This post is a response to a comment I received a few days ago. The comment was made on my post titled “Time to Say Good By to Mother” https://deborahfoster.wordpress.com/time-to-say-goodby-to-mother/
The comment came in the form of a post on another blog or website.
This comment was very respectful of us as a family and very understanding of our sorrow and grief. I appreciate that. I also understand the writer’s position on the debate of whether or not to remove a feeding tube from a terminal patient, and do not disagree with the statements made in the comment. I must, however, make one statement in my defense at this point. Rightly or wrongly, I did not know, yes, even in this post Terri Shiavo era, the physical effects dehydration would have on my mother’s body. At the time of Mother’s death, April 15, 2005, Terri Shiavo’s case was still very much in the media, but somehow, I just don’t remember those details being stated. At any rate, the truth is I did not know and was not told about what she would experience as her body with through the process of dying resulting from the denial of hydration and nutrition.
As a result of this comment, however, I have mentally revisited the days of agony in which we first made the decision to insert a feeding tube in Mother and then the day in which the decision was made to remove it.
I also realized that almost everyday there is someone who reads my posts about Mother’s feeding tube as a result of a internet search for information about this subject. Additionally, realistically speaking, almost every family will one day face the feeding tube dilemma, as they make life and death decisions for a precious loved one.
It is so hard. I don’t have enough wisdom to give every family advice. However, I plan to do some writing about what we learned from this experience and also another time in my life when my father-in-law, dying from Alzheimer’s Disease, existed for a year and a half because of a feeding tube.
There is no doubt that this discussion of feeding tubes will be very emotional for all of us who have had to face ‘the decision’. Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences. I know there are families who are wrangling with this delimma even as I write this post. It is my prayer that my words, our discussion, perhaps even debate, will be helpful to you and your family.