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Things are looking bad... - Unbeliever's Land
...The continuing chronicles...
Things are looking bad...
I'd always really hoped it wouldn't come to this.

I've faxed the hospital my medical and legal power of attorney documents for Harold. And it's seriously looking like Harold won't recover from the stroke in any significant way. Meaning... I'm going to be the one giving the order to pull the plug.

He's thought about nothing but death for many, many years. Ten years ago, the one time I visited his house, there was a notice taped to the front door titled "In Case Of Death Of Occupant" with a list of relatives to contact. And even then, the notice was weathered and faded...

He doesn't have any close family or friends. I'm his second cousin, and am about as close a relative as he has. There's a neighbor who checks in on him occasionally (she's the one who found him on the floor). There's another lady who's promised him she'd take care of cremating him and taking his ashes... somewhere. There's a few army buddies he used to drive around the country to visit every other year or so (and they are mostly dead or dying now too). That's about it.

I guess he gave me his powers of attorney because he trusted me to respect his wishes and let him go, when the time came. My mom went the other way with HER mom, having a feeding tube inserted into her stomach and taking every POSSIBLE measure to keep her alive, for ten years after there really wasn't anyone THERE any more. Harold always hated that.

He probably also wanted me making his decisions, because I'm an atheist like he is. He didn't want any religious considerations getting in the way.

Harold has always been a free spirit -- if he can't do exactly whatever the hell he wants, he doesn't see any point in continuing at all.

But none of this makes it any easier for me. Even knowing full well that he wouldn't want to live like this, actually telling the doctors to let him die is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done. (I've already had to tell the doctors to put him on "DNR" -- Do Not Resuscitate -- in case his heart fails. That's hard enough.)

I don't want to be responsible for this. I'd always hoped that when Harold died, it would be "clean"; no hard decisions to make. I'm no good at making SMALL decisions, how the hell did I end up with THIS one?

I also hate the appearance of impropriety -- I am the Executor of his Will, as well as the primary beneficiary. How does it look for *ME* to be the one saying "let him die"?!?

His brain has swollen badly; he's already paralyzed on the left side. He's got machines breathing for him. He can just barely wake up, and squeeze the doctor's hand when asked. We're going to wait at least a few more days, to see if there's any progress. But any significant recovery looks highly unlikely.

I *KNOW* he doesn't want to live hooked up to machines. I *KNOW* I'm just following his wishes. But gods, I hate this.

Tags: ,
Current Emotional State: sad sad

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fair_witness From: fair_witness Date: April 7th, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also hate the appearance of impropriety -- I am the Executor of his Will, as well as the primary beneficiary. How does it look for *ME* to be the one saying "let him die"?!?

Back yourself up with the medical opinion. Does the hospital have someone on staff who can help with these decisions? I'm not entirely sure what the proper title here would be--there are a variety of possibilities. Talk to Harold's physician and don't be afraid to voice your concerns.
fair_witness From: fair_witness Date: April 7th, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
PS - Do you have anything written from Harold that would help document his wishes? A living will would be ideal, of course, but letters from him on the topic may serve just as well.
amaebi From: amaebi Date: April 7th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it's very hard. I'll be holding my thumbs for you-- but really just for your peace of mind. Knowing you, I know that you'll be doing a conscientiou job to do for Harold what he would do for himself, if he could.
rickvs From: rickvs Date: April 8th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry you're stuck with this, dude. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts. Hope I never am put in a similar position :
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