Six Word Saturday

Quality or quantity of life – choice?

My mom is with us again this weekend.  She is having a much worse weekend than last weekend, and that makes things hard.  Both hers and my dad’s older age have not been much in the area of quality and it makes me wonder.  If we had a choice or if there IS a choice.  I mean, I realize that my mom’s cancer wasn’t a choice.  But, her pursuing treatment after treatment over the years, even with very little promise of positive outcome was her choice.  And she did it.  She suffered horrible side effects, painful surgeries, loss of body parts…more than once.  And so she is here with us, but at what cost?

My dad hung on for quite a while through his dementia.  He would NOT have wanted to live the last year of his life the way he did.  He probably would have chosen to end it earlier than that, given a choice.  But, he was not.

There is now a bill moving through the California legislature providing for legal assisted suicide.  I support it.  I think that in our society, we focus too much on quantity of life and not enough on quality of life.  That is true always, not just for those with terminal illness, but it is especially true for those with terminal illness.

No one know the amount of pain and suffering that one will have to go through to make it to the end, but although I support the legislation, I also don’t know if I could ever make that choice for myself.  With my mom, there have been good intervening years that she may have missed given some of her early prognosis.  So, who knows what will happen?  Medical advances are being made all the time.  But, I do think that for older individuals who are satisfied with their lives and are given a prognosis of pain and suffering, whether long or short, this option is a good one to have available.

 

7 thoughts on “Six Word Saturday

  1. I just lost my own Mom last month to congestive heart failure at age 88. Seeing my parents struggle with the issues of illness and age is one of the hardest things I have yet faced. That being said, our family’s faith in God as a loving Heavenly Father helps us to believe that God knows us each personally, and will strengthen us and help us to face whatever challenges we have in life. May he bless you and your mother through these difficult times!

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    • Marcy – Thanks for the comment. I think that is why I would never personally feel comfortable resorting to assisted suicide, but I also believe that God gives us gifts in ways we don’t understand and for some, that gift may be through the medical intervention that allows them to pass on. We just can’t know.

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  2. Great share. I take care of my grandmother and she has Alzheimer’s which can be tough and I think about quality of life all the time. Caring for her has changed my perspective on many things to say the least, appreciate your honesty

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    • Thanks for the comment. There are so many caregivers out there! I am so happy that I can be there for my mom and that you can be there for your grandmother, but none of it is easy and no one teaches you how to do this stuff!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this. I think end of life decisions should include this option. Not only is the pain and anguish an issue, many do not want their children to see them suffer and suffer in turn as worn out care givers. My mother in law died of complications due to Alzheimer’s, but she had a DNR she had signed before she went too far downhill. Best wishes to you and your mother. BTG

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    • Thanks BTG. Both my mom and dad have DNRs but my dad’s body was much healthier than his mind was, so he was basically a shell for the last eight months. It was really hard on my mom and very, very expensive. My mom is in much better shape mentally, but physically, she has a hard time with pain management and shaking. But, she is starting to have some cognitive issues as well now. She is just totally frustrated and doesn’t have much happiness and again, it is very, very expensive. End-of-life care is just so very expensive – for someone. Luckily my parents had money put aside, but for others the price is paid by the next generation in lost wages, time away from family and total exhaustion. There has to be a better way…

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