There are some events in life that have the ability to mess with our minds in such a monumental way that we simply refuse to admit them. We cannot admit them to our own selves, and certainly not to others. This week has been complete agony for my husband in particular. My husband is emotionally the strongest person I’ve ever known. This week Hospice requested a meeting with our family regarding our loved one’s continual decline.
As a family we have fought by his side for almost four years. It has become painfully clear over the last six months that he is losing his battle to live. We have managed to make sure that at least twice a day there is a family member by his side each day. Our love for him is immense. He is a true warrior. He has battled circumstances that most people would have been unable to survive. He took the worst circumstances of his life, and turned them into cherished moments that may not have occurred between us all under different circumstances.
The beauty of these moments are bitter-sweet because they have been so precious that it makes the idea of losing the chance to have more of them unbearable. The thing that we have been unable to admit is that the moments have dwindled to far, and few in between. Prior to our loved one’s accident he had made the decision to have a living will made. He was very clear about his wishes to not have his life prolonged after a certain point.
Even though we want to respect those wishes (and we will) we find the idea of medicating him for comfort purposes to be an excruciatingly difficult thing to do because there are still those most precious moments where he glimmers through reminding us that he is still here in spite of all his many ailments. He is connected to a feeding tube, but we have reached the point where his body is losing weight. This signifies that his body is no longer accepting the full benefits of nutrition. A prominent sign that he is leaving us.
He is still conscious, his organs are still functioning, he still jokes with us on rare occasions. Even though he is beginning to not know who we are at times it still feels like we are stealing his life. I cannot tell you how devastatingly painful this is for us all especially his son. We all agree that we would want someone to set us free from a condition that has no chance of recovery in the most gentle way possible, but at this moment we are unable to bring ourselves to actually turn off his feeding tube.
We have agreed to more medication to alleviate his other physical discomforts. We are all painfully aware that the very same medications will bring us to the moment where aspiration will become a possibility, forcing us to make the decision to remove the feeding tube. These are the things we can’t admit…