Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys, and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer at www.SeniorLifeGCM.com.
I love my father and I can’t imagine living without him. He’s only 79 years old and he is giving up on life. He’s got some cancer that could be treated and he won’t do it. He says he’s lived a good life and it’ OK if it’s his time. It doesn’t have to be his time. He can have surgery and radiation or chemo. How can he leave me? How can he do this to me? I need him He’s always been there for me. Now I want to help him and he won’t listen. I tried talking to the doctor. He said Daddy has some really bad cancer in his pancreas. He said there’s some treatment, but it’s Daddy’s right to say no and he wouldn’t fault him for it. Isn’t this suicide? Isn’t it against the law or something? Someone needs to listen to me. Somebody’s got to do something. Please help me.
Dearest George Ann,
Oh honey. I feel your anguish. I do. Underneath yours I sense your father’s as well. I am sure his heart is breaking to see you so distressed. I am quite certain he did consider how you would feel about his decision. It may help you to make an appointment with an oncology physician who can sit down with you (and your dad if he is up to it) and talk about the kind of cancer cells he has, how aggressive they are, and the prognosis with treatment. This doctor will listen very carefully to what you are saying and feeling. S/he will talk with both you and your dad about the options if you have not already had this conversation.
If there is a very reasonable chance for your father to pull through with treatment, you may want to ask the doctor about depression treatment for your father. If the treatment is going to be very difficult for him with uncertain or poor potential, then I want you to consider your father’s wishes. You said you want to help him. The best way you can help is to support his decision and to get help for yourself so he knows you have support. Talk to the oncologist about support groups for grieving. And go. Your father isn’t committing suicide; he’s choosing to let nature take its course. I am sure he would like you to accept the situation.
So, go through the steps I’ve mentioned: Learn more. Ask questions. If it’s a bad situation for him, find it in yourself to support him. And get support for you too. You just might make a new friend in the support group; someone who understands what you’re going through. You can help each other.
JENNIFER’S INTERVIEWS ABOUT DYING
As a young nurse, I was quite curious about nearly everything, and particularly about this mystery called death. What is it like, really? What does the dying person feel and experience? To get my answers, I began interviewing people who had “near death” experiences; the kind where the heart stops and has to be restarted. That’s as close to death as we get and can come back to tell about it.
I must have interviewed about 40 people in all different situations from auto accidents, cardiac distress to difficulties on the operating room table. The results were quite interesting. About 1/3 of those interviewed didn’t have any recall. They said things like: “I just saw black” or “Everything was gray.” Of the remaining people, they ALL said they saw white or light. They ALL said they felt calm, peaceful and an amazing feeling of wellness. Approximately half of these people said they saw or heard a predeceased loved one soothing them, telling them it would be all right, or encouraging them to come with them.
Every one of the people I interviewed said they are no longer frightened of dying. Isn’t that beautiful?
By John Sproul
One of these big cats does not belong with the others. Which one does not belong with this group?
C. Mountain lion
The correct answer is D.
The cougar (also called the panther, mountain lion or puma) is native to the Americas. Lions, leopards and cheetahs all are big cats that mainly reside in Africa.