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What's the right thing to do?

Family Law Discussion Forum

What's the right thing to do?

Postby jung-hwa75 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:03 pm

My dad had a stroke almost a year ago and has been in declining health since then. He's gotten to the point that, while he recognizes us coming into the room, he can not interact except by facial expressions.

Christmas day was horrible. He didn't recognize our presence. He would not wake up for more than 30 seconds. He was rushed to the hospital and given a blood transfusion and put on antibiotics for various infections. He always has various infections. Turns out he was bleeding internally. After a few days in the hospital, he was sent back to his nursing home.

Prior to Christmas, he could laugh at our jokes, write illegibly until we guessed at what he was saying, and even push out a few words once in a while. He always lit up when my baby came in. She was almost four months old when he had his stroke and is 15 months now. He named her after his sister and grandmother. After Christmas, he was almost like he was Christmas day and we discussed with family who agreed that it was time to let go.

Then, last week, we were told he was being taken to the hospital for a blood transfusion. I rushed over to find him on antibiotics among other things. He was much more alert and even interactive and I spoke with him. He could nod his head yes or no to my questions and I told him I love him and asked if he wanted to continue on. I explained that we would let him go if he was ready and asked if he wanted the blood transfusion. He said yes. I asked if he wanted to continue on and he said yes.

So I called all the relatives and told them I would do whatever it takes to keep him going and they supported me. Or so I thought.

He went back to his nursing home and declined immediately to the state I mentioned above. The doctor said he needs hospital level care and, with it, can have an acceptable quality of life, such as the strength to interact with us. But hospital level care isn't available through the insurance, so we have to decide whether it's worth $1000/day to help him.

Yea, because I have that kind of money in the change from my car, right? Maybe if I go through the couch cushions?

So the infections have taken over and are eating at his organs. His ventilator is doing his breathing for him. He still responds when asked. He stared at my sister for several moments and seemed to be smiling, happy she's there to see him.

But he won't last long and the infections are taking over, and my mom has decided to take him off the ventilator. My dad's brother and one sister are in town. The sister he named his youngest grandbaby after was too ill to make it. My sister is here. And today is the day my mom signs the papers. And everyone is talking about how wrong it was to give him the transfusion last week.

And a part of me says no. He told me he wanted to keep going. He still takes pleasure in seeing us. He still loves his grandbabies. He's not ready to leave. I've been mourning him almost a year, but at least I've been able to hope. Maybe the insurance will agree to give him hospital level care. It's not his time.

And the part of me that is screaming inside also reminds me that I'm the only one who can legally do this. My parents are not married and our state does not recognize common law. Everyone may have accepted her as his wife after 30 years together, but she isn't. As the oldest child, only I can take him off the ventilator.

My dad's brother is an attorney and says do not point this out. Let my mom make the decisions. Let her sign everything. My dad trusted her and she should carry out his wishes as they had discussed over the years.

But over the years, the hypothetical was not reality. Now is reality. And he said he wants to keep going. My dad's cousin, who was in town but leaves today, says his response when he's in good condition, such as having the hospital level care in the hospital last week, is based on the belief that his care and condition will continue as it is that moment. That he has no forward thinking ability. My aunt, the attorney's wife, is a psychologist who agrees that his cognitive state is impaired with the infections and medications among other things.

But I don't care. He said he wanted to live. I have the power to stand up for that. He still enjoys our presence. He still shows sadness when the baby won't come near him (which is part of why I don't bring her around anymore). He still watches tv. He has some quality of life left.

But everyone in my family disagrees and says it's time go let go. The ventilator will be taken away today and he has 12-36 hours from then.

Should I let this happen?
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What's the right thing to do?

Postby eliot » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:09 pm

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What's the right thing to do?

Postby tripp » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:16 pm

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”

Just let him go peacefully.
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What's the right thing to do?

Postby tupac » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:17 pm

I woul tell them how I feel and what he has said. If they just won't listen and won't let you do anything, then enjoy your time left with him.
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What's the right thing to do?

Postby maddox » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:19 pm

i think you should let god decide what happens
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What's the right thing to do?

Postby wynn » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:20 pm

You're in a very tough situation. My mom had three strokes within one week about three years ago, so I know how emotionally painful these things are. However, my mom was able to make almost a full recovery so I didn't have to decide whether or not to take her off life support (I can't imagine making that decision). If your dad was in his normal state of mind, what would he want? Would he want to be on hospital level care the rest of his life? Infections and medications can influence the way people think so he may not even realize what he's facing. In addition, strokes can impair a persons thinking so he may not even be able to comprehend how the rest of his life will be. I would personally let him pass on, as tough as this may be he will be in a much happier place.
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