In December 2015 my mother was in Resthaven in South Australia. She had a second stroke and had a 'Do Not Resuscitate' directive in place so, from that day, she was given no food or water.
Nursing staff told us that she would not feel thirst or hunger. They were so wrong! Mum lasted for over 9 days in the middle of that awful heat wave we had last December. She sucked so hard on that damn mouth wash right up until the last day. Clearly she was thirsty. She had the 'death rattle' for five days.
In my 60 years of life, those last few days were the most awful memories I have of my mother. I feel like I murdered her. She suffered, and the medical reassurances that she wouldn't suffer were bullshit.
As an adjunct, I went from enjoying very good health to having a life-threatening medical issue just 6 weeks later, and now have a serious auto immune illness as a consequence. I believe the stress of watching my mother's death triggered my illness. I was 'prepared' for her death because she was 87. I was not prepared for the manner of her death and I do not want my family to go through this for me.
- C.W., February 2017
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