My fell 9 days ago in the bathroom and broke her neck. She's 87 years old. She was living with me at the time. She's been in the hospital since but hasn't eaten in over 8 days now and they can't get her meds into her. They stopped her IV meds and want her to take meds by mouth. She is refusing and is completely confused, scared and just plain not there anymore. I guess they call it hospital psychosis. Today, the docs want to talk to me about alternative solutions for her meaning feeding tube I guess. She is a DNR and I am absolutely sure about her wishes. She would never want to live this way at all and has stated many times before this that she was ready to meet God. She is not paralyzed from the fall. Has a neck brace on as surgery was out of the question. They have her hand tied in mittens cause she was pulling off the neck brace. She's become a very difficult woman now and is actually not very nice. I adore my mom so please know this before I ask this next question. I'm an only child so I have no other people to really ask. Should I allow the feeding tube so she doesn't starve to death and gets her meds or should I do what she has asked me to do and allow her to eventually "go to God"? Even writing that sounds like I'm a horrible person. I'm really lost here so any help would be appreciated.
You are fortunate in that you know what she would have wanted. Palliative care - comfort care - is certainly what I would choose for myself under those circumstances and it sound like that is what your mother has wanted. Who would want to live this way with no chance of recovery? I know that it's a very hard decision for you, but please remember you want to see an end to her suffering and let nature take its course. You are a loving daughter with a good heart. We are with you. As you can see, many of us have had to make similar decisions. Please check back with us and let us know how your are doing.
I take it from your question that your mother doesn't have a living will. It sounds like you've discussed matters like this with your mother, though, and that she's made her wishes clear. If you know your mom's wishes are NOT to have a feeding tube, then no, don't let them place one. She may surprise you and begin to eat again, and she may not. Whichever, if she's made her wishes known, honor them.
My question would be why the hospital stopped her IV if she's not taking anything by mouth. Just because they WANT her to take her meds by mouth and she can't doesn't take away the fact that she still NEEDS her meds, as well as they hydration an IV can provide.
I'm so sorry you're going through this. Making choices like this is not easy, but remember: sometimes we have to do what is right, not what is easy.
If you know your mother's wishes - then follow them. If you know she would not want to live this way - why force her to? If you have discussed this issue with her and know her wishes - SHE HAS MADE THE DECISION ALREADY - you are only respecting it.
The doctors should be able to tell you her prognosis. If she has a good chance for recovery - at least continue the IV meds and fluids. IF her prognosis is poor - well, there will be an unhappy outcome and tears. We can live 30 days without food, 3 days without water, and 3 minutes without air. (an old saying of my mom's)
We cannot make your decision - but I would think twice before inserting a feeding tube into an 87 year old person who is ready to meet God. Ask the doctor what will be the quality of her life if you do everything medically possible? It may NOT be the quality of life she would want to live. Sometimes we are only prolonging suffering.
When I researched feeding tubes after my father in law was operated on - I found that often they do this procedure for monetary reasons - not humanitarian ones.
These are sad days for you and I am so sorry you have no one to help you bear this burden. Whatever decision you make, may it be the right one for you and for your mom. It will be difficult - not matter what.
At first, I was so guilt filled, and angry. I hated the doctor, because, he said that she would live, if they removed her leg. I had to finally come to the realization that she would have died either way. And, that I did what I thought was best at the time. It is the saddest think in life, when we have to make those kinds of decisions. I thought back to the kind of woman my mom was. She would not want to live sick, being the kind of person that she was.
Above all, know that you are not selfish or anything other, than trying to make the best decision that you can make. And, that is all that you can do. I wish you peace.
Finally, a very caring nurse sat down with me and asked me if I would want to go through all of this, knowing that the prognosis was not good. She explained that even though my mom probably wasn't totally aware of what was going on, she still was being put through hell. She asked me to look at what quality of life I expected my mother to have if she were to get through this. I had my answer at that point. The last couple days, they had to insert a feeding tube...so many tubes and cords sticking out of her neck. After almost 2 weeks of constant pain and agony, I signed the DNR for her...she passed the next day.
I understand what you are saying being an only child...I have a brother, but he lives far away, and I had to make all the decisions on my own.
I feel so much empathy for you...I grew up a lot during all this.
It sounds likely that in order to keep a feeding tube in place she would have to be restrained even further, either with drugs or physical restraints.
You are not a horrible person at all. Far from it. You love your mother enough to consider what is best for her, not what is easy for you.
I recently made a couple of decisions on my father's behalf. He was 91, his organs were failing, he had no will to live, and had a living will. The hospital staff did work and found his carotid arteries were mostly blocked. They asked if we wanted surgery to clear them. I said no. On the day he died, they asked me in the morning if we wanted them to do CPR if his heart arrested. I said no. I was able to say no without hesitation and with no guilt, because I was speaking for my father. If you know that your mother is not going to recover, your "no" will be speaking for her. God bless you.
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