28. The Feeding Tube


In the fall of 2004, Mother was hospitalized 2 or 3 times. I don’t remember why. At that time Mother’s conversations consisted of one word answers to our questions. If she did start a sentence, she was unable to hold the thought long enough in her head to finish it.

It was during this time that we noticed that she began to clear her throat frequently. It was like she continually had drainage or something in her throat. We mentioned it to her doctor during one of her hospitalizations, and he ordered a swallowing test. The test showed that she was losing her ability to swallow. Little bits of food were going into her lungs.

Oh, my. My sisters and I had an agonizing decision to make. We had to decide whether or not to have a feeding tube inserted in her stomach. If the feeding tube were not put in her stomach, she would most certainly die quickly, most likely of pneumonia caused by food going into her lungs. If the feeding tube were inserted then she would live longer, but be unable to eat or drink anything.

What a decision. My vote was against the feeding tube. I did not want and I didn’t think Mother wanted to be one of the little ladies in bed, just lying there for months and months waiting to die.

Susan was in favor of the tube. She could not bear the thought of letting Mother starve or die of pneumonia.

Darla was the swing vote. She was at the nursing home one day and watched Mother smile at children who had come to visit one of the residents. Upon seeing that smile, Darla could not deny her the feeding tube.

So the tube was surgically inserted and she soon became one of the ladies in their beds, waiting to die.

Tomorrow….my feelings about feeding tubes.

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