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My heart goes out to both sides of the Terry Schiavo case. The decisions that a person makes can give ensure nightmares for a long time to come.

I've talked about my mom's health recently. My mom was sick. Very sick. Terminal brain cancer. Nursing home, assisted living, hospice - I've been through it all lately. AND ME, I, NO ONE ELSE, made decisions for her based upon what I KNEW she would have wanted.

Yes, there were advanced directives but sketchy ones.

One Friday mom (who was bedbound,dementia, couldn't talk anymore, could not initiate conversation) had a stroke. I helped her as much as I could, propping her up on one side and talking/being with her/stroking her hands/reassuring her that it was going to be okay.

By Sunday she could no longer feed herself. I started feeding her myself and realized that she had lost her swallowing reflex (food wasn't going down no matter what). I called Hospice for evaluation. Hospice determined that her care exceeded the capabilities of the assisted living facility.

ON MY authorization, they moved her to the hospice center. The next morning mom could still not swallow. She could not swallow her life saving decadron (to reduce the brain swelling from the cancer). I, that's ME, decided to interpret mom's directives and NOT transport her to the ER for intravenous drugs and water and food.

I DECIDED FOR HER. She was terminal; she was not getting any better; her quality of life was gruesome (the stories would curl your toes); and if I sent her to the ER and got her the IV drugs, then what? I had condemned her to end her life in a bed comatose dependent on the IV with us hoping that there would be a flicker of life passing across her body.

I DECIDED to follow Hospice recommendations and let her pass away. It was the hardest thing to do (and I'm sure someday the nightmares will end). It was HARDER to decide to let "nature take it's course" than send her to the ER to postpone the inevitable. My life was consumed and surrounded by caring for my mom, and I chose to change that.

"...Two roads diverged in a yellow road
and sorry I could not travel both
and be one travelor long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth..."

I miss her but I let her go, because it wasn't about ME it was for HER. I hope Terry Shaivo's family can understand that.

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