My mom wants to be left to die

arugulaSeptember 27, 2010

I have written out this story in more detail on my website entry below, but in summary, Mom feels ready to die and wants me to help her convince the doctors to let her stop all her meds.

I feel this is a whole lot of responsibility, even though I'm the legal health POA, which has been activated. Mom was always clear about how she wanted to die quickly with no medical intervention if she got a chronic disease that left her with bad quality of life, which is where we are now. She has a DNR order, etc, but it just doesn't cover grey areas like this.

hard, hard, hard.

anyone been through this?

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To begin with, better check the wording of that POA. If your mother is legally competent, her instructions override your power anyway. You have "power" only if she says so or if she is legally incompetent. It is a rare POA that grants irrevocable perpetual power at the moment of signing. More typically, they are worded so that they can go in and out of activation depending upon circumstances.

If she's competent, she's in charge....not the doctor and not you. She may choose to take your advice or not.

My mom's 98. 15 years ago she was near death. (Learned later, the pills she was taking were what was killing her.) Doctor abandoned her, basically. Obtained services of new Dr. for source of pain meds and to manage her death. Like your mom, she knew death was coming (wrong, but sure looked like it at the time) and just said "Well, I guess I don't have to take this stuff anymore."

New Dr. said "OK...but let's not be stupid about it. If your ankles get puffy and your lungs gurgle, take your lasix. It won't prolong anything. It will just keep you comfortable." Her recovery began within days. New Dr. adjusted meds and we're going strong 15 years later.

Obviously, I don't know your mom's situation. However, from this experience of my own, I can easily imagine that her expressed desire may be completely rational and in her own best interest. If she's capable of rational discussion, I would tend to respect her views about it. Could be that eliminating a few things would be better. Or, even if she's just tired of taking all the pills, that may be worthy of respect, too.

If I was taking a bunch of stuff and was just tired of it, i'd quit taking it whether my Dr. or daughter thought otherwise. My body, my right. Your mom may have ideas like that. If so, and if she's competent, I think that attitude deserves respect. And I would think so even if I disagreed with it.

I had an uncle who was devout Christian Scientist. Had CHF. (Runs in the family. All his brothers and sisters had it.) He refused to take lasix or anything else and died drowning in his own fluids in a Christian Science sanitarium. He was competent. I disagreed with his choice, but it was HIS choice. IMHO, he could have lived many years all his siblings did. I think he was stupid. But I still defend his personal choice.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 10:11AM
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I have asked my mother's doctor to stop all meds, and he complied. This decision wasn't easy, but I knew what my mother wanted, and her wishes were clearly spelled out in her Directive for Final Health Care. I felt it would not have been right to ignore her wishes. After several months, my mother is still alive. My thoughts are with you.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 10:25AM
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