I inwardly shuddered when Mom bluntly spoke to the doctor, but tried to appear calm on the surface. Regardless of any success or failure in hiding my feelings, no one in the hospital room was paying attention to me. We were focused on the surgeon’s visit with Mom.
“They put pets out of their misery,” Mom said. “Why can’t you do that with me?”
If the doctor replied, I don’t remember his comments. In his forties, he resembled other doctors who’d visited Mom after her operations because of his white lab coat, but also different because he sat beside her as if to physically declare he’d stay as long as necessary. Other doctors—there were many—had stood, smiled unconvincingly, and soon fled her room.
In July of 2013, Mom was diagnosed with cancer. Because the cancer had grown so rapidly in her eighty-eight year old body, the doctors couldn’t pinpoint it origins. They called it stage 4, if only because that’s the highest number oncologists apply to cancers. But the cancer was no longer the worst of Mom’s concerns. Surgery had been attempted to provide relief from the relentless spread of tumors. Though I won’t share details, her first surgery failed. She had another surgery the next day. I suppose the second effort “succeeded,” except its aftermath left her with weeks, if not months, of recovery. She was stitched together by rows of metal staples, which appeared like the tips of landmines on the battlefield of her abdomen. Mom referred to the staples as, “My barbed wire.” They were still there when she died a few weeks later.
“Put me to sleep, Doctor.” Read More →by