Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Euthanasia by any other name

Great Grandma is very old, and she has dementia. Her dementia is so far advanced that she suffers from frequent falls and can no longer care for herself. She needs reminders to eat, and someone has to help her at mealtimes. Her concerned family places her in a nursing home where she can receive around the clock care. Grandma is old, in fact, she is so old that her children are already senior citizens themselves. Longevity runs in their family.

Last week Grandma fell in the nursing home and broke her hip. Surgery was required to repair the damage. It was the first time the surgeon had performed surgery on a centenarian. The surgery went well, but due to Grandma's advanced age, recovery was difficult, and her condition worsened. She stopped eating and drinking, and the family decided that they would allow her to deprive herself of hydration and nutrition. Intravenous fluids were stopped and no enteral nutrition was provided. Grandma was dying. No one could force her to eat, and she had no desire to feed herself. Her family decided to let nature take its course.

I only met her today, and in the five minutes that it took to transport Grandma from the hospital back to her nursing home where she would surely die in the next few days, I leaned over her and whispered the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in her ear. I don't know if she heard me, but I know God was listening.


Shirley said...

That brought tears to my eyes.God knew what he was doing when He made you a paramedic.

Venite, Missa est! said...

Bless your heart and hers. I will pray for you both AND for those who made this decision. End of life issues are so very hard but keep in mind God's great grace and glory and stand in awe of the great process of the life cycle. I know it hurts.

Samantha said...

Wow, that was a hard hitting story. Thanks for sharing.

Cygnus said...

What Michael Schiavo hath wrought. X-P

Thanks for being an Angel of Mercy, PG.

ignorant redneck said...

It's so sad, the choices we make, when we really shouldn't be making a choice at all.

John Michael said...

That's my grandmother's story.

I remember leaning over and asking her if she could see St. John holding Mama Mary at the foot of the cross. She stopped breathing and there was a profound gift of silence.

I don't recall how long it was between breaths, but, her eyes sparkled with a holiness I hadn't seen before.

You, your grandma and your family are in my prayers.

John Michael

paramedicgirl said...

John Michael, this story is not about my grandma. I didn't know the woman; I just met her when I transferred her from the hospital to the nursing home. The whole point of the story is how euthanasia is creeping into our society in seemingly innocuous (think emphasis on human compassion) ways.

smiley007 said...

what bothers me is that with the way anti-catholic and anti-life laws are passing in Canada, soon euthanasia will be legal here.
The modus operandi will be the same, first there will be many articles in the newspaper about people suffering terrible painful deaths and oh we are being terribly mean spirited by not allowing them to kill themselves. public opinion will be manipulated in the name of humanity and compassion and soon euthanasia laws will be passed.
That will open up pandoras box casue then the old and aged will be wiped out, anyone who does not contribute to society financially (the old do contribute to society they are the sources of wisdom but today wisdom does not count for much in the secular world) will be wiped off.
I am scared of growing old here very very scared. I worry for my inlaws and my wife.