Spinning Thoughts & Tales ~

Where is the line?

I signed a “do not resuscitate” document when Mama transferred from private to the public long-term care facility.   It was one of several documents about the care of and when death occurs plans in a government-run operation.  Many of the documents were the same as the private facility.  Of course, the cost is one-third, less care workers, the intent is there, but… and the food is so bland or disgusting, words fail me.  I know a cliche.  Better a cliche than a rant.  Really, your ears would burn.

Summer colds arrived last week.  Mom is not well.


Mom has a chest cold, as do four or five more residents.  She is wheezing.  Her lungs sound full of fluid or infection or both.  I was not happy with the nurse’s response to my question.

Me:  “What are you giving Mom for the cough?”       Nurse:  “Just Tylenol to make her comfortable.”   

Now, you know, my hackles rose a bit at that response, but, I contained myself. 

Me:  “She is wheezing and appears to be full of fluid, are you giving her anything for that?”       Nurse:  “I checked her last night, her chest was fine last night.”     

Me: “Well, she is full of fluid and what is going to be done about it?”  Nurse: ” I will check her as soon as I am finished here.”  

Right and I am the Queen of England.    I have thought about the lack of response and think the documents I signed hold the clue  why no further medical care other than making her comfortable.  I know I checked and signed the box not to resuscitate, but, that was if Mom had a heart attack or a stroke and to make her comfortable if that occurred.  Now, a cold is different, right?   Geri, cousin/sister, said, “Where is the line?”

WHERE is the line?  

Does the line start at bladder infections are okay to treat and colds are not?   I know I checked the box to keep her comfortable, but, a cold.  There must be some mistake.  I believe it is necessary to clarify a few points: where is the line before treatment is not administered and who decided where the line was. 

Tomorrow morning I will be at the desk with my copies of the paperwork to discuss the “line” and the expected action.   Apparently there is a lung infection going around, so…to battle I go. 

Interesting isn’t it, I struggled with being the main caregiver, the warrior daughter with all the responsiblity of reversed roles, to finally accept others will not and cannot help, to let go of the anger, hurt, and frustration, to just accept this time in our lives, to be there, make it right, comfortable, and just love Mom.  Perhaps, now is the beginning of the final end.  

Recently, someone said the reason they are still here is because we still have a something to learn.   Alright, one more life lesson.  How much is this going to hurt?

Stay safe and loved.


Comments on: "Where is the line?" (8)

  1. I can only imagine how difficult this is for you and wish healing for your mother, and peace of mind for you. I know I will be in your shoes one day, I am the oldest child and only daughter. I wish there was an easier way.

    • Kelly, I am thinking about writing a book to help others when they have to do this in the future. It would be more compassionate if she passed in her sleep, in her bed, in her own place, but, unfortunately the more degrading way of life has to be endured for now. I know you will do it well, when your turn comes around.

  2. lilacacres said:

    Oh Carol,

    Let us know how you did after battle…….and how mom is doing.



  3. My grandma was in the nursing home this spring. I was the one and only bitch granddaughter who made sure that they treated fever, congestion, etc. when they were busy/lazy/useless. Now I had a bad experience with a bad facility of employees who purported to care but desired only to ignore people in pain. I wish you much better than that, and your mother as well. As for my own technique for dealing with unwilling nursing home help, I do NOT recommend shouting “Jesus Christ, she’s alive you know, give her a damn benadryl” but it is effective.

    • Lora – you crack me up. Yes, that is often how one gets attention. I swear they crinch when I start marching toward the desk. It is a sad part of life.

  4. Frances Regan said:

    All the best Carol
    It has been awhile since I read your blog. You have a wonderful talent and such a full life. it is amazing what there is to learn about someone from their experiences and the peace it brings to know you were there to hear the stories
    All the best to Aunt Helen. It is difficult to watch the decline and some days blur into others but keep the battle up; she is lucky to have you advocating for her
    All the best to the rest of the family
    Fran Regan

    • Thanks, Fran.
      I so appreciate your kind words. I often think how you all cared for Aunt Vera as she declined in health. You and the rest of the cousins paved the way. Mom is the last of her generation. I guess she is going to make 95 and match our great-grandmother in living a long life. Take care and my best to you and your family. Enjoy your summer off. If Geri gets down here, we need to get together, have a girlie cousin lunch.

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