Monday, April 19, 2010

Death & Dying

So I think it is time for another Aughra update. This one will be a little different than others. See Aughra's body has decided not to wait for her anymore. When I went to see her on Sunday, I was shocked. I see her every week and in one week she had noticeably lost mass. The skin around her eyes was red and sunk in. Her forearms were smaller than my 9 yr olds. At the end of last week, they called mama-san and told her they were concerned with Aughra's kidneys. They seem to be leeching more water from her body than she is taking in. Also Necrosis specifically Coagulative Necrosis has begun in her legs.

Let's see if I can organize my thoughts into something you can follow. Aughra's mind still works, at least as well as it can with her low O2 levels. So She knows her body is crumbling around her and it scares the hell out of her. She never expected to live to be old. She had her 1st major stoke in her 40's. That is when they found the brain tumor. Which seems to be benign since it hasn't changed in 30 years. She has 4 major strokes and a ton of mini ones that she barely notices. Those, a heart murmur and 2 bouts of cancer have done nothing to make her believe she was ever going to live to be old. So she never thought about a lingering death. She thought it would be more of a bolt out of the sky thing. Now she is scared and small. I hope you understand what I mean by small. She seems to have drawn in on herself. She used to but this force of nature and now she is just a little old lady.

I got to thinking about death and dying. I remember me and my friends discussing our deaths. Do we want to grow old and dying in our sleep or go fast in some dramatic way? I know all of you, my dear readers, will shocked to find out that none of us picked and a slow wasting illness as the ideal way to shuffle off this mortal coil.

In this day and age we seem to have more compassion for our pets than for our human loved ones. If our dog/cat has something fatal and is in pain, we do something about it. We can't stand to see the poor thing suffering. If our great Aunt Sue is dying of incurable cancer and is in pain, society says we need to 'just be there' for her. Which means there isn't a damn thing you can do for her but wait like a vulture for her to go. the whole time quietly praying for an end to her suffering while feeling guilty about wishing for her death.

Why? Why do we do this? Is the last few months with this person, who isn't really the person you loved because the pain and drugs had changed them, that important? Is my sadness more important than Aunt Sue's pain? Well, I will tell you the sudden death of my paternal grandfather was a lot easier than this. I even found him all cold and stuff. The lingering decline of my great grandfather who had dementia.He didn't know where he was half the time and other half of the time he thought my Mama-san was his wife. Nothing to it. There was pain but the pain was short lived.

One of the hardest things I do is going to see how much of my grandmother, my Aughra, has disappeared in the last week and knowing that she knows how much she has lost too.


  1. Celia that is just horrible. I am so sorry you are going through this. The lingering death is the worst, isn't it? And the fact that she knows she's wasting away makes it even harder. She sees what's happening. (Major hugs). You and your mother, your entire family, will be in my prayers as you work your way through this with the grace and strength that is in you.

  2. Oh, honey. I wish I was there with you to let you vent and rant and rage and do what needs doing. My heart goes out to you, babe.

  3. It really is frustrating. I see a lot of people who are dying one agonizing breath at a time and have asked me why God doesn't just let them die. And I don't have answers, I'm not God. But I do know that this is a painful time. A time when a lot of faith is needed.

    Nurses and doctors can only do so much. Make ABSOLUTELY certain that there is a DNR. And be sure that you know what the doctor is giving and not giving your Aughra. Be on top of that care. *hugs*

    Love you, Celia.

  4. Love but no hugs. See, I can too learn new tricks.