Do you know what a death watch is? Do you know what it feels like? Do you know how long it lasts?

I had read about death watches but have experienced a couple up close. A little over 10 years ago, I had an up close experience with watching my father die slowly, but not as slowly as my next experience. For the last 13 months, my wife and I have been on one, and it is not an experience that is to be recommended to anyone.

My mother, a hitherto lively and rambunctious and sometimes difficult lady to manage had a fall (maybe as a result of a blackout, or a stroke, we will never know for sure), and hurt her head, with internal bleeding on Valentine’s Day 2018. I was recovering from a total knee replacement surgery in both knees and was still not walking anywhere near normally. But then began the nightmare that to a greater or a lesser extent continues till today. Greater extent??? Haha, that is a joke. Apparently a person who has had a stroke (and my mother may have had more than one) can easily develop a kind of epileptic seizure, that resembles the effects of a stroke. At 2am on the morning of March 26th, 2019 she had that seizure. She just was unable to speak or eat or drink anything after that.

As I write this, all I see is a human skeleton, who has glazed eyes, a still expression and no other reaction. Her right hand and right leg move, but her left side is useless. Every day brings a new crisis. Often it is with her absorption of Oxygen. We have 2 Oxygen cylinders at home, an Oxygen concentrater of high capacity, an IV tube with fluids running into her veins. We occasionally try and give her fluids orally but there is always the danger of her choking.

Oh, how often I have wished that God simply takes her away. But he is not doing this. For God’s sake she is 4 months past her 95th birthday! She has a zero quality of life. I was advised to pull her IV fluids line, keep her oxygen going (a comfort measure), and let her simply fade away. Why can I not do this? I do not know. I have lost count of the number of times I have broken down and cried like a baby. I wish God would guide me and show me the best way forward. NO, I WILL NOT TAKE HER TO A HOSPITAL, YOU HEAR ME?

if we take her to a hospital, I will be washing my hands off from what is essentially my problem. She will be stuck with tubes everywhere, intubated, put on life support, injected, blood drawn for an army of tests, and will die in discomfort and misery. Instead, I have chosen misery for my dear wife and I. My wife has been a pillar of support as has been my doctor brother living in the US. I would have been lost without them.

The death watch continues………..

4 thoughts on “DEATH WATCH

  1. Rakesh Uncle…. I have no words to express what I feel. And while I’ve seen my father go through a similar situation in last 8 months…it’s still difficult to imagine what you must be going through. It’s difficult for a child (no matter how old) to see his/her parent go through this… I wish Babi a peaceful and painless journey . Hugs to you, Aunty & Mira… Love you all.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks so much Pooja. Yes, I am operating like a Zombie. Roma and I take no pleasure in absolutely anything, although we try and sneak out for even 30 minutes to get a sandwich occasionally. Mentally, it is really really crushing, but you know that.


  3. Although I’m already aware of everything in this post, it still brought tears to my eyes. It has been heart breaking enough for me as I come and go – it is hard to fathom what you guys are going through. There seems to be no reason to draw out her suffering like this. I started mourning her when the feisty woman we knew and loved started to vanish, and most of all, the first day she could not remember my name. I find myself wondering why she cannot find peace. Much love to you, you know I’m there if you need something.

    Liked by 1 person

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