Just a few things I've been thinking about. . .

With the recent changes in Betty's health, the debate between quantity and quality of life has been uppermost in my mind. The latest news about Betty is that she has pneumonia in her left lung, a pneumonia that is exacerbated by the fact that the fluid itself now has an infection in it. On Saturday, her breathing sounded terrible; yesterday, it didn't sound quite as bad. She has been moved to a different hospital where this afternoon she will have surgery to remove the fluid and pus from the lung and chest wall. The surgeon will try to get it all out using a laparoscope, which requires only a small incision in the chest; however, if scar tissue has developed already, he will have to make a much larger incision and, as he told me last night, "clean the lung by hand." I asked about the risks associated with both surgeries before giving permission to go ahead and once I felt comfortable with the answers to my questions, I authorized the procedure. Still, I spent much of last night doing battle with myself over it.
  • Betty is 87 years old, has hypertension, an enlarged heart, diabetes, mostly atrophied legs, and almost no mental acuity. Considering the pain that this surgery will cause her, pain that she no longer has the ability to express except through a wrinkled brow and caveman-like grunts, is this the best thing for her? Diabetics, especially insulin dependent diabetics like Betty, have difficulty healing and since she cannot get up and walk, which is part of the healing process, her road to recovery will be very, very long. I can't help but wonder that by giving consent for the surgery, if I'm not setting her down a path of unnecessary misery and suffering. Aargh...this is a tough one!

Why can't one problem be solved before another one starts? My kitchen has been turned upside down since Saturday night thanks to a leak that was finally matched to the garbage disposal. The AED decided that since he already had to be working under the sink (which was actually removed because we couldn't get the old disposal out), it would be the perfect time to hook up the new fridge to the water lines so that we could finally use the water and ice dispenser in its door. Because we had to pull out the dishwasher to run the line behind it, we took the time to clean the area of dust and cobwebs that we wouldn't otherwise be able to get to. With the fridge hooked up and the dishwasher back in place, we put the sink back in, and the AED set about installing a new garbage disposal. Somewhere in the melee between moving the sink from the back porch to the kitchen, pulling out the dishwasher, and moving the fridge to and fro, a seal for the garbage disposal was lost. No problem. The AED has gazillions of parts and gadgets in the house and garage, so he sent me off to bed near midnight and said he could finish the job on his own. This morning I awoke to a newly installed garbage disposal, ice in the icemaker, and cold water filling my glass when I pressed on the appropriate lever on the fridge door. Life is wonderful! Or at least it was until I loaded up and started the dishwasher. Once it got to the first rinse cycle, water came gushing out of the garbage disposal and flooded the kitchen floor before I got there to turn off the dishwasher. The AED is now at Home Depot looking for the correct seal.

While I wait for him to return, I am happily filling a glass with ice cubes and the lemonade that I've been making from the lemons that keep magically appearing around my house!

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8 Responses
  1. Nessa Says:

    You decision for your neighbor is a very difficult one. i'll keep you both in my prayers.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I just bust out laughing with when you started the dishwasher up. I don't mean to sound mean or anything but I can just so picture that happening for some reason, especially when you said that the seal was lost but AED has plenty more. Too funny. *is ducking from the slap to the head for that comment LOL

    I have a different look on Betty. And it just happened this past year with my Grandmother getting so ill and hard to take care of for my Mom and Aunt. This might sound cruel but I wouldn't authorize the surgery. There has to come a point in time when you just have to let nature take it's course. We tend to keep people around by meds and surgeries, when in the long run, they don't help or just make them worse. I think in cases like this and my GM we think with our emotions. It's hard not to. I just think that letting things happen and nature take it's course, has to be the answer at some point in time. It's hard for me to explain this as this is a difficult subject to talk about. Just be happy and confident with the decision you made and don't ever second guess yourself. It will eat you up if you do that.

  3. Carleen Says:

    @Nessa: Thank you -- all prayers are welcome and definitely needed!

    @Thom: If you think the sight of the water gushing Old Faithful style out of the garbage disposal, you would have had an even better time laughing at the AED and me trying to grab every towel we could find to mop up the water before we had a wading pool in the kitchen!

    The care of the elderly is a tough subject, I agree. Logically, I know that the surgery is just prolonging the inevitable; ethically, after rereading the advance directive, I know that the surgery is not something that she would not have authorized herself had her mind been functioning properly; emotionally, I know that the surgery will cause her unnecessary pain and that I ultimately bear the responsibility for that.

    I think I can cope with the decision better after having reread the advance directive and knowing that this surgery isn't a "drastic measure" being done to prolong her life; it is a procedure to facilitate healing from an otherwise very treatable illness.

    This is such a tough job!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Tough decisions when caring for the elderly. Hubby and his brothers recently had to make similar decisions regarding their mom (she's in her 80's and has ALZ and lots of other health issues). It's not easy to decide what is best. You have to do what you think is right. Every situation is different.

    I had to laugh at the dishwasher episode. We've had some similar types of things happen over the years. It's sure not funny at the time but it sure is funny in the telling after it's over :-)

    You can probably get a new kitchen floor out of the whole deal with homeowner's insurance.

  5. RA Says:

    Sometimes we are facing very though decisions in life. My prayers are with all of you. I believe that you are trying as good as you can, Carleen. Hope whatever outcome will be for the best.

  6. Carleen Says:

    @ Sherlock: Thankfully, we caught the water in time before it did any damage except to the cases of soda that were sitting under the service window, left over from Saturday's festivities. I am not a fan of the side-by-side refrigerators because they have no room to store anything, hence the cases of soda on the floor; however, Ali was insistent that we need one for the ice and water dispenser, LOL.

    @Rosidah: Jazak, sister. I'm really trying to do the best for her and Allahu'alim after that. How are you feeling these days?

  7. Mozi Esme Says:

    Don't know what to say, except "Do enjoy that lemonade..."

  8. I will say a Prayer for you and your friend Betty, Carleen. I don't know if I'd be as positive about the dishwasher overfloweing.

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