My sister and I are probably going to arrange my aunt’s death tomorrow.
My 70-something aunt has had several heart attacks, including a major one two weeks ago. Her kidneys have failed entirely. She cannot breathe on her own without a respirator. When pressed, her docor said, barring a miracle, she will not regain enough strength to survive unattached to her life support gear.
Her best friend called my sister today. She says my aunt is awake, alert, miserable and desperate. She thinks my aunt wants the machines turned off. But she won’t ask her directly, because she feels it should be a family decision.
My aunt’s husband Joe is 83, and not too together any more. The doctor also will not ask my aunt directly whether she wants to be removed from life support, saying that it’s a matter for the family to decide, but spoke to Joe, “indirectly” suggesting it was time to cease the life support. My uncle say he just couldn’t make a decision like that, the doctor should talk to my sister Kathy. So now Kathy has to ask the hard questions of my aunt, assuming my aunt is still responsive when we get there tomorrow.
My sister wants me to go along, so of course I will. “You can be objective and logical”, she says. How she decided this I have no idea.
If my aunt is able to communicate, we will press the medical staff to obey her wishes. If she is not?..
I really hope I will not have to contribute anything besides a stable presence tomorrow. Because for the life of me I can’t imagine any other objective, logical choice but to turn off the machines. I also do NOT want to make a call like this.
I’m not sure what opinions to seek out here, but I can’t see this as mundane or pointless either. I’ve had a lot of BIG ups and downs in the past year, and I think that’s a major reason why I started posting on the SDMB – I feel the need of external reality checks.
Any ideas you can post by 6 AM Central time tomorrow morning (the last time I’ll be able to check before driving up to Marshfield) on how to handle the next couple of days will be appreciated.