Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Surprise Meeting

I hate it when God does this. I am speaking of when a person thinks they have something to be upset about God gives them something to shake them up and to rearrange the priorities and to deal with something bigger and more important. Suddenly the old issue that we saw that felt so bothersome and looked like a mountain is now perceived as just a mole hill.

Last evening while still in the bad mood about something I got a phone call that really shocked me. My father said that Hospice called had just phoned him to schedule an urgent meeting about my grandmother that will take place this morning. The surprise is no one told us she was dying.

Based on the end of life care and Hospice experience with my father-in-law six months ago I know that the hospice agency here does not step in until it is close to the end and they also need a doctor's order to even have that meeting with the family.

I know my grandmother has not been well and has been much more sleepy. In the last month while sick with two acute, what are technically considered minor infections, she suddenly needed more help as she was sleeping more and more weak, they said, due to the infections which knocked her energy levels down. She has had care 24/7 all that time. She didn't phone me on my birthday as she was too out of it and that was not a good sign. Still, no one has said at any point along the way that she is dying!

Presently my grandmother is living alone in her own home. For a long time that is what she has wanted but about six months ago she got lonely she said she wished someone could be there for companionship on a 24/7 basis. Well as I said in the last month she has had hired help there 24/7 and the last time I saw her, about ten days ago she said she is very happy in her home with companionship and it is just what she wants. (The financial cost is basically equal to a nursing home stay and that is not something that she can afford for years!) My grandmother was hoping she'd never have to return to a nursing home. My grandmother has been asking to die for years and always said she wanted to die in her own home. She has a DNR order and a special order that if 911 is called the paramedics are not supposed to take her out of the house (I never even knew that existed, but it is on a bracelet she wears now).

Last week her doctor was on vacation and no one would speak to my father about her for an update on her condition (long-time CHF plus the two minor infections). Last night during the office's evening hours, after the Hospice call, I begged him to call the doctor's office to ask about this and he was told the doctor went home and no one else would talk to him. I know on the one hand they say American medicine is so great but in times like this it seems like the communication part at least is not so wonderful. And if the communication is not there then the entire care can be perceived as not good. It is too bad so many doctors fail on the communication part, office staff could help to make this smoother instead of just being even more of a blockade and hindrance, which is a shame.

It is important to me that in the senior years, people are allowed to live with dignity. I wish that all elderly people and also the dying (of all ages) continued to have their wishes considered instead of sometimes other situations such as family doing what they perfer or intentionally going against the desire of the patient. I feel today regarding my paternal grandmother that she is getting what she wants, being in her own home with 24/7 care, and for that I am happy. I don't know how much longer that will be possible or when/if the money will run out and if she will have to go to a nursing home and enroll onto Medicaid and have the state take her home to help defray those costs.

I decided to get the straight story I will attend this morning's meeting. I feel sorry for myself and afraid to hear news that my grandmother's heart may be completely and truly failing at this point but I keep telling myself that this is not about me, it is about her and trying to focus on getting her the care that is right and best and what she wants also. I feel like I need to pull courage out from somewhere. Prayer is helping, I'm leaning on God this morning.

(Note: this is a case where blogging something is kind of a form of therapy. I'm not looking for attention. I am just sharing from the heart. Writing this out helps me process the situation and relieves stress. I don't usually share this type of personal information on my blog, a lot goes on in my life that I never blog about!)

No comments: