Tag Archives: Family

Death in the family

I returned to Italy last week after spending 2 weeks in my hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota due to my mother passing away.
It was bright and early, like 6ish, on a Saturday morning.  My husband had gotten up early and discovered a South Dakota phone number on the caller id and immediately woke me up by telling me something is probably wrong with my mom.  Looked at the phone, Sioux Falls phone number.  I called, sure enough was the nursing home my mom had been living at for the last few years.  She had been admitted into the intensive care unit.  When I called the hospital fortunately the kidney doctor just happened to be there.  The doctor said that my mother’s kidneys were only functioning at 20% and probably be put on dialysis.  I gave my consent since my mother was suffering from confusion due to all of the impurities running through her system.  The doctor was not too confident of my mom’s outlook.  Sunday, the next day, talked to the cardiologist.  My mom’s aorta valve was hardening and becoming narrow, therefore limiting the amount of blood that her heart was able to pump out.  Considering everything, also the fact my mom was diabetic, there was nothing the doctors could do.  No surgery, medications, procedures.  My mom was given a matter of days, two weeks tops.  They kept her on dialysis until I was able to make it Stateside that Wednesday night.
When I arrived I immediately went to the hospital to see her.  She was awake, alert and immediately recognized me.  She knew I was there and was glad to see her only child made it over before passing away.  Thursday she pretty much slept the entire day.  I had a meeting with some doctors that morning and told me that it was up to me if I wanted to keep her on dialysis, oxygen and medications to stabilize her heart rate which were just stabilizing her and giving her “time” or to remove everything and let nature take its course.  I chose the latter.  She knew I was there by her bedside, she was suffering, why prolong it?
So on Friday machines and medications were gradually removed and my mom was free of anything “artificial”.  She was awake and talking a majority of the day.  How much she understood of what was going on, one will never know.  She knew I was there, recognized two of my friends that came to visit and also the bishop of the church she attended.
When I left the hospital Friday evening, after spending almost 12 hours there, she was eating a cheeseburger, her last meal on this earth.  She asked to have the television turned on.  She fell asleep watching TV, never to wake up.
Saturday morning I arrived at about 8:30am to find her deeply asleep with the television still on.  My mom’s GP’s intern was so sweet and came in to visit at about 10:30 and stayed for about half an hour, on her day off.  That really touched me, the intern coming in on her day off to see how things were going.  How my mom and I were doing.  A few minutes after she left I went outside to smoke then send an email to my husband to keep him updated on the situation.  I was gone for maybe fifteen minutes.  When I returned I found my mother had passed away.
She was diagnosed around 1992 with diabetes, had a gastric bypass in October 2001 to lose weight.  Unfortunately her health went downhill after her diagnosis with diabetes.  After a long struggle, she is now at peace and in no pain.