Friday, March 18, 2016

Enough! Mom Makes The Decision

The day we have known was coming arrived today. My mother, Deanna Beattie, has been dealing with the effects of end-stage renal failure for about four years.

Initially the diagnosis precipitated big changes in mom's diet. By altering her diet, we were able to hold off the need for dialysis for a urinary half. There are many things that she enjoys that were not on the allowed list: ice cream, nuts, milk, cheese, tomatoes  and whole grains. So we went to a dietitian as a family and got an education about phosphorus, potassium and kidney disease. And try to help mom eat healthy.

In the fall of 2012, we began a new journey. One with a new language, new skills  and new people to help us. And I say us because the whole family has been involved in this journey at some level. Dr. Clyne had advised me to take mom to an informational meeting at Davita to learn about the various treatment options for end-stage renal failure, meaning dialysis.

During the meeting we learned that there were five treatment options:

  1. Traditional renal dialysis, meaning in a center on a machine three times per week.
  2. Renal dialysis at home, which involves always having a partner to insert the needles and your arm.
  3. Peritoneal dialysis (which is a process whereby the peritoneal membrane in the abdominal cavity is used to perform dialysis, performed at home often by the patient.
  4. Peritoneal dialysis performed in a center with assistance.
  5. Hospice care. 
I remember when mom and I came out of the informational meeting, which was at Davita here in Rochester Hills, and got in the car she looked at me and asked,  "How did this happen to me?" We talked about diabetes and blood pressure and too much salt in processed food and all the things that we're told contribute to kidney failure. Truth is that we have a very high per capita rate of kidney failure in the United States.

After that meeting and our conversation, mom decided to try peritoneal dialysis at home. When it came time. Little did we know that the time would come very quickly.

During November and December and into January were talking the end of 2012, mom who hospitalized five times. And although her numbers didn't indicate that the need for dialysis was eminent, over the hospitalizations was discovered that mom needed dialysis so we began to make plans.

During the the Christmas holiday time of 2012, there was a particularly bad night for mom. She had gotten pneumonia and the infection had gone septic in her system. We had spent the night in the emergency room waiting to see if mom would pull through. I had set with her all night watching and listening to the sounds of the hospital and the sounds of care around us. Praying wondering if mom would pull out of this or if this was the end of things. In the morning at it all around nine or 10 o'clock she finally came around, the antibiotics have done a job in the infection was on the decline. And she began to wake up I said mom I'm so glad you're here I thought you might be gone from us. I said I love you. And she asked, "Do you love me  enough to let me go?" I responded,  "Yes when it's time but I'll miss you."

At the beginning of February mom had told Dion early one Friday morning while she got ready for work that she was gonna stop dialysis on her birthday which is 18 February. It happened to be at Dr. appointment day and I was picking mom up so when I got to her house she told me. And then she told Dr. Clyne. The next day she had changed her mind. She had a good day playing games with Ashley and sit up and talking with Dion. I wonder now if she just scared herself.

Yesterday I took mom to see Dr. Barnes because she could hardly breathe. I had been at her house on Wednesday to take her to the doctor but she didn't want to go. So Wednesday night late she called me and she said please get me in to see Dr. Barnes I need to know what's going on with me. She didn't realize if she had a cold or flu, Dion had been sick the week prior. Mom had a very difficult time getting herself ready meaning her coat on and shoes on and then out to the car. I'd never seen it so tough for her to breathe. Congestive heart failure was taken in big time.

On the way to Dr. Barnes office that Thursday, mom looked at me and said I wish God would take me right now. Her blood oxygen level was 73. He asked her she would go to the hospital and she said no. He said I can try and patch you up if you want to be at home, or is it time for other end-of-life decisions. Because mom had talked with him about hospice a couple of times. Mom hung her head and she said I don't know what I want. Making decisions for mom has never been easy, she'd rather somebody else made them her life made the decision.

Today, Mom decided enough is enough. She let Dion and I know that she was going to stop dialysis. The three of us talked for a little while and I asked if that meant it was time to call hospice and mom said yes. She had talked to the folks from hospice a few months earlier so that she understood what would be involved.

Mom seemed to relax after making the decision or at least sharing it with us, I think she was relieved. After Dion and I talked for little while I went in to say good night to mom to let her know that I was going home. I kissed her and said, "I love you mom".A she smiled and looked back at me and said, "I love you, never forget that." I said.  "I won't mom and I want you to know this mom because I know sometimes you wonder doubted it you've been a wonderful mother to me and to all of us. Thank you." I started so sing softly, "I love you a bushel and a peck; a bushel and a pack and a hug around the neck... Mom joined me as good as she could and we sang the little song the Barney song that she had so often sung with her granddaughters.

Tonight we begin a new chapter in the story of Beattieville. I don't necessarily like it. Yet I know it's time for my mom, the struggle is over. God carry us through the next little while.

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