Monday, July 21, 2008

184 playing "what if"

I had lunch with a friend yesterday. Her grandfather just got diagnosed with non-specific dementia. He’s in a psych ward at a nursing home now. He was diagnosed while in the hospital for heart surgery.
So we got to talking about dementia and things related to it. I told her if I had to go back in time, I’d tell my mother NOT to allow my father to undergo the heart surgery he had in September 2006. So many bad things can be traced back to that procedure. It’s the first time he was abused in a hospital setting (tied up). It made him ever more paranoid about going places, always full of fear he’d be brought back to that hospital. And of course, the blood thinners he was put on caused his brain bleed to be out of control. The out of control brain bleed put him in that semi-coma, so he was catheterized, and got a UTI, which got MRSA in it, which killed him.
Too simplistic, I realize, but there is a direct connection.
Of course, if he was still alive, would he still be home? Or would my mom be forcing herself into penury so the government would pick up the tab? Or would he have had a heart attack and died?
Which takes me to my next scenario. If he had died having that heart attack while mowing the lawn 2 years ago, he never would have beaten up my mom. Never would have gotten MRSA and suffered for weeks. I would not have to have told the doctors to change his medications so that he would hurry up and die and not suffer anymore. I would not have that on my conscience.
Of course, if that had happened, and no crystal ball had told me what my dad’s future would have been, I’d be ranting that he was still healthy and able to communicate and we should have had years more with him. And it totally would have sucked for me if my cat and dad died the same weekend.
But I guess these sorts of musings tell you that you never know what the future holds, and as bad as present may seem, the future could be a lot worse if this didn’t happen.


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Anonymous said...

I just came across this blog today and I find it very frightening that things can happen like that. I am currently 44 and am the primary caregiver for my grandma who was recently diagnosed with alzheimers. Like your dad, her diagnosis had come when she had been in the hospital after having a stroke on Christmas eve. After seeing her talk to her late husband, forget who I am, and cry at night when she doesn't remember where she is, I sometimes think she would have been happier if she had died when she had the stroke. She is in hospice care at the moment and her health is steadily declining. I am truly scared of having to make a decision like yours. I know it is coming, but I don't think my conscience could take it.

After she had the stroke, I was her primary caregiver and had to take care of all her legal things including the decision of when to let her go. My husband and I were always looking for advice on how to keep her healthy and happy. We decided to keep her with us at home until just recently when we could not. I remember that we found some very helpful advice on this website. We still go there time to time as my husband's father's health is failing.