Advice About Helping My Grandmother

Dear Doctor Marion:

My godmother has had a left hemiplegic stroke recently.  She is Caribbean descent 75 years of age, hypertensive, diabetic suffering with neuropathy and arthritis all over, her body and congestive heart failure. She is intubated and the doctors feel they might have to give her a trachea. Some of the family wants it done and some of my family does not want the trachea done.  What do you think?

I feel she will not have a quality life as we know it.  She is definitely going to be nursing home material.  Everyone now is saying they will help to take care of her.....I know realistically they mean well, but taking care of her in this state is expensive and a lot of work.  What do you think? 

I need other opinions to try to educate my family on the hard work and expense this will entail.  Thank you for your time in this matter.

Jay in California, 33

Dear Jay,

From all that you indicate, your grandmother's "quality of life" is not what you want for her. Your family has good intentions, but as you stated, they may not be able to carry out those intentions.  My experience is that when families face these crossroads, it's best to write out all of the pros and cons on two separate sheets of paper. One sheet of paper is usually much longer than the other.

This is a powerful way for everyone involved to gain more clarity.  It's very important to keep in mind what is most beneficial for your grandmother. These decisions are never easy. I wish you and your family clarity of heart, mind, and emotions.

Sincerely,

Doctor Marion

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