Sunday, March 6, 2011


There are days I just don’t want to decide what’s for dinner.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t because I can’t make a decision. I’m actually very good at making decisions and do so all the time regarding Robert, regarding my home and family and at my Day Job.

I do my research, weigh the options and have been known to write a “pro/con list” a time or two. I can make a quick, reasoned decision if the situation calls for it or I can take my time gathering information and thinking it over.

Unfortunately, I have a terrible habit of second guessing myself and by “terrible” I mean oftentimes it eats me up. There cannot be enough Tagamet in my house.

There are important decisions involving Robert that I want to be sure I get right: what Home should I pick for him? Should Robert live with me and my family? Maybe he should. This would involve substantial remodeling to my home or selling our home and buying one with a downstairs bedroom (which, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s kind of a bad market right now). Do we want to go through the remodeling? Is it selfish of me not to have Robert live with me?

There was an important decision regarding my Dad last year when he was dying. He ignored his doctor (and me) for months. He was flat out told “you need to go on dialysis or you will die in six months.” Six months after hearing this from his doctor, he still refused dialysis. He refused to listen to me or my Other Brother. He landed in the emergency room, incoherent and with his electrolytes off the charts. Everyone at the hospital (and I do mean everyone) said in one way or another that he should not be alive. That they had never seen someone actually still alive with such high electrolyte values. I get it, people. He’s in bad shape.

“Do you want to put him on dialysis?” Oh, crap. Really? I have to decide this after months of Dad refusing it? He was so sick that the doctor told me it may not help; that even being on it, he may only live another week.

Dad was not in any shape to answer the question himself (although I asked him). He occasionally turned his head toward my daughter and gave her one of his “what did I get myself into this time” grins. I asked him, “Dad, do you want dialysis?” I didn’t even get a mischievous grin, I got a blank stare.

He had refused dialysis for months. Should I respect his wishes or ignore them? It seems like it would be an easy decision: respect his wishes.

The kicker is that Dad had told me a few months earlier that if he was in a coma and the doctors said he would die that day, to go ahead and do dialysis.

The doctor is standing here telling me it may not do any good. That Dad should be dead right now.

I decided (with my Other Brother) not to put him through dialysis. I decided this even with Dad’s “worst case scenario” instructions.

Two hours later, I watched as the heart monitor jumped around and then settled into a flat line.

Did I make the right decision? I still don’t know. I still question whether or not that was the right decision.

So, yeah, I can make the tough decisions. But sometimes, I just don’t care what we have for dinner.

1 comment:

Other Brother said...

I have no regrets. If we put Dad on dialysis at the end, he would have been miserable for a few more weeks and then gone. There was no reason to prolong his agony, and I'm sure he is pleased with our decision. He lived his life. It is our time to live our lives.