Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Timely Decision

My mother’s doctor called and told me that she needed surgery right away.  He explained, in layman’s terms, that she had an opening in her stomach which needed to be repaired.

He said:  “She will die without the operation.”  After recovering from the shock of his blunt message, I said, “Of course, do whatever you need to do.”  “But…”, he said, “...there’s a good chance she may not make it through the operation or may die in recovery.”  He continued:  “Anyway, are you sure you want to put an 88 year old woman with Alzheimer’s through this? Even if she lives through it, she could wind up on a respirator or bedridden for the rest of her life.”

My mind was reeling:  “What was he saying? He’s talking like my mom is a sick, aged dog.”  I was dumbfounded.  But after a few moments, I realized that he was raising an honest, albeit crass, question about my mother's quality of life.

Prior to this moment, I always imagined that such questions would be straightforward.  Surely, knowing my mother, if she were in a hopeless, vegetative state or in perpetual pain, I could have more easily decided to forego the operation.  But this was so very different.  Who can say what she would choose, if she were able?     

As I struggled, I recalled a day, about 55 years ago, when a five year old boy, fearing a bunch of scary medical tests, hid in his bedroom.  My mother came in and said, “It’s time to go. But don’t worry, everything will be fine.”

After a full recovery from the operation, my mother continues to live in her imaginary world, oblivious to her own ordeal. I think I made the right decision. 

© lumdog 2013
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I wrote this for the Week 68 Trifecta Writing Challenge where we are to write 33-333 words using the word “time” in the context of an appointed fixed moment or an opportune or suitable moment.

Your comments are appreciated.

 
 

32 comments:

  1. What a difficult decision. I'm glad you chose the one that felt true to your heart.

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    1. Thanks Renee. I appreciate the supportive words.

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  2. The hardest decisions are those in which we have to go with our heart. And hope it's right. So glad you are at peace with you decision.

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    1. I got some advice from a very important person in my life. I'm very greatful for that. I wanted to put her role in my piece but that was a story by itself. Maybe another post.

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  3. Sounds like a frightening and ver difficult decision. It also looks like you made the right one...

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    1. It was frightening and overwhelming. Thanks Marie.

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  4. Wow, that was incredibly thought provoking. 'Talking like my mother is a sick aged dog' - that is heart wrenching. My parents died too young. I've sometimes thought I would have liked the opportunity to make decisions like this - to take care of them. Great piece. I love the flashback to the young boy hiding in the closet.

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    1. Thanks for all those kind words Steph. I'm sorry you lost your parents so young.

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  5. Very profound piece. Enjoyed it.

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  6. What a heart-wrenching piece - beautifully written!

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  7. I am glad you were able to overcome your fears and make the right decision for you both.

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  8. We've had to make some calls like that in my family too; it's so hard to know what's right. I'm glad you found the right choice for your family.

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    1. Thankfully, I've just had to go through this once so far. Thanks Annabelle. Appreciate hearing this from someone who went through it.

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  9. I'm glad you were able to reach a decision in your heart. The last two paragraphs were the best - love the cut back to your childhood and then the reveal of the decision you made.

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    1. I'm glad you liked the flashback. Thanks Janna.

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  10. This hit me in my stomach- where it was meant too.

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    1. Thank you Mum. I hoping for a reaction, but I didn't mean to hit you in the stomach! ;)

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  11. I'm sure you made the right decision (: The doctor could have been a bit more compassionate...

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  12. I adore the way you balanced the decision and came to your conclusion. Grace & peace, -j

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  13. I love how you used that memory to give us a wonderful glimpse into the kind of person your mother must be. Wonderful.

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    1. Thanks Christine. I though of writing more about her, but word limit wouldn't permit.

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  14. We reap what we sow, eh, lumdog? Nice one.

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  15. I enjoyed this very much!! As always your stories are fascinating!! I also nominated you for the Liebster Award.

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  16. Thank you so much Donetta. I didn't see your entry this week. :(

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  17. It is a scary situation. You never know if you are doing the right thing. And it is about quality of life. I'm glad that you a happy with the end result as far as the decision making goes. We are getting to that point in life where we are making decisions about our parents. It's an strange thing...

    Nicely written as always!

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  18. I know this feeling so well-am glad that you made a decision & are happy with it Lumdog.It's the toughest decision one has to make.I had to decide for my Dad if he should be kept on the ventilator & life saving drugs- the Drs said,he would not live as all his organs were failing & that it would be only prolonging the inevitable-we also knew that without my Mom ,he had no will to live & much of what he was suffering ,he had brought upon himself-still it was so difficult to go see him after me & my brother gave the nod to the Drs-though he was unconscious but I hated myself for not being able to save him..

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