Thursday, June 7, 2012
Standing at the Corner of Stubborn and Quick
We had retired after eating to the living room. You cannot her our phone here, for some unknown reason too lengthy to explain here. But if a call comes in a tiny message appears in the lower right corner of the TV screen informing us. I had no sooner sat when such a little window appeared saying, "Pennsylvania" and a number. I almost missed it. I dashed through the house to the office and grabbed up the phone.
It was Doctor Whatzit.
He really did call after all.
My mother had a stroke...
She had a stroke in the area of the brain stem called the Pons. It was a tiny artery, but it had affected her left side, mainly her left arm and left leg. They wanted to do an MRI in order to see more of what happened, but my mother refused to have one. She said she was claustrophobic and couldn't stand such a thing.
It had also affected the left side of the esophagus, which prevented her swallowing since the muscles on both sides are needed to push food down to the stomach. He told me she was receiving some nutrients from an IV, but they couldn't keep her on that for long. They might have to insert a feeding tube.
I said, she has a Living Will and it says no feeding tube.
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy), he said. It was inserted through the abdominal wall directly into the stomach and she would be fed nutrient that equaled normal meals. If they took her off the IV she would die. She would stave to death, he said, an unpleasant way to go. He reiterated they couldn't keep her on the IV feed much longer and said a rehab center wouldn't accept her if she was only on IV.
This was on Friday evening, April 6. That Sunday I traveled the weary route north. The traffic was not as bad on Sunday morning as other days. That was one consolation. My oldest daughter went with me. After picking up my dad, we went to the hospital. Mom looked a little better, but far from hardy. I had been asked to give the hospital her Living Will and I dropped a copy off at the nurses station.
There was a lady visiting my mom when we came, a friend of hers. I came back in and decided to try and persuade my mom to have the MRI. She insisted she wouldn't be able to stand that enclosed chamber. I was trying to explain it wasn't completely closed, when the friend chimed in.
"I don't know why you would need a MRI. I they took an X-ray. They know where the stroke was. I think they have enough."
I could have shoved her into an enclosed chamber, like a coffin after I smothered her with a nearby pillow.
My mother staunchly refused the MRI.
After the lady left, a nurse or some kind of hospital person came into the room. She came up to the bed and asked my mother if she would allow them to insert a feeding tube. My mother told her no. The person said, "Okay," and left.
I told him I had a couple appointments on Wednesday and wouldn't be able to take him to the hospital (someone else would), but let me know how it went.
What happened? There was this very stubborn woman who feared a simple MRI, had put down no feeding tube on her Living Will, had told them when they asked, "No feeding Tube" and as quicker than that was said, she was getting a feeding tube.
And as usual, things did not go smoothly. My grandmother once said that, "This family can't ever do anything just once." It seems she was right.