Tag Archives: Hospice

When do our Children become ‘The Parents’?

Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step RecoveryIt all started when I took my oldest daughter to the movies. I’m not sure what year that was, but she was a young adult. There was a scary scene in the movie and I was holding the car keys in my hands. When I’m really nervous, my leg starts to shake really fast and so the keys were apparently making some noise. Suddenly, she took the keys away from me! I looked at her, surprised. She said, ‘You’re making too much noise. I’ll give them back to you when the movie’s over.’

This was the first inkling that a shift was happening as this is what I would do when my children made too much noise!

Then, one day, my son asked me to come with him to buy a car. He was so excited to be buying a BMW M5! And I was happy for him. He was working hard as a merchant marine and electrical engineer for a large shipping company. Away at sea in Dubai and other far away places for months at a time, it was my joy to be asked to come and use my ‘car buying skills!’ My ego was sailing! Then, while he was talking to the dealer, and I was, interjecting here and there, trying to make myself useful, he turned to me. (The dealer had just walked away.) He said, ‘Mom, I can handle this. I just wanted your company. I can do this. If you can’t just listen, then maybe you should just go and wait in the car.” Unhappy with that conversation, I went to the car! Once again, I felt that some sort of role reversal was happening with my children and I didn’t know what to do about it!

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Euthanasia, Brittany Maynard, and Dying with Dignity

Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Twelve Step RecoveryPeople are talking about Brittany Maynard and her decision to end her young life. Like her, my mother died of glioblastoma, a brain cancer.  As a hospice nurse, I have cared for patients with this same disease. It was hard to watch.

I had planned to talk about something light and easy. Then, I got a phone call from my favorite lawyer. “Mom, why don’t you write about Brittany Maynard killing herself?  She was dying of the same cancer your mother had, and decided to take her own life.” My younger daughter also called me, earlier this week, to pick my brain about this same subject saying, ‘Didn’t your mom die of this cancer?’

It’s my understanding that this beautiful, young girl was told the tumor was in-operable.  It also sounds like she wanted to use  her final time wisely and with her closest loved ones. We know that she was taking medication and trying to do what she could do to treat her illness (She gained a lot of weight and has the classic symptom of ‘moon face’, both side effects of  steroids.)  Maynard said she was having painful headaches and apparently suffered seizures, which is often the case with a brain tumor, although my mom never had one seizure. As a hospice nurse, I have seen how effective both seizure and pain medications can be. Yet, they don’t always work and people do suffer horrible deaths if they are not given the appropriate amount of pain medication. Hospice is all about dying with dignity and providing people with proper pain management!

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