she started needed helping with some of her ADLs. By the time she died 6/1/18, she was a shell of her former self, down to 70lbs from 140 (she was only 4’9”). Totally bed ridden, on oxygen. It was both horrifying and heartbreaking to watch her dying.
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I agree with those doctors. I thought my father's stomach cancer was a horrible way to go. But at least he had control of his facilities until the very end. My mother has the competency of a 3 year old at this point. She rarely understands anything I tell her, even if I write it down. She's confused, paranoid, scared, depressed, angry, incontinent and in pain on a daily basis. Her quality of life is absolute garbage at this point. It's the most pathetic situation I've ever witnessed and every day I wish it was over for her.
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Years ago I read an article in which doctors said they would rather die of a massive heart attack than lose mental, physical function or both.

Both my grandfather's died of lung cancer in their 60's back in the1960's and 70's. one grandmother got sick and died after 6 weeks, after it was discovered she had a tumor on her liver. She was 82. My other grandmother beat the odds with Chronic Leukemia, and was only 'sick' for about a year and only suffered for the last few weeks. She too was 82.

Only Auntie Jessie (98) and Great Granny (92) lived for a great many years after the quality of life was gone.
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