During the last couple of weeks of my father’s life, his dementia not only got worse, but so did his heart condition. He began retaining fluid so badly that at the point I took him to the hospital, he had 12 pounds of fluid on him. He also began to have irregular breathing. Even then, the physicians were reluctant to admit him and told me that he could possibly live another year (with 12 pounds of fluid on him???) Physicians need to revise their decisions about what they tell family members.
I struggled with the decision to keep him home and let him die semi-peacefully in his home or to insist that he be admitted in order to get the extra fluid off him. My father had always said he was going to live to be 100, so in the end, I opted to have him admitted in hopes that his condition would improve once he was less encumbered by fluid.
I thought my struggle was difficult but I just read an article about a daughter’s struggle with her mother wanting to commit suicide due to 20 years living with Parkinson’s Disease. It’s a very compelling story and it goes like this:

“In summer 2001, Zoe Fitzgerald Carter’s mother, Margaret, said the unthinkable: She wanted to plan out her own death. At first, Fitzgerald Carter and her two sisters chalked it up to mild depression. One sister related it to the fact that their mom had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two decades earlier. But when Margaret began proposing death dates and outlining methods she could use to end her life, the news sent Fitzgerald Carter — herself a parent of two children — into months of deliberation: Should she keep her mother alive despite the fact that her mother wants to die?

Read the rest of the article here:


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