Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just How He Wanted

He'd been sick for a long time, my father-in-law.  He had a heart attack eight years ago, which he survived. Five years later he failed a stress test and his cardiologist recommended having stents put in.

Mark opted to refuse all treatment. He didn't want another procedure, ever. Within a few months he'd stopped taking all medication, and eventually stopped seeing the doctor at all.

He got a lot of flack over his decision. I had the opportunity to speak to him privately about it one evening over dinner, after he picked up FireGirl from preschool. I listened to what he had to say. When he finished, I told him he would get no judgement from me, and I would never pressure him to receive medical treatment that he didn't want. I believe such a decision is an intensely personal one, and it's not my place to push that on someone else.

I did however ask beg him to sign a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), so when another heart episode occurs, if any of us are present, we aren't put in the agonizing position of choosing to follow the wishes he gave us verbally, or administering / calling for the assistance he didn't want. Especially FireMan.

He never did sign it.

But when he finally passed away last week, he did so just as he wanted.

He went quickly. Alone. While "alone" may sound sad to some, I know to him it meant he wouldn't be burdening his family with the scene of his death.

When it comes to dying, I think all we can really hope for, is to go just as we would wish.


Steph{anie} said...

Thank you thank you thank you for talking to him about a DNR. Working in the area I do, I deal with resuscitation a LOT! There is nothing more frustrating than a family member saying "Do everything you can to save him/her" when another family member says "They never would have wanted that."

When you get your wishes down on paper, there's no question as to your desires. I wish more people would understand that. That way if anything happens, your wishes are respected!

I'm so sorry for the loss of your FIL. I'm continuing to pray for your family as you deal with his loss.

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Although such a loss is always difficult, it sounds like there is solace in knowing that your FIL had his desires known, respected and fulfilled. I admire the way that you offered no judgement or cajoling. Unwanted medical treatment can cause a lot of heartache.
Hopefully your families' hearts are well emotionally soon, after this loss of your FIL.

Missy | Literal Mom said...

Oh, honey. I am in tears. Over the beauty of how you described this. I hope that my own brothers and sisters can be as diplomatic and respectful as you are with your FIL's decision when it comes time for my own parents. Because you are SO right - to go out on your own terms may be the best way to respect someone when their time comes.

areyoukiddingme said...

I'm sorry for your loss. It is good that your FIL got to go the way he wanted to.

hg said...

My thoughts are with you and your family.

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