Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm Mad as Hell

I have spent a good deal of the last 2 weeks in the hospital holding the hand of my dying Grandmother. She has retained her lucidity and knows who I am, which I am grateful for, but realize that in many ways it would be easier for her if she was "not" aware of all the horrible ways in which her body was betraying her. Her leg is so swollen that her body fluids have started leaking out through the (ulcerated) skin and the cancer in her breast has also started to burst its way outward. In response to this her Doctor insists that she is not in undue pain and does not need anything stronger than tylenol...FUCK!!!! The woman is 100 years old and dying, give her morphine and give it to her in large doses for god sake!!!! Now I ask you, is this the way that a loved one needs to die?

What kind of inhumane society do we live in which mandates that, no matter how much you are suffering, it is illegal and immoral to precipitate the end. I am filled with so much fury and sorrow that at any given time I don't know what awful words will fly out of my mouth. We sit there holding her hand when we should be doing so much more to help her and alleviate her suffering.

This sucks, it totally sucks.


  1. I'm so terribly sorry about what is happening to her it's horrible and seriously inhumane. At least in my opinion, but in our current society where everyone is trying to look younger and live-forever there are a lot of people who don’t want to accept death for what it is. I think now a lot of hospitals are trying to keep patience’s alive regardless. If you piss off one relative who thinks keeping the patient alive is better it’s a whole big lawsuit. (Something similar happened to me a few years ago) if you’re not the only one who feels that they should be doing more, every hospital has a human resource center. Or maybe even a second opinion?

    I hope you fine peace through all of this. I wish your Family the best.

  2. Charli, I am so sorry to hear this. I know getting into a dispute with the doctor isn't necessarily the best idea but at this point their only treatment option is comfort and having watched someone I cared about suffer in a very similar manner, morphine is normally prescribed. If her immediate doctor won't do it, you may have to go over his head.

    It is so unfortunate that people aren't allowed to die with dignity and without pain.

    Hopefully, you all find peace. Take care.

    P.S. You should probably be able to see the blog now - it was undergoing a makeover last week.

  3. Charli,

    I do not know your location, but there are patient's rights in place in most states/countries. Please ask to speak with the patient's rights advocate at the hospital (if they have one). If there is not an advocate, ask to speak to a social worker or a hospital administrator. There is no reason for anyone to be denied adequate pain management. Do not be afraid of being perceived as difficult or as a bitch. Doctors are not the gods that some of them seem to think they are. Everyone (including this doctor) has to answer to someone.

    Good luck with this. I am keeping you and your grandmother in my prayers.

  4. I had posted something earlier this morning but perhaps I did not click the correct things in the proper order, therefore my post is forever lost... Mostly.

    I mentioned that when my grandmother was in the hospital, in a lot of pain we contacted Hospice Care. They came and took care of her and the whole family while in the hospital. It was so much more comfortable. Hopefully, it is offered in your area and maybe it is something you and your family could look into.

    I wish to you strength and hope.

  5. Charli,

    Such a tragic time... thoughts and prayers for you both... You being there for her is her strength and is providing her more consolation than any medicine can provide... reminisce with her... continue to hold her hand... Does she have a DNR authorized? You may want to make sure that this is in place. If you wished me to be there to meet with you and her doctors to assist in puting a united front forward with some demands, i will be there... But unfortunately that could only be Wednesday at the earliest for me.

    Your friend,

  6. Sqweakygurl, Aurore, Alice and Avachild.....I can't tell you how much your kindness and support mean to me, thank you so much. I have taken note of all your suggestions and will look into a suitable solution. Your warm wishes make my heart lighter...I am very grateful.

    My Dear Charlie, thanks so much for the offer but I don't think that it is necessary. My father is there and, although he does not seem to be "fighting" for her as I would like him to, I will begin to take up the fight and stand tough for her. I can be quite a formidable opponent when I put my mind to it.

  7. When my mom was dying, we gave her a morphine cocktail to put her out of 'her' misery. 15 years later, my father asked me to give him the same and I couldn't. In the end, he made a living will and when he refused food, the hospital did not force it upon him.
    I see it as a bio ethical issue. My mom wanted to live and I killed her. My dad wanted to die, and I forced him to live. It seems to be more about the survivors. In both cases, I have suffered from the action or failure to act.


  8. charli, I'm so sorry about your grandmother,and i realize what hospitals are like, you have to be a strong advocate to get the care you require and need.

    it sounds like she should be medicated, hell if she is 100, she should get whatever she wants.

    my grandmother died at 99, but unlike yours the end cam quickly and i had to rush to Montreal to see her one last time, i am so glad that i did.

    i hope that things change and she finds comfort, im sure she is happy and comforted that you are there with her.

    my thoughts are with you,


  9. Yekoga and Finbar....thank you for your kindness. In the end we did fight for the morphine and won. Why we had to fight I'll never know.

    I am happy to hear that your Grandmother was able to see you one last time Finbar...very happy.