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24 February, 2009

Prayers for Nana

This post originally appeared in my private blog on February 24, 2009

As I posted last month she has been sick for several years. She has withered away from a healthy 130-140 pound, average height, strikingly beautiful woman. These days, she lays, a mere 80 or 90 pounds in a hospital bed hooked up to feeding tubes and oxygen, wrapped in two or three blankets to stay warm. We are very, very blessed that my family can afford the incredible health care she is receiving from some of the most patient and kind nurses. However, day after day, the nurses call the family and report little to no movement or responses. The last my family could see or feel a response from her was the day after my grandfather's funeral, they could see one tear in her eye when they told her that Papa passed away.

Last night my dad sent me a Facebook message, yes a Facebook message... asking me what to do about my grandmother. The nurses think that she is not responding much to the feeding tube, and the hospital called asking if we want to replace the one she has now (I'm not sure if it's infected or broken, or if they are trying something new) or if we are ready to let her go.

As I've been reading on the USCCB's End of Life Issues both of these conditions fall in the gray area of keeping someone alive on life support vs letting them die naturally. Things like having painful stomach cancer and the feeding tube makes them vomit is an okay time to let the person die naturally. Being unable financially or being too lazy to care for elderly/sick family, is NOT a reason to let them die. So here we sit in a gray area in our faith, having to choose right from wrong; to sort through our selfish thoughts; and to discern the best life and care for someone who is unable to make their own decisions.

I have a few people I'm going to speak with today, but I'd appreciate any input, resources, or experience any of you might have. Most of all, we need your prayers. The family has turned to my dad and I to pretty much make the decision. The rest of the family is exhausted, but they are willing to respect the Church's teachings because they know it's important to me and my dad (and well, all of my immediate family).

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