|An old photo of my grandmother with her dog Oso|
Last week, my grandmother's longtime doctor released her from the hospital. He said there was nothing more he could do for her. She's had congestive heart failure, two strokes, open heart surgery, and blood clot surgery on her leg. Since December, he's been preparing our family for the inevitable, our matriarch's death. She is now at home. I've spent the past two weeks, changing her diapers, feeding her through a tube, and attending to her pain medicines, laundry, and hygiene.
Although the doctor only gave her days, it looks as though she may have months. Her suffering is prolonged due to the same doctor who inserted a feeding tube in her belly.
|My grandmother meets her great granddaughter, Audrey Rose.|
When she is not at ease, she screams out in agony and calls out for her ancestors, and all the dogs she has ever kept (she loves animals). She is done with living and wants the feeding tube removed. The doctor is currently on vacation until next week. This is a lesson in heartbreak, a lesson in dying.
When I go, I want to make sure no one ever puts a peg tube in me or keeps me alive beyond life's natural course. She has said that she has died three times over the duration of her life and has been called back each time. Her daily expressions about truly wanting to finally die are frustrating and selfish (I don't want this to happen on my watch). Although she has asked me numerous times to help end her life with a gun or a knife, this is not an option for me. She will have to take her last breath on her own. I do, however, wish her the quickest peace. But she is fierce and strong, and getting stronger under our loving care. She just might make it to her 87th birthday next month.
*in case you missed the previous installation of this series: