I looked around the room of somber faces. They were looking to me to intervene, to work some miracle because so far no one else had.
“She had a bad stroke one night. She was sent to rehab but didn’t progress so they sent her to a nursing home to do physical therapy. But she didn’t do well with that, either. So now she has been there at the facility for six months with a tracheostomy and a feeding tube.”
We had had this talk every year for five years:
If your heart stops and you stop breathing what do you want your doctors to do?
Every year she told me very firmly that she just wanted to be allowed to die. She did not want her life prolonged, especially if it was going to be like this… not able to communicate or do anything on her own.
Doc, I know I should get that paperwork done, but I just have not gotten around to it. I will soon, though, I promise.
But she never did.
My family understands. They’ll make the right choice even if the paperwork isn’t completed.
Her daughter, standing here, believed fervently that her 92 year old mother was going to make a full recovery. She cried when I told her what her mother had told me.
“No! She wouldn’t want that. She wouldn’t ever want to give up…”
I would rather die.
Death comes for us all. Sooner. Or sometimes later.