Poor sweetheart. After all he’s been through recently, now the next thing hit him. I’ve told you about this old aunt of his, who keeps falling and was in and out of the hospital during the last few weeks. She is 90 years old and has gotten very frail recently, yet refused to move to a home for the elderly.
She suffered a severe cerebral haemorrhage two nights ago. The care helpers coming by twice a day, found her lying on the settee in her flat and had her taken to the hospital immediately. So yesterday morning the hospital rang my sweetheart to get instructions as to the extent of intensive medicine wanted. To explain: my sweetheart holds the health care proxy for his aunt (who isn’t really his aunt, but just a very long-time friend of his parents, who has watched him grow up and loves him a lot, without having any other relatives left on this planet), so the doctors wanted to talk to him about the measures, he wanted taken. They could put her on machinery to breath, and tubes to feed her, which would maybe keep her alive for a while. But apparently the brain damage is so severe, that most of her mental and many bodily functions are gone forever in any case. And once the machinery is on, medical staff (or my sweetheart, I am not sure) have to make a decision, as to when the plugs are to be pulled, eventually, which is going to create even more complicated ethical and legal questions on top of everything else. So they wanted advise and consent with the responsible person, as to whether or not, such measures should be taken in the first place.
My sweetheart read the proxy again and again last morning, all of a sudden feeling the full weight of his responsibility. But it just states, that he is the one to decide all matters of health and healthcare, apart from every other aspect of life, too. Without giving specific advice as to what his aunt would have wanted in such a situation. Then he went to the hospital to talk at lenght to the doctors, to get the situation fully explained and look at the x-rays and MRT pictures and so on, in order to form a learned opinion, as much as possible. In the end, he came to the same conclusion, that I had come to at once: let nature take its course.
I said that instinctively, remembering last Christmas and how she talked about her wish to finally go join her long dead husband. How hard she found all the limitations, her age forced upon her. How tired she is of everything. How much she hates the aches and pains bothering her more and more. And how lonesome life has become, with just a few people she cares about still alive and around. Above all, she missed her husband, and not just recently, but more and more over the years. All those memories just made me blurt out: “Nothing, I’d do absolutely nothing and just let her go in her own time.” Apart from providing every possible care, of course. And I am very certain, this is exactly, what she wants, too.