Sunday, October 24, 2010


Last Wednesday Mom had a heart attack. It was probably her second one. The first one, a week ago, she took an aspirin and laid down until it went away. The second one was much worse and she pulled the cord in her apartment for help. At the hospital they did a heart catheterization and found a 100% blockage at one artery and 2 others were 90% blocked. The cardiologist recommended triple bypass and the surgeon has agreed that it is a viable option. She is 92 years old and the risk is very high. Mom is a very spunky, alert woman, very capable of knowing what she wants in life. She said, " I am not afraid of dying, but I want to live." The doctor said that if we treated her with medicine and no surgery she would be having repeated attacks and episodes that would have her in an out of the hospital and she could no longer live independently. She said that is not the way she wants to live. I guess, what I want, is to keep her as long as possible but not in pain.
When my Dad died, it was hard. I loved him a lot but he had lost much of his mental abilities and was so miserable because he was incontinent and confused, that it was easier to accept losing him. At one of the later visits to him in the nursing home, he was sitting on the edge of the bed in a diaper and not understanding what was happening to his body and his life and all I could do was sit beside him and hug him. He said to me, "Peggy, you will never know how much you mean to me." It was the greatest gift he could ever give to me.
But Mom is alive. While we sat and visited with her yesterday she was sharp and funny. Mary and Martha were there with me. Mary was working on a crossword puzzle(she said it was a committee project) and Mom was startling us with the words she knew(like sheep were ovine and I forget what an eagle nest was but Mom knew. Martha had her computer and was going over her ancestry program. Mom was telling us stories about great aunts and uncles we had never met. Then I sent the girls away to get me a diet Coke so Mom and I could be alone and talk. I love her so much.
I hope you don't mind but I had to write some of this down.


Pam J. said...

Oh Peggy. I'm so sorry to hear about this. Such a big decision for all of you to make. It sounds like surgery is likely, and given how healthy your mom seems in other ways surgery is probably the choice I would hope my mother would make in a similar situation. Having lost both of my parents (mother in 1997 from a massive stroke; father in 2005 from cancer) I know fully how hard this is for you. I'm very, very glad you wrote about this. Please continue to give us updates. (And it seems all wrong to bring this up now but are you still planning to come to the Jon Stewart rally? I just wrote to a friend who's coming to town for it and I said I hoped to meet up with my blogging friend from Detroit. I even planned to -- and will now -- post a picture on my blog of a potential meeting place but I will not be shocked to hear that you have changed your plans.) I'll be thinking about you a lot, more than you probably can imagine.

Kitt said...

That's a difficult place to be in. I hope you can reach a decision that you both can be at peace with and that has a good outcome. Ninety-two! That's pretty awesome.