The final battle

Vic and JD watching a movie on the laptop
Vic and JD watching a movie on the laptop

For the past couple of days JD has not eaten well and lost control over her bowels a couple of times.  This morning she looked at me with her beautiful, soulful brown eyes and whimpered….

A couple of times we have had her paloured for her final journey and then my courage forsook me.  I kept finding excuses why she should not go for an injection.  Her cough was better, “she has a sparkle in her eye”,” she “bounced” around her snack”….  Yesterday I gave her some of her all time favorite treats i.e. dried sausage (droëwors) and she did not touch it!

Last night she sat upright – I think it was too difficult to breathe.  JD had congenital heart failure.

Today Danie came home from a business appointment and I said “It is time”.  He knew exactly what I was saying.  Vic came through and sat on the carpet with JD.  She said goodbye.   I picked JD up and walked to the car.  Danie drove.

We took JD to our local SPCA.  A young, sympathetic, female veterinarian asked me if I wanted to leave.  I said “No.”  She battled to find a vein.  “It’s the congenital heart failure” she said.

“She is almost 16 years old” I said.

“Wow, she is really very old.  She is a pretty little dog” she said

“Have you ever had a dog euthanized?”  she asked

“No” I said

“I will inject an anesthetic into her veins and she will fall asleep.  She may have a muscle contraction or a bowel movement.  It will be unpleasant for you but not for JD.  She would have passed on.”

“Okay” I said

She found a vein and JD slipped away whilst my tears fell on her coat.

At 12:05 on the 24th of August 2012 JD went to Doggie Heaven.

37 years on death row 19.6.2012

Today was a day out of hell for Vicky.  She is deadly pale – she actually has a ghost like appearance.  She was so ill that she was unable to take pain medication and now her pain is out of control.

If I am having a hard time with this how must this poor child feel?  HOW CAN SHE CARRY ON???

Jared has withdrawn completely!   Rene, Jared’s councillor managed to speak to Jon-Daniel today.   He is in total denial!  He said “My Mom is a miracle.  She was not supposed to live past the age of 12 The doctors said she would die when she fell pregnant with my brother and me and she is still alive.  Lots of times they said she would die…She will get better again”

At first I was filled with disbelief and then I realized with a shock that Jon-Daniel is right!  A couple of weeks ago I bumped into an ex-business partner.  When he inquired after Vic’s health I said that she was desperately ill and that I thought that the end was near.  Frik laughed and said “that is what you said 15 years ago when she was pregnant with her eldest son…”

Reading some of the pre-blog stuff that I wrote and when I look in my Bible there are markings “Vic ICU“, “Vic critical”, etc etc etc.

Vic has been on death row all her life.  I know we start dying the day we are born but for most of our lives we are oblivious to the fact.  At funerals we may think of our own mortality but for the rest of it we think we are invincible.  Jon-Daniel thinks his Mom is invincible.

A colleague asked me earlier today what he should pray for when he prays for Vic.  I replied “Mercy”.  When I got home tonight and I saw this tiny, pitiful little bundle doubled over from the pain,  I panicked and thought to myself “What if Jon-Daniel is right and she gets better again?”

If there is a God He will release my poor child from this dreadful life!  It is an inhuman existence that not even an animal deserves.  If Vic had been an animal she would have been put out of her misery a long time ago!!  God does not have to heal her.  He does not even have to take all her pain away.  If she could just have SOME quality of life…some pain free time with her boys… Please God hear my prayer!

“I’m going to dance my way to heaven…” 14.6.2012

“I am going to dance my way to heaven because I have already been through Hell” – is the copyrighted saying of a brave lady who is terminally ill.  I cannot find her blog nor a reference in Google that this is the case, but I would like to credit her with this.  It was posted in Vic’s facebook by a family member.  If I created the impression that it is my clever line I apologise!  The credit goes to  Martha Mayhew-Merson –

This afternoon Vic and I were chatting and then she said: “Mommy, why does God hate me?  Why does He let me suffer like this?  Why doesn’t He allow me to die?”

I could not come up with a reply.  I don’t have an answer to this question that not only haunts Vic but so many other people.  Today Rob Cramp, Tracey, (both very dear friends to Vic) as well as Hermien, the pharmacist, asked me exactly the same question.

“I’m going to dance my way to heaven, because I’ve already been through Hell.. Vicky Bruce you are one of God’s special angels.”  My young niece, Muriel, posted this apt message on Vic’s Facebook Page.  Sometimes I think the Catholics are right about purgatory.  Only this must be the purgatory stage of our existence.  This existence of ours can only be Hell…

I omitted to say in yesterday’s post, that with a few exceptions, euthanasia and assisted suicide are very cowardly actions – the ill person getting their caregiver to do the dirty deed.  It is such a selfish action.  If the sick person can swallow their own tablets they can take their own lives.  This is my opinion.

Life is hard but death is even harder.

Tonight I am feeling mentally and physically exhausted.  Depressed actually.

Tomorrow I will feel better.    Tomorrow my brave child will continue her relentless battle against pain and indignity.

God have mercy…

Vic and the boys in better days – 23.8.2011

Eat, Sleep, Vomit 12.6.2012

Today was a mixed day.  Although Vic seems marginally more ill and weaker than yesterday she was more upbeat.  When the boys got home we all had tea with her and the boys joking brought a smile to her beautiful little face.  For approximately fifteen minutes there was easy banter in her room.  What a change – our conversations tend to revolve around bowel movements and the color of vomit.

Lying on her bed with me I realized how small our world has become.  Vic’s days consist of Eat, Sleep, Vomit or Eat, Sleep, Tablets – one of the two combinations.   It is amazing that she has not developed bedsores yet.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines euthanasia as being “gentle and easy death;  bringing about this, especially in a case of incurable and painful disease”.

I have a simple theory.  Most people who are terminally ill and of full mental capacity are able of ending their own lives  at one or other stage of the disease.  The terminally ill are able to take that extra dosage of morphine themselves.  The vast majority of people have an incredible desire to live and will live through pain and suffering and continue to breath!  Euthanasia is not the issue… You really want to die, you will find a way to die

In the event of a patient suffering from a disease or illness that incapacitates them i.e. motor neuron disease where the patient is ventilated or the patient was left severely brain damaged from an accident, life sustaining treatment should not be allowed.   If doctors are allowed to prolong lives should they not be allowed to end life?  I firmly believe that doctors do not know when to give up.  Vic’s Dad, Tienie, had severe brain damage after a car accident and yet the ICU team resuscitated him after the brain damage had been confirmed!  Why??? What is the purpose of breathing when you are not able to walk, love, talk, breathe on your own?

Professor S A Strauss in his book Doctor and Patient Law, 1984 edition published by J L van Schaik on page 387 states that “in principle every person is legally entitled to refuse medical attention, even if it has the effect of expediting his death.  In this sense the individual has a right to die’.  All that is required is that the declarant, at the time of making his refusal known, is compus mentus…

In the case of Vic she is on 400mg of morphine twice per day and takes 25ml of morphine syrup every 4 hours for breakthrough pain.  Vic has become morphine resistant and the dosages are increasing to keep her incredible, debilitating pain at bay. Surely the dosages of pain medication that she is on must become lethal?  I know that it is Vic’s doctor’s primary intention to make her life as comfortable as possible by the administration of pain alleviating medicines.   Yet the mercy shown to her may have the side effect of hastening death…  Please do not misunderstand me – If I knew how to pray I would pray for her suffering to end!

Vic has a living will with a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) clause.  I will ensure that it is enforced if the “need” ever arises.

Sometimes I am scared Vic will not die – that she will continue to live, no breath,  in this hell that we call life.  The bottom line is however that Vic will NEVER take an extra dose of morphine and NO ONE will ever administer an extra dosage of morphine.  We all fear God’s retribution for murder… both the terminally ill and their caregivers.

As my dear friend Mohammed says:- her life is in the hands of her God.  We can speculate as much as we like, we have absolutely NO control over life.

I hate seeing Vic suffer but I so cherish the 15 minutes we had today.  Fifteen good minutes in two months…I know I would have taken that extra dose of morphine a long time ago if I was her her shoes.

The world is filled with evil, bad people.  Why don’t they suffer the pain and indignity that my sweet, loving child suffers?  LIFE IS NOT DARN FAIR!!!!!!!!Image

28 days medication….