Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Lost --- My killer instinct
I guess I’m just not good at killing people. I confess that I have, in the past, tried to ignore the pleas from Riley to “help him.” But when it comes right down to it – I just can’t do it.
Riley has been in and out of hospice a lot over the past couple of years. But, I guess I’m also not a very good participant as the caregiver of someone in hospice. Or maybe, just maybe, hospice failed me.
Early in January Riley lost his sense of where he was or who he was or when it was. He drifted into his imaginary world of submarines and destroyers where there is a constant battle with an imaginary enemy. This time the enemy was anyone he knew. His imaginary crew members were the only ones he trusted.
All of this type of behavior usually points to a urinary tract infection. A round of Cipro was ordered but it had no effect at all. I kept asking for help from hospice, but they would only say that they didn’t know what was going on. They did say that whatever was happening had nothing to do with him being at end of life. In fact, hospice just kept saying, we don’t know… we don’t know, but he is not dying. Well, they are medical professions – aren’t they? Surely, they must have seen this before – haven’t they?
I was confused. I watched as Riley slipped deeper into his fantasy world. The color of his urine was not right and his output was very low. If this was how it was to progress to the end, so be it. But, if what was happening had nothing to do with the end being in sight – wasn’t I obligated to get him some help?
After another day or two, I cancelled hospice, called the paramedics and took him to the emergency room. They admitted him and after many tests I was told that he had the worst infection in the history of the hospital and if I had not brought him in when I did he would have been dead within two days. Oh my gosh!! What had I done!?! I saved a life when he did not want to be saved. Or so he says…
Since he now was out of hospice, I would have no one to help with bathing him or caring for him. I was on my own again. After a discussion with the hospital social worker, I decided for him to go into a nursing/rehab facility. While there he would have physical therapists to help him regain the strength to get himself into the wheel chair. That would be a big help for me.
Riley will be in the nursing home until the end of March. Then he will come home if I can’t find a way to pay for him to stay long term, which is highly unlikely.
In the meantime, when I visit Riley, he is mean and accusatory because I did not let him die. And if I won’t let him die, I should supply him with alcohol. It’s been nearly five years since Riley has drank and STILL he keeps asking for his beloved drink. When he starts his raves about how I must take care of him because I did not let him die, I tell him I’m going and leave.
I try to think of how it would be easier for me to let him die if things had gone down a different path. I believed hospice would stay at my house while Riley was dying so the burden would not be totally on me. I thought they would provide me support so I could see it through. But, I was alone.
How ironic that I feel that if I had been a better person, I would have been able to do nothing and wait for whatever the outcome would be. So, I’d be a better person if I had let him die.
I wonder how assassins manage to put morals aside to do their job. Not sure how to resolve this issue and still be able to live with myself.
at 8:53 AM