Saturday, March 17, 2012

when you watch someone lying there just waiting and hoping to die

It's been a long time since i had the urge to write about anything personal. i used to do it a lot when i was younger, and it has the same kind of feeling as stripping naked in front of strangers, as most writers who do it will agree. when you are young, it is 50-50 exciting and terrifying but you are young, you are brave. Age makes me more reclusive and cautious. but today, as i watched my sickly 90-year-old grandma lying on the hospital bed, the doctor has decided to take her off all medication and - to put it bluntly -let her die naturally. Surgery is out of the question for her weak body and the doctor says there is no other way.

Grandma has a stroke 5 years ago, which render her paralysed and unable to speak any more. Not every stroke patient is as lucky as that guy in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, who has someone who would translate his blinkings into a novel. For most stroke patient, your life pretty much ends with a paralysing stroke. We, the grandchildren, are all guilty of not visiting her enough though fortunately, my aunties, whom grandma was living with, visited her daily at the hospice, and a maid accompanies her daily at the hospice so that grandma has personalised care apart from the nurses at the hospice. Days passed, weeks passed, years - passed. It's been 5 years since grandma is trapped in this state where she is still conscious of what is going around her, but completely imprisoned in her post-stroke body. Just a couple of months back, i don't know why some smart-ass decided to remove grandma's glasses and i protested and suggested that seeing is the last faculty left for her, and we should put back her glasses. I was told that she is too sick to see anything any more. i do not think that makes sense, but i don't know where they keep her glasses.

finally the day comes, when i think grandma's pain and imprisonment is going to end. all the relatives stood solemnly around her hospital bed in silence as grandma sleeps like a baby. Her arms are swollen and red with marks from injection and drip. An infection has caused her face to swell, but her past rotund body is nothing but skin and bones. She curls up in her bed with a few tubes stuck in different parts of her body. She doesn't know that we are there. My mum whispered to me, wake her, tell her you are here. I scolded my mum - do u know how much pain she has to feel whenever she is awake, with no medication at all? the only relief right now is sleeping. An eternal sleep is the only way out of her pain.

as we were all leaving the hospital, mum insisted that she wanted to stay to pray for grandma. As everyone tried to persuade mum to leave and mum stubbornly wanted to stay, my dad asked her - are u going to pray for her to live or to die?

it is such a sucky feeling to be there watching someone in so much pain, and actually hoping that death can be her relief. I hope that euthanasia can be legalised by the time i am old and sick. I hope that one day when i am old and sick, someone can help me make the decision to relief me when i am unable to do that myself, someone who can understand when the day comes that, all i want, is to sleep forever.