A Most Difficult Choice

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The morning of January 7, 2011, started out normal enough. I was starting my morning out by taking a shower. Shortly into my shower, my husband knocked on the shower door. He told me that he had just received a phone call from hospice that my mother-in-law (who had advanced dementia) had rapidly declined overnight and wasn’t expected to live much longer. I told him to hang on and let me get myself together and I would go with him to hospice. I had planned to leave my young son with my teenage daughter so she could watch him while we went over to hospice. I didn’t think it was a good idea to take them both over there. My son at the time was sound asleep. My daughter wasn’t in her bed, so I went to investigate where she was. I found her doubled over with pain with severe abdominal pain on the family room couch. My daughter has a high threshold for pain, so I asked her to rank it on a scale of 1 (barely hurting) to a 10 (so severe she couldn’t stand it). She ranked it a 10 , so I knew it was bad. I had to make a decision that I hope no mother and wife has to make. What are the chances of something like this happening, like a million in one?? Should I go with my husband to hospice or go with my daughter to the Emergency Room? I had to make the incredibly hard choice to take my daughter to the hospital . After we got to the Emergency Room all kinds of tests were run on my daughter. The doctors and nurses didn’t know what was causing her severe abdominal pains. Since my husband had gone to hospice to be with his mom and I was with our daughter, I didn’t know the status of my mother-in-law. Unfortunately, in the time between when we had gotten the call from hospice and when he got there, she had died. One of the “angels” that took care of my mother-in-law in hospice was with her when she passed so we took some comfort in that. After my husband spent a little time at the hospice trying to absorb the loss, he then headed over to the hospital to check on our daughter. It was quickly determined that she would not be getting out of the hospital that day. My husband had to get back home to start making arrangements for his mom’s funeral. She was from the Cleveland area and was to be buried there next to my father-in-law. Our daughter was admitted to the hospital that evening. During this time we were trying to set up with the funeral home a time for the viewing and burial back in Cleveland. I really wish I could have split myself in half during that time. My husband needed me to help plan the funeral and my daughter needed me with her at the hospital. The doctors went back and forth about what was wrong with our daughter. At one point, I met with a surgeon who was preparing to remove her appendix. After several blood tests and other tests, it was determined that she had suffered one or more ruptured ovarian cysts. She was released from the hospital after three days. Not more than about 24 hours after her release, we were all in the car heading to Cleveland to attend my mother-in-law’s viewing and funeral. Even though it’s been almost a year and half since that day in January 2011, I still feel guilt that I couldn't have been with my husband when he needed me the most. Every mom I have told this story to said I had no choice, I had to go with my daughter to the hospital. There was nothing I could do to help my mother-in-law. It still was a most difficult choice. What would you have done?


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