Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stress has the power to destroy you or strengthen you. Which will it be? (Part 2 of 3)

Perhaps a couple hours after I called for the family to come to the hospital to see their dying loved one, the grandchildren arrived with their parents. Because the hospital staff pretty much thought that Mama would soon be dead, they allowed the kids, who were all beneath the age requirement, to visit with their granny in the ICU.

By this time, the breathing device that they had Mama on was really helping her breathe better. And the result of better breathing was more oxygen in her blood. Likewise, the result of more oxygen was greater coherence. Mama was awake! I was so afraid that she would not be able to know that the kids were by her bedside.

All three of the kids stood around her bed with concerned looks on their innocent faces. My mother peered at the kids over the massive oxygen mask that covered her nose and mouth. I hoped that seeing them would remind her why living was important. She held their hands as they spoke to her in their fearful, yet faith-filled voices.

Then shortly after the kids visited with Mama, her personal physician arrived to speak with her. He came as her doctor, as well as her friend. He advised her to give the dialysis a try and to go ahead and have the transfusion. Knowing her history, Dr. Simms defied the recommendation of death from the other doctors. He felt that despite Mama’s tiring soul, she could overcome this major health challenge. I stood at her bedside while he was talking to her, nodding my head, showing her that I fully supported Dr. Simms’ advice.

Finally, after seeing the kids and after talking with her loving doctor, my mother decided to sign the consent to have the transfusion and the dialysis. My heart was glad! However, my heart was also conflicted. I honestly wasn’t sure if I wanted Mama to live for me, or to die for herself.

I had so much to consider. If Mama was to die, I would have to plan a funeral. I wasn’t in the mood for that. But is anyone when that time comes?

If Mama was to die, I would have to figure out what I was going to do about a monthly income. I had given up my professional income twice in the last seven years to take care of Mama. If she was to die, I would then be left even more broke, simply because her annuity would die with her.

I thought about the house that at the time of purchase was such a blessing to us. If Mama was to die, I would have enough insurance money to pay the mortgage for 2 years. After that, I would either have to pay it myself or put the house up for sale.

As a woman with a significant disability, I shuttered at the thought that getting ajob to take care of myself would likely not come as fast as I would need it to. And I would be left with only one parent to make sure that my needs were met in the meantime. Then suddenly, fear gripped me even tighter.

I wondered if I was thinking about myself over Mama's right to choose to live or die. However, there was nothing in my body and mind that could allow me to passively stand by as my mother chose to give up. Yes, she was tired! Yes, she wanted to die! But we can't cash in our ticket, just because we're ready to go. That's not how it works. And you know who taught me that? My Mama!!!

Livinglife with a chronic illness and/or disability often comes with feelings of weariness and thoughts of a final resting place. So, I was no stranger to this feeling. But I happen to think that disability is not the end of the road. So, one of the reasons why I rejected the doctors' advice was because I, a woman with a disability, understand the struggles of living with illness and disability. And I believe that each of us have the power to overcome these feelings of weariness if we lean on God and loved ones. So, that's what I was doing. I was standing by as a loved one, who didn't want my mother to give up on living, just because she was disabled and sick.

So much to think about! So many things to consider!

I shook myself and reminded myself that Mama’s life or death was in the hands of the One we call God. I reminded myself that my life was also in His hands. There was no need to be afraid, anxious, or depressed. There was no need to feel like Mama was giving up. Because if it was indeed her time to leave us and go meet with God, the decision rested with the One who sculptures both life and death.

I went to bed with one prayer. May God’s will be done in Mama’s life. I didn’t pray for her healing. I didn’t pray for her suffering to end. I simply prayed that God’s will be made perfect in her life. And if that meant that she was going to live or die, I would have peace in knowing that God was in control.

**This is the second of three posts on this subject. Stay tuned for the third installment. I should have it written in a couple days.**

Angie Braden

4 comments:

Becky said...

Trust and letting go is difficult at times - waiting for installment 3. Your love is apparent in this post.

Anonymous said...
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Angie-Nuvision said...

Thanks Becky for your comments!
I'm about to write the last of the this series now. Sorry its taken me so long. Because Mama is still in the hospital, I'm not getting most of the stuff accomplished at the rate that I wish.
Blessings to you!
angie B.

supremeultimate said...

Angie, I know and feel all your pain, stress and sorrow you are dealing with. Losing my father last year has opened up a different world. Both were in the hospital last year at the same time and my father never really recovered. For years I have been mentally preparing for the inevitable future to rear its head. I was prepared and yet at the same time I am not. I pray for you in empathy, I feel you. Your strength will help you over come your stress. These are natural events we will all come to understand and live through.

Peace Angie