Death Impending death of uncle

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
My uncle woke up a few days ago, unable to physically get out of bed and talking gibberish. He's in his 80s and has been sick for a long time, although the last 2-3 months have been the worst he's been in a very long time. He had 7 bypasses about 20 years ago and surpassed the age when they said he should have died, and he's done pretty well until recently, but now he has severe kidney disease.

Anyway, they've kept him sedated for the most part since he got to the hospital, and he was moved to ICU yesterday. They were to start dialysis yesterday, which apparently didn't go as well as it should have, and last night they called his girlfriend and told her that he took a turn for the worse, and if he doesn't improve in the next two days, they are going to remove all of the machines. (I don't think he's on a vent, but he's on a bunch of other stuff, including IV antibiotics for sepsis).

I'm not really close to my uncle, but he lives in the area, and he and my mom are tight. She's living--alone--in an old house of his, he takes care of yardwork and repairs, and they talk a lot. She's pretty tight with all of her brothers--one will be coming in today and the other is waiting to see how he does. He'd scheduled to come the 17th anyway, but may need to come earlier.

When it comes to me and my siblings, the family dynamic is weird. My mother's side of the family never liked my dad, and I think that, by extension, they don't care to give the others of us the time of day. My uncles are all such great guys--funny, smart--and it makes me so sad that, because of how my dad was, the rest of us have to suffer.

If/when my uncle dies, I am dreading the after-the funeral, the gathering, etc. I've had no contact with my sister since 2008 (her doing), and I feel like a complete alien with the rest of the family. It reminds me how not a part of this family I am and how alone I'll be when mom is gone.
 
Brain scan shows he's had two strokes.

I know everyone deals with it, but my stress cup is already overflowing; I can't do this.
It sounds as if both he & your mom have a lot of support, both in each other, & your other uncles.

So there’s no need to pull an Atlas, even if it’s your knee jerk to shoulder any and all you can.

As one needs to take care of themselves… before they’re any good for others… what can you do, for yourself?

- Ground & Center?
- Healing ceremony?
- Send off a quick batch of emails, to quick cut your list responsibilities/commitments, so you can block some time for yourself / stress management / & family? (cut paste, or group send, that there’s been a medical emergency in your family, so you’ll need to bow out for the next couple weeks).
- “Extraordinary Circumstace Rules”? (Like ordering food in, hiring help out, using paper plates, etc. so your everyday list of tasks -cooking, cleaning, etc.- is also reduced).
- ???

Once stress cup stuff is drastically reduced, and you’re more yourself, again:

What would you LIKE to be doing, that’s too much now?
 
what can you do, for yourself?
I do all kinds of things for myself. I do more for myself than I should. I order out instead of cooking (I hate to cook)--and if you saw my place, you'd know I don't ever straighten, and I seldom clean. I would never want to hire anyone--even if I could afford it--because I really don't want anyone else in my private space. I read, I play with the cats, I spend time in green spaces/parks, I feed the birds in the backyard and love watching them.

It's like getting out of bed in the morning, moving from point A to point B, everything creates overwhelm. I can manage work, but only when there isn't any. I work from home and our work comes in batches, so there are longish periods where I don't have to do anything. And this is when there isn't anything extra--like an illness in the family. The overwhelm is there already, every day.

Send off a quick batch of emails, to quick cut your list responsibilities/commitments, so you can block some time for yourself
I think part of the problem in the last week is that there haven't been many emails at all. It's pretty much my only connection to people. I've lost some of those critical connections--I've cut back on those things that feel overwhelming, but in truth, everything feels that way and has for a long time.
 
So, his scan showed that he had two minor strokes, and his kidneys are completely shut down. He's on dialysis and still in the ICU. If he leaves the hospital, he will have to go to a home, and he will be on dialysis for the rest of his life, going to the center 3x weekly.

Everyone is leaning toward not going forward with the dialysis, I think. He's been awake and oriented, although he's pretty agitated all the time, which may be stroke-related. Anyway, he has an advanced directive, and I suspect he would just want to die. In fact, he told mom today he wanted to die, but it's hard to know how much of what he says comes from a place of clarity.

My brother and my uncle's girlfriend's daughters went to see her today. I don't *want* to see him, and I'm sure he would never miss me if I didn't go. But I guess I feel guilty--I want his girlfriend to know that I've been thinking about him. I have no idea why I care what she thinks, but I do.

I told mom I might go tomorrow, but I *really* don't want to. She won't care either way, and I know not going would be better for me in the long-run, but...I don't know.
 
Whatever you decide to do: you don't owe anyone anything. So if you don't want to go, that's ok? I think it's a very personal thing: going to hospital to visit a dying person. Very intimate. So, if that level of intimacy is not there in the relationship in the first place? Makes it difficult to do and totally understandable that people don't.


The aftermath: again you only need to engage in what you want. There are different ways to pay respects and say goodbye than just going to a funeral. You can decide to not go. You can decide to go for the service only and leave straight after. Etc. You can do all this on your terms.
 
I feel guilty--I want his girlfriend to know that I've been thinking about him. I have no idea why I care what she thinks, but I do.

I told mom I might go tomorrow, but I *really* don't want to. She won't care either way, and I know not going would be better for me in the long-run, but...I don't know.
This is what sending flowers, or cookies, or cookie-flowers is for.
 
I didn't go. They removed everything yesterday and gave him a few hours to a day. He was still alive last night, and I haven't heard today yet. My other uncles and a cousin are coming in today, so...

This is what sending flowers, or cookies, or cookie-flowers is for.
Yeah...it just feels very impersonal. I think I will do something--send flowers probably--for the funeral.
 
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