I’ve wanted to go to India all my life. I just never got there during the 13 years I lived in Hong Kong, probably because I never got an assignment there and I didn’t want to go on my own dime.
But since I’ve been back in San Francisco I have been communicating by e-mail with Virginia La Torre Jeker — one of my closest friends in Hong Kong –and she has invited me several times to visit her in Dubai. When I said what the hell why not and agreed I realize Dubai was not that far from India. I planned this trip for months.
Set to go on October 4, I got a call from the head of nursing at The Heritage, on September 29 telling me mamma was having seizures. Naturally I ran down to see her and first consulted with her physician, Doctor Matin. She told me that the medication mamma’s seizures had subsided. What is a seizure, I asked?
A convulsion she said.
Yes, I pressed, but what does that mean?
She said it was probably one of the consequences of mother’s several strokes. And while the seizures might be controlled, there was no good prognosis.
We reviewed her DNR and her instructions for the end of her life. I found that she had selected that she should be sent the hospital and treated with intubation. I decided to change that.
I saw my mother sitting in the seating area outside the Friendship Hall. She was awake and alert and looking very distraught in my mind. She embraced me and kissed me with vigor.
As I was standing by her watching her, I signed the document changing her instructions that would end her life quickly and I hoped painlessly. It was a hard moment.
I talked to Stanley and reviewed with him the arrangement I made for her cremation and transport to the crematorium.
The next day I talked to Linda and called Joe Stinson at Colma Cremation Services, explaining the situation.
I was very calm talking to others. Both at The Heritage and home on my telephone. But by myself I was crumbling inside and very anxious.
Not only was I grieving for my mother but I was also feeling angry with her that she should fall apart just when I’m preparing for my much anticipated trip. I was ashamed of this feeling but I had to cop to it.