Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Choices



Well, it was a long weekend and I am not convinced I've made the right decisions, but at least Steve is back to help. He went to see her yesterday and began working on the paperwork. There are some serious questions that have little to do with her health, but everything to do with how and where she will live until the end.

I don't think she can return home now, as weak and disabled as she's become, but as of today, Lynda has not accepted this fact. She still thinks that she'll get stronger and can return to her apartment, and remains in denial after I've told her there is no way that we can take adequate care of her at the apartment. In fact, we've given notice at the Continental, and of course, the more reasonable option would have been assisted living, but I think she's past that. Certainly she couldn't be admitted to the Park because she was too feeble.

One thing I haven't done enough of is looking for places that can accommodate her that are not necessarily in or near South Austin. Steve is talking with the various players in the process (Marbridge and Hospice) to find out how we can best make use of Lynda's Medicare/Medicaid benefits to maximize her comfort level here in the final days/weeks/months. Of course, Marbridge isn't the facility I'd expected to land her in, but then my expectations are different from Lynda's, and both are wildly divergent from the reality as it finally presents itself to us.

The fact is, unless one is wealthy enough to afford full-time in-home care for one's last days, we must expect to end up among the ranks of the merely disabled, if we are lucky and the cognitively impaired if we are not. Neither is an attractive end, but one may either avoid the fate altogether by committing suicide at an appropriate time, or resolving to make the best of the final suffering and at least comfort those you are leaving behind by letting them know you chose this end and will take responsibility for it.

Otherwise, we end up where we are now, when the family feels guilty for the suffering but was powerless to avoid it and is equally powerless to end it. I think we must all take this responsibility or face abandonment as caregivers lose the desire to help one who will not help themselves.

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