This Week's Crisis
Dad called my yesterday morning to tell me a few things about Mom. First, she's no longer eating solid foods and has been placed on a diet of pureed food only. Secondly, he believes that she no longer has quality of life and wants to hasten her death. He's asked hospice to take her off Ativan (which she is given to prevent/reduce seizures). He wants her instead on some sort of serious narcotic called Oxy-somethingorother.
I tried to explain to him that: 1) The seizures don't cause damage, they're the result of damage to the brain. 2) Going off of Ativan would comprise her comfort. 3) Instead of him just coming up with something, it would be better to have a conversation with hospice about how to keep her comfortable but diminish her suffering.
But he didn't want to hear anything. He was focused on how hard it is for him to go visit her everyday (without recognizing that he could just take a break from his visits) and what he had done for other people in the family who died in the past, even though those cases were often very different than what's happening with Mom.
My sister and I haven't been getting along, in part because I've been enforcing boundaries with her that it isn't okay for her or her husband to yell at me and order me around. Anyway, that's another story. But when there's a crisis like this, I like to start by trying to consult with others involved. So, since I didn't want to call my sister, I started by calling my dad's best friend. She told me that she had also told my dad that it doesn't make sense to take Mom off the Ativan, but didn't have a lot of advice on what to do. Eventually, I called my sister. She mostly wanted to kvetch instead of coming up with a plan, so I got off the phone with her, especially when she started planning on not having Dad over for Rosh Hashana dinner and will instead bring dinner to Mom (even though Mom doesn't eat, sis didn't want to bring her kids to visit Mom anymore, etc.) I told her that I needed to focus on the medication issue.
She called today to tell me that she spoke with the floor coordinator after visiting Mom, who told her that Dad could do whatever he wants and that they're just waiting to receive orders from hospice.
I told my sister that the floor coordinator is not a good source of what's going to happen. She has no training or background in this. I called the nurse on call at hospice who told me that they won't take Mom off Ativan without a medical reason to do so, and not to worry. The nurse who is in charge of my mom will call me tomorrow. I called my sister back to tell her this.
Tomorrow, I have to call the hospice nurse, the social worker, and then my mom's cousin to update her. Oh and call my sister. That all in addition to my actual work load. And if I get bad news from the hospice people, I may have to be calling my Dad to negoiate Mom's care.