Snapped and recorded by @topgold
MY MOM IS actively dying. I'm part of a vigil at her bedside.
Hospice professionals have politely told me and my brothers that we need to take care of ourselves just as we continue to offer the best care for mom in her final days. So as part of that personal healing process, I need to vent a few thoughts on my blog, reflecting some of the cryptic log entries we've recorded in the final weeks of 2014.
It sounds oxymoronic to write about "active death" and yet that is a term used by some hospice nurses when a patient enters the final 12 hours of life. To her sons, "active dying" means mom will continue to beat the odds and will extend her time by a factor of three, perhaps dying sometime very early in 2015.
I know firsthand that actively predicting when someone will die is a guessing game. Mom has lived nearly two weeks without food or water. She gets nothing through her mouth because she cannot swallow. As the log entry (above) shows, we give mom morphine every two hours. Through all of this, her pulse remains strong. You can see her veins pulsate on her very thin arms.
We know mom is close to the end because her breathing pattern sounds like a fish out of water. Even so, she is breathing once every five seconds, as loud and forcefully as I snore. Mom has never snored.
In the past 30 days, mom has shriveled into a skeleton of herself. She weighs less than 90 pounds. Her physical appearance is distressing. Se does not look like the vivacious woman who raised five sons. Few of her seven grandchildren would recognise her face now. Neither of her two great grandchildren would know her--and they should not see her in this condition either.
True to her spirit as a considerate mother, my mom is teaching me things about what I should do when I'm dying. I know I need to specify health care protocols for my own final days of life. Seeing what mom has experienced with the intervention of modern medicine, I plan to execute legal documents that make it illegal to treat me with drugs that dehumanise me. I want to pass away without my body fighting the normal condition of active death. I believe my mom would have appreciated following the same course too.