Thursday, July 1, 2010

When Enough is Enough

I believe that at the time I agreed to marry Haydn I undertook a role, although I probably did not recognise it at the time.

Haydn and his late wife Leigh were married for about 27 years; they have 3 children, all of them living in this region. Leigh was an only child and her death left a gaping hole for her Mother Dorothy [Dot] who is now 92 years of age. Daughter Alex is the only family member to take time for her grandmother.

Dot has enjoyed the most amazing health and is not coping well with the periodic burning sensation that she gets in her legs. Fortunately it is not always there. Either Haydn or I call daily to check that she is OK. We offer to help where we can although there are often time constraints as we struggle to fit in my medical appointments; we all know there have been plenty of those over the past two years. We regularly buy her beer and fruit and vegetables and take them to her. Yes! She enjoys a glass of white wine with lunch and a beer at night. I have mentioned previously that retiring to the farm was not a good idea; this is the time we need to be close to all services. The 180 kilometre round trip adds about 2.5 hours. They are often long days.

We have noticed lately that Dot has become very despondent and cries frequently during our phone conversations. Her eyesight is failing, making reading difficult. Apart from that, she is quite agile and lives alone. She would like to continue to live where she is as it is across the road from the shopping centre. The most pressing problem appears to be that she has outlived her friends and loneliness has become enemy number one.

She mentioned recently that she had gone to to Garden City shopping centre looking for the Target store. She asked directions and became so overwhelmed when she could not follow them that she found her way to the bus stop and headed for home with great urgency. When I suggested that Haydn and I would be happy to take her she thought it was a lovely idea as there was some shopping she would do there.

Today was the day! Funny thing is that when we arrived at the shopping centre she had no interest in looking in the shops. What do you do with a 92y.o. from 10.30am to 12.30 while waiting for granddaughter and great granddaughter to arrive? I suggested coffee and, although she was not interested initially, she succumbed, and so we sat down waiting for Alex and Amarlie to arrive for lunch.

Dot shared with me the fact that she is tired of living; the loneliness has left its mark and it is obvious that she now sees the glass as half empty. She is fast losing sight of the joy of living. The passion has gone.

I asked her what her feelings were on euthanasia. She says she agrees whole heartedly but does not feel she has the where-with-all so it is not an option.

I have just begun reading 'Denial of the Soul' [Spiritual and Medical Perspectives on Euthanasia and Mortality] by M Scott Peck. Being a believer in Eternal Life I am determined to learn my life's lessons knowing that it is not when or how I die, rather how I live that is important. I am prepared to put my trust in the medical system [and the Lord] to provide quality pain management and palliative care as necessary.

In the meantime I have just gone to make myself a cup of ginger tea. The honey jar was empty so I had to open a new one myself as Haydn is in bed. Just for the fun of it.... try putting your dominant hand behind your back and opening a new jar. Makes me smile as I endeavour not to let the frustrations overcome me. Who says I do not need to be in care?


Anonymous said...

Chez nice to come and see another blog..You so rock my friend..I am sure Dot feels so lucky to have you in her life. I do know using one hand is not easy and u been doing it for a while now.will come back to post as i need to get ready for work.
Love u lots my friend and u help so many.xoxo

Chez said...

Kaz thanks my friend. Sorry to say but I suspect that 'girl' of yours is playing with your energy. Think there will be more of it over the next few days. Kassie has worked out that you are looking for the signs and she will not disappoint the Mom that she loves so much.
Think Dot appreciates what we do. Kaz you, more than most, know the feeling of losing an only daughter. Leigh was married and Dot does have grandchildren. There is no comparison my sweet friend. My heart goes out to you xoxo

diane said...

How wonderful you are, to be sick yourself but still caring for others. It is a sad tale of Dot.

Chez said...

Diane thank you for your kind words.
I suspect that Dot feels she has passed her use by date. No joy in living. So sad!