Friday, July 2, 2010

Mum dies for 15 minutes on operating table

Dramatic developments the past few weeks. The surgeon was going to remove her pre-cancerous adenomatous polyp. The anaesthetist misjudged the amount of anaesthetic to give her and her heart stopped. It took 9 electric shocks to re-start her heart. She was in a coma on life support. The family came to say goodbye. I took out her pre-planned funeral booklet and started to think of arrangements.

But next morning, at 10 a.m., just as my daughter arrived from interstate. she woke up and asked for a cup of tea!

I have mixed feelings about this. I think if it were me, I'd only want to die once; I wouldn't have wanted to be resuscitated at the age of 83. But then, Mum does not know she has dementia. She thinks I am the one who is crazy and keeps making mistakes. I asked her if she wanted to be resuscitated if her heart stopped again and she said yes, it's good to be alive. So I should be glad that she wants to be here. But hey, God, what are you doing here? You sent her back to suffer more?

My cousin said to me, "God's timing is always right." For all the nice atheists out there, I apologize for this venture into the spiritual world. I'm sure you have your way of looking at things too. But this is how I look at it. So, I am trying to accept that she was sent back for a reason, that there is more work for her to do here, OR MAYBE I HAVEN'T BEEN PUNISHED ENOUGH!!!??

So, she was in hospital under close observation for a week. They could find nothing wrong with her heart. It wasn't a heart attack.

The surgeon and anaesthetist apologized. I won't be suing, that's for sure. It was good to get an apology for this horrible mistake.

The surgeon said he'd give her two months to think whether she'd like to try again. So we got a few opinions. Most opinions were that dying of bowel cancer is a very nasty way to die and even though the operation might kill her (again), that is a better way to go.

Meanwhile she had an operation for a large skin cancer on her leg. The surgeon had to cut about half an inch down. She had skin grafts. It has been painful and there's been a lot of suffering associated with it. She's still in pain and has to sleep at my place. I take her home to her house in the day time. I have to take her to the local doctor every day so the nurse can change the dressing. My workload has multiplied. I have very little time to myself now. I have to do everything for Mum. When she showers, we have to wrap the leg in plastic and make sure we don't get it wet. Goo runs down into her sock and so socks need changing several times a day and soaking in bleach. It is horrible.

I am trying to take over feeding the cat. She is resisting. I just can't take any more of her forgetting if she's fed it or not and trying to feed it six times a day at least and leaving several plates heaped high with dry cat food througout the house. There have been arguments: she says I'm trying to starve the cat to death because I don't like it. She says I'm a bully and I'm a cat-killing cat-hater. But I'm being stubborn and sticking to my plan. One plate of dry food and one small tin of food each day - no more.

God it is hard.


  1. Oh, how my heart goes out to you!!!

    I know you want a good quality of life for your mother, and you see the changes taking place with her, ....and what do you do......The work you're doing with her is so tiring and endless ..It's so hard to understand why things happen the way they do..........
    You're in my thoughts and prayers!

  2. My Dad said the same thing when we talked to him about resuscitation. Before dementia, he expressed he did not want a feeding tube, but we did not get a medical power of attorney. Since we needed one done really quickly last year, he was quite upset with us as he said he didn't want to die and wanted to be resuscitated and tube fed. It is so hard isn't it? My heart goes out to you.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Yes, it is a hard road we are travelling.

  4. They say this is the hardest job you will ever have. I have that job as well.



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