Friday, July 08, 2005

Mama was DNR

Once when Mama went to the doctor about something, he told her that whatever-the-problem-was that it was just old age, and that she just had to live with it. She was in her early eighties at the time. His name was Crockett.

Well, Mama told Dr. Crockett, "I read in the Reader's Digest that if a doctor tells you that your problem is caused by old age, you should change doctors." Mama changed doctors.

A few years later she attended Dr. Crockett's funeral.

Mama and I talked every single day on the phone. One day in February 2001, she told me that she "had taken a nervous spell." I asked her what she was nervous about and she told me she didn’t really know. "Just a nervous spell," she said. Not like Mama. She was 91 years old, and it was the first nervous spell I had ever heard about.

The next day she went out to breakfast with friends. Went to Denny's. She loved that big breakfast at Denny's. The one where you get two of just about everything in the kitchen. I don't know why since she always gave most of it away. "Anyone want this sausage? I don't care that much for sausage." She would actually tell the waitress how to cook an item like, "Please make the bacon extra crisp," and then say to someone else at the table, "Do you want my bacon? I just don’t believe I feel like eating bacon today." *Sigh*

Mama mentioned to the nun who was with them that she had "taken a nervous spell." Sister Jean persuaded Mama to go to the doctor after breakfast, and then called me. The doctor said that Mama was very anemic and he wanted to do some tests. Mama said no tests, "I’m 91 years old and I’m not going to let you operate on me, so why find out what’s wrong?"

But she did agree to have two pints of blood to treat the anemia. She'd been given blood before for that purpose. Little bit of the vampire in her little self. She was taken to a clinic for the transfusions. When she entered the clinic, Mama told them, "Remember I'm DNR." Do Not Resuscitate. She would have had that tattooed on her forehead, but she was a bit too vain for that.

The nurse told me that Mama was doing very well. In fact, she had gotten up from the bed by herself at one point while the blood was being given, rolling the hanging blood bag, etc., and took her little self to the bathroom, unaided. That Mama.

They let me talk to Mama while she was getting the blood. Mama said she was fine. She sounded just like Mama. Not worried, not excited, just Mama. She asked about my kids as usual.

But this felt different. I called my sister Doris. I called my sister Bonnie. Both Doris and Bonnie called Mama at the clinic. We all called each other. Busy phone day. Doris herself was in the hospital getting chemotherapy. We felt that perhaps Mama's nervous spell was actually that she was worried about Doris.

When the nurse checked on Mama a little later she asked for something to let her sleep through the transfusions. She had small veins and it took a long time for her to be given blood. The nurse checked with the doctor who said okay, and Mama received a mild sedative and drifted off to sleep.

Later the nurse checked to see if the first pint of blood was finished. Mama's breathing was very distressed. Mama was dying.

The nurse "coded" her, and lots of people came running to "work on" Mama. The doctor on duty came because of the "code" and quickly pointed out that Mama was DNR, and that she had made a point of reminding him of that.

The nurse assured me that they had not "worked on" Mama more than a couple of minutes. Mama had not awakened. She died quickly and in her sleep. Peacefully.
She had always said, "I hope I die in my sleep." Mama got her wish.

That Mama. Sweetest little Mama anybody ever had.

22 comments:

Saur♥Kraut said...

Beautifully written, but so sad. It's a cold reminder how little time we have with our parents and our older relatives.

Jamie Dawn said...

Your memories are precious. I'm so glad she got her wish.

AP3 said...

Granny was da bomb. I miss her.

Pseudo-intellectual lunatic said...

thanks for dropping by

Raine said...

I'm glad Mama got her wish. She sounded like a real treasure.

mireille said...

precious little Mama. thank you for sharing her, Tan Lucy. xoxoxo

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

I am really enjoying this tender and moving stories about your mama. Thank you for sharing them with us all.

Fred said...

Mama was something, eh? what a wonderful person and what a wonderful post.

BTW, my doctor is telling me the same thing. I'm changing, too.

GodlessMom said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your memories of your Mama. It sounds like she was a wonderful, quirky person. I'm really glad she want so peacefully in her sleep.

Doug said...

What an amazing woman. I still chuckled at the Dr. Crockett story even though the title told me where this was going.

actonbell said...

Still missing Granny, how adorable she was.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Thank you all. I'm still missing Mama too. In fact I cried when I wrote the story, thou I've told it many times.

Doris and I both had always talked to her daily, so every single day for at least a year after she died, I had that "unfinished business" feeling. Besides, as you may have guessed, Mama was always, I mean ALWAYS, good for a laugh. She never failed me. Always up to something that made me laugh.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You got superior story-telling skills, Lucy. Look at that: A sad story that leaves us smiling. Good for you.

Libby said...

Oh, Lucy, that story brought tears to my eyes, and reminded me how much I need to start calling my mom every day, too, even though she is nothing like your mom was. She is 82, and my dad is 87...
LibbY!

dddragon said...

I remember her talking about being DNR and not wanting heroic measures used. She worried about it once in awhile, usually after there was some related story on the news. It has always made me comfortable with her passing that she went the way she wanted. "Never expected to make it this far" she'd say.

She was the best.

Always_Adventuring said...

Awww... that put tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful memory. It makes even me miss her. All these entries about her make me realize what a special person she was and I never met her. She's a lucky woman to have a family like yours. God bless each and every one of you.

Tom & Icy said...

We just love your stories

Christine said...

I pray my mother has such a long life and goes peacefully just like your mom did. Thank you for sharing such a touching story about a very cool lady. You made her live again to many of us.

Savtadotty said...

I echo what Christine said: your stories keep her (memory) alive. Don't stop!

Wirthy said...

Just got your recent comment on my site. Don't worry, I'm not anti-gay. I dislike all people equally.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

LOL Wirthy. So you're not a bigot, you hate everybody !

vicki said...

I came back to see if there was more of mama and I'm sad to find this post- I've fallen for the lady. I hope you continue to write stories about your mama like the next in Dead Fly Diner. They're delightful and well written- thank you!