I took a college psychology class one semester and as part of the class we were required to participate in a study by one of the upperclassmen. The study I chose was one in which a student and a parent were asked to come and fill out a survey about end of life medical decisions for the parent.
**A little back ground here ** my Grandmother, not more than a year prior had a severe heart attack while in the hospital for some testing. Though her chart said “Do Not Resuscitate” they brought her back, put her on a ventilator and plugged her into the wall — for two weeks. It sucked. Seeing someone you love, who not days before was full of spit and vinegar, unconscious, unresponsive, and now full of hoses — is horrible. I knew the horror, the dread, the pain of “end of life” medical decisions for a parent. I was old enough to have an opinion and I told my parents, my Aunts and Uncles, they needed to unplug Grandma and let her go to Pa.
So back to the psychology experiment: the upperclassman working on their experiment survey asked Mom, “do you want to be on a ventilator?” “No,” Mom said. “How about a feeding tube?” Again, “no,” from Mom. –Long list of life support treatments — Mom’s response to each and every one “NO.”
Then it’s my turn. The psychology student asks me, “after hearing your mom’s wishes with respect to life support services would you put your mom on a ventilator?” I respond dutifully, “No.” (However in light of COVID I am rethinking this answer). The student goes through the list of treatments, I follow my mother’s wishes and respond “no” with one exception: A feeding tube. If my mother were on her death bed and could breathe on her own, her heart still worked of it’s own accord, and her only problem was that she couldn’t eat… for whatever reason… I would make sure she was fed.
I have a thing with food — I think everyone who walks the earth has a thing with food. It is one of the essential elements of life: Food, Water, Clothing, Shelter, Love. I would not see my mother starve to death.
When we can, my husband and I take opportunities to feed people. We do the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen. We deliver meals with Cherokee County Meals on Wheels. I have recently found out about Community Cafe and plan to volunteer with them when my schedule frees up. There is no greater sense of community than breaking bread with our neighbors. Please consider volunteering your time to one of these organizations. They need help, the people they serve need help, and we all could use a greater sense of community.