Last night I was instructed not to get out of bed in the morning but to just call, or ring my bell. Sure enough, Sweetie and the Bean made me breakfast in bed. This year, it was more sophisticated than most. She made me a cheese and tomato omelet. Plus juice and tea. There must be tea. I think our dearest memories of our mothers involve tea. There were presents too. A gift certificate for a pen I ogled recently. A writer needs a good solid pen, not the one I liberated from the hotel last weekend. And a Pandora charm. Not the bracelet I tried on or one of the hundred charms I had marked off in the catalogue, but the one the Bean chose -- because Mommy likes pearls. It is beautiful. (When we returned from Montreal last weekend, she and I spent an hour combing through my jewellery box and trying on dresses. We spent a lot of time on the pearls. My little Bean pumped me full of confidence in my appearance, something cancer has tried to take from me.)
I have some time to write now while they walk the dog. I am mentally preparing for the trip to the hospital. Mom has been moved out of ICU to the Acute Monitoring Area so they can continue to watch her oxygen desaturations. She is in a private room due to an antibiotic-resistant infection. We appreciate the privacy, particularly as my brothers were here yesterday and the room was crowded.
She still isn't able to communicate with us. We can only guess at her level of consciousness. And yet we had to have another conversation last night about our "goals for care." What happens next time she has an infection and goes septic? Do we treat with antibiotics? Do we treat her low blood pressure, requiring an ICU admission? Do we ventilate her if necessary? None of us ever imagined she would be brain damaged and paralyzed. What would she say she wants? To slip away peacefully or to die trying? Do we use medical interventions because they are available? Must we? Should we? Her last words to us were to request all possible treatment. "I want to live." Does she still? And who am I to decide?
Have you talked to your parents about their wishes? Have you considered your own? Have you considered all the options? Or put it in practical terms? Have you decided when your quality of life determines its value?
Thanks to cancer, my brother and sister-in-law and my Sweetie and I have had to ask ourselves these questions. We know the day is likely to come when further treatment will not buy us another day to hug our children -- which is all I want in life, I suppose. I haven't answered all the questions yet. For today, I will go to the hospital today, hug my Mom and drink a cup of tea. And be grateful she is still here.