Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Blame Game

LD's grandmother passed away yesterday and half of his family is blaming themselves for her death. Here is the story.

About 3 weeks ago grandma (g-ma) went into the hospital for a heart attack. It was then discovered that she had multiple bleeding ulcers, bacterial blood infection and lymphoma. The cancer was in her lungs and had caused a growth in her throat that left her with only 4 mm to breath out of. The lymphoma would kill her in months, but the growth would suffocate her in days, so they wanted her transfered to Barnes Jewish for cancer treatment. G-ma was 83 years old, so treatment would not necessarily cure her, so chemo would not always be good, but it would shrink her growth so that she could breath and not have a horrible choking death. G-ma was very reluctant, but finally agreed to go and have chemo.

G-ma began having chemo and was getting better. She could breathe better, her body wasn't as swollen, but she wasn't eating. This was not a major concern since she was a rather large woman and the IV was keeping her hydrated. While this was all going on we found out that she had known that she had this cancer months ago, but did nothing to treat it. She didn't even tell her husband. They also were told that she hadn't been sleeping flat on her back for months cause she was unable to breath in that position. Family members were hurt and angry, but G-ma still looked good.

Then the worst happened. Her lungs gave out and she was put on life support. Then her kidneys began failing. They had a choice to make let her live off machines or let her go. They let her go. Now the blaming begins.

They all felt guilty for pushing her to have chemo. She would have lived if not for the chemo making her weak they said. Others including myself have tried to explain that without the chemo she would have choked to death. Which is so much more worse than having a doctor make you comfortable for your last breath. Plus she would have died at home with her husband who would have freaked out and probably died himself. Then the big argument is that if she would have told everyone when this first was noticed it would have never been this bad and would have been treatable.

Guilt and grief are funny things though. No matter how well you argue that it wasn't their fault there is no changing how they feel. So all we can do is support them at this moment.


Lisa said...

So sorry to hear this... I think you are right. Choking would be horrible.

Mikala said...

I"m so sorry to hear about this...sorry I'm late...

honkeie2 said...

sorry for the lose but sometimes the cure is worse than the sickness. Damned if you do damn if you dont...i just hope when the moment I go out I can suck down one more beer for the road.