Follow
Share

My two sisters and I have been working with our 96 year old mother and medical professionals to determine the best course of action going forward. My mom is facing a below knee amputation due to extremely poor circulation. Her foot is gangrenous and an immediate permanent decision has to be made. Either leg amputation or hospice. Mom has some dementia and lives in a long term care facility. Her over all is good with only high blood pressure. Mom was accepted by hospice but there is a lot of second guessing going on.

Find Care & Housing
To Panderson: In 1971 my then 80 year old mother had an amputation of her right leg. The very next morning the left leg became gangrenous. It was a terrible ordeal and she passed away a day or so later.There was no hospice in those days. Your Mom at 96 may not make it through the surgery. Of course this is a heartbreaking decision you need to make since she seems to be in fairly good health for 96 and no other underlying problems. I am now 92 myself and I would not want to burden my family with the need to take care of me. Unless she or your family are of means to hire round the clock even in a long term facility. I would not want to undergo such major surgery. I would choose to die with dignity. Trust me your life and those of your siblings will be extremely difficult and your Mom would never want that to be the case.. Last November my husband aged 92 became ill and died within one 1 week in Hospice. I felt so guilty signing those papers. My 3 sons agreed that it was best. We were married for 72 years. I don't believe your Mom would live much longer after that operation. Take care of your own health. Remember your Mom as she was"whole "even before she started having dementia. Heaven would be my 1st choice over what could become a life of pain and suffering and total dependence on others. I wish you God speed. I assume your Mom was widowed. Let her go and be with him. I am crying as I type this.Don't feel guilty she will be in a better place. Love and prayers I hope you let us know how this turned out. Jacklynn
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to jacklynnendime
Report
Compassionate5 Oct 11, 2020
This was beautifully said. Very Truthful and Comforting.
Jackie
(2)
Report
See 3 more replies
My mother was in her early 80's with some significant short-term memory loss when she had to have her foot amputated due to poor circulation. She had no significant health issues except she had always been very thin and frail. After the amputation she had some physical therapy (transfer chair to bed, etc) but because of the memory loss she really didn't know that she didn't have a foot and kept trying to get out of bed to go the the toilet. She never returned home after the surgery and went to a nursing home where they were unable to use restraints so someone had to be with her as much as possible to keep her from getting out of bed or out of the chair and falling. She didn't remember to ring for assistance and since she didn't have 24 hour eyes on supervision she fell a number of times. She had surgery in late October and was dead before Thanksgiving. None of the days in between were good ones. She really shut down after the amputation and seemed to will herself to die. I would have done anything to spare her those last few weeks.

I know this is a horrible decision to have to make. My parents were never given any option but amputation and there was talk of prosthetics and wheelchairs and normal life. None of that happened. Please have real hard discussions with the doctors about the reality of her prognosis if you make a decision to amputate. In my mother's case it only caused unnecessary pain.

I am so very sorry.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to jkm999
Report
Panderson Oct 7, 2020
Thank you so much. I am meeting with her doctors and nursing team today and tomorrow. My mom has some dementia but had already made up her mind To not have the surgery and was accepted for hospice. Then other people got in her ear and made her question her decision. She said the funniest thing to my sister yesterday......if an apple tree has a bad limb they cut it off to save the tree.
(11)
Report
See 2 more replies
She's 96 years old. Why put her through a leg amputation? I wouldn't do that to my parent or any loved one. I believe putting her on hospice would be the right thing to do. Think about how you would feel if you were in the same situation?
What would you want?
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Caregiverhelp11
Report

Finure out how much time she would have if you didn't amputate.

What are her chances of dying on the operating table?

Present your answers to your mom and see what she thinks.

My Dad is 96 and I think he is too old for an operation but I would ask my Dad what he wanted
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to bevthegreat
Report
angustia1234 Oct 11, 2020
Eeven he has dementia you will ask him?
(1)
Report
See 2 more replies
ok, here is my friend's true story:

She takes her mom to live with her son in another state. She flys with mom. They stay is a few days. Mom has an appointment with the new doctor. He says she needs surgery right away, We need to amputate the leg. No food, no water after midnight. Bring her in the morning.
They arrive on schedule: mom is around 86 years old. They need to prop mom for operation. Doctor says: she did not have anything to eat as we discussed: daughter says, well, mom was hungry, so I gave her a piece of dried toast.
Immediately, the doctor says, we need to cancel operation today.
The following morning, mom was in Heaven.
My friend was devastated. I said, no, your mom wanted to be with your dad. She is happy she didn't go through that operation. Thank God for the Dried Toast :)
Did you ask mom? 96 ?
Sometimes, it is not in our hands. It's not up to us.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to MAYDAY
Report

Personally, I would rather die with care from hospice rather than die with the agony of post surgery pain. It isn’t my decision to make. It’s your family’s decision and a very tough call. This is a horrible situation to be in. I’m so sorry that you are struggling with this.

In some cases pain meds don’t even work well enough to reduce the pain. The best they can do is dull it, take the edge off.

Years ago, I dated someone that had an amputation due to gangrene. He had a horrible motorcycle accident. His pain was horrific. The meds barely made a dent.

Years later, I had a terrible accident, not with a motorcycle, I was on a bicycle and I suffered a horrible open compound fracture. Same for me, meds hardly helped at all. When I asked my orthopedic surgeon about it, he said that meds would not remove the pain, it would only dull it. I did not have to have my arm removed like my former boyfriend. It was heartbreaking for him.

Wishing your family peace in making a very tough decision.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report

Panderson, thank you so much for the update. I'm glad that your mom is at peace with her decision.

People are not trees.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Report

PAnderson, big hugs. YOU are nitnpkaying God. God is playing God

This is your mom making a decision if she hasn't been declared incompetent (this is EXACTLY) how my grandma died at the age of 92, almost 50 years ago, btw).

Surgery carries great risk at that age. She may not make it off the table, or be greatly diminished mentally, not to mention physically.

There is only the least bad choice, and it is a hard one to make.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Report

Panderson, I hope you will update us after Mom's appointment. Please make it crystal clear to this person that you want as honest a prognosis as they can give you and your Mom.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Report

At her age, she made the right decision. I am sure that you are relieved. This is really good news to hear.

I sincerely hope that your mom’s remaining days are lived out as peacefully as possible. Hospice is the best choice.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter