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Turned a corner?

2004-11-08 - 10:56 a.m.

My mother in-law has stabilized somewhat. She can now open her eyes for a few minutes at a time and even put a few words together. Medication is being a bit effective at controlling her blood pressure, though left unchecked it goes up over 200 so they have to keep dosing her. She seems aware of what’s going on around her.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that she's still not definitely going to survive and that they don’t think she knows about her paralysis yet. And one of the few things she has gotten across clearly is that she wants to go home. It’s horrible to contemplate how she’s going to take the news of her condition and the fact that there’s a strong possibility (according to the doctors) she won’t go home but that, when she’s strong enough to leave the hospital, she’ll have to go to a long-term care facility.

My mother in-law is one of the most proper women I know. She is easily scandalized by things as innocent as mopping your plate with bread. The prospect of even the most optimistic outlook coming to pass – that she’ll beat the odds and recover to the extent of being able to function on her own one day – is tempered by the fact that first she’d have to go through a long, long period of rehabilitation during which she’ll have to have every bodily function attended to by strangers.

I know J and his sister are doing their best to focus on the positive, and I’m doing my best to do the same and to buoy their spirits. But it’s hard. I know that if I were in her position, I would go through anything if it meant getting back to normal or near-normal, even if it meant a long and difficult road. I also know, however, that if I knew I’d never be able to take care of my personal needs again, and if I wouldn’t be able to communicate much or live with my family, well, I’d want to be let go. And I know my father in-law is facing the same thoughts for his wife, especially since she’s made clear decisions in her living will. The problem is, there is no crystal ball to see the outcome, nor is there a point of crisis right now, so there is no clear decision to be made. All he can do, all any of us can do, is wait and watch and hope for a miracle.

Got any to spare?

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