Sunlight Shining Through Cloud

Advocate or Inhibit?

Posted on: April 16, 2011

I’m writing this from my mother’s hospital room where she’s being treated for, well, we don’t quite know yet. It’s been seven days of high activity here.  There were moments when we wondered if she’d make it.  Only today am I able to examine my role in all of this.

I assumed the official role of caregiver for my parents about six years ago.  All of this is chronicled in ElderBlog and I won’t repeat it here.  There have been many occasions on which I’ve asked myself if I was complying with their wishes or inserting my own.  I’d like to think that my only insertions were in an effort to give Mom equality with my dominant father thereby giving her a better quality of life in her later years.  I’ve been an advocate for both parents as it regards their living conditions and medical care.

Clearly, my role in this hospital room is that of a human nurse-call button.  In the best of circumstances, Mom would never push it because “they’re so busy.”   In these circumstances, she is most often unable to push it.  She hasn’t either the mental clarity or the physical ability to do so.

Both of my parents wrote formal directives calling only for comfort in their medical care.  Each specifically ordered that no extraordinary means be used to prolong their lives.

All of which brings me to the question of the day: What am I doing here?  Am I – by advocating for what I believe to be comfort – doing exactly what Mom has told me not to do: prolong her life?  She has made it clear that she’s ready to go  — wants to go.

Am I keeping her here?

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