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Mercy Train
A poignant look at three generations struggling with loss and love.
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Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

Created: 06/03/12

Replies: 11

Posted Jun. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 369

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Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

Has there ever been a time in your life when you've been forced to make a hard decision regarding a
loved one's health like Sam has to? What do you think of the decision she ultimately made?


Posted Jun. 05, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 33

RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

I think that this was the part of the book I wrestled with the most: Samantha has to make life and death decisions of both terminating her pregnancy and helping her mother end her life.

Obviously, these are huge decisions that I think anyone would struggle with either way for the rest of her life.

Samantha wonders about but never asks her mother for 'approval' for ending her first pregnancy, but I kind of feel like Iris's asking Samantha to help her end her life gives Samantha the answer of how her mother would have felt about it - she would have accepted it as a pragmatic option and eased Samantha's guilt.

Thankfully, I have never faced either of these decisions, and I am grateful! I can say that I would have chosen differently in both situations - and probably would have - but I don't know that anyone knows that for sure unless they are there.

My mom and grandma and I are/were (my grandmother passed away a few years ago) very, very close, and I felt sorry for these women who were of the same blood but planets apart in their relationships. I think they loved each other the best way they knew how, but I feel like Iris's request very selfish. I wonder if they had been closer if Iris would have asked Samantha to help her.


Posted Jun. 05, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
peg

Join Date: 08/11/11

Posts: 29

RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

Yes. I was the decision maker for my aunt when she was dying with a brain tumor. With the advice of our doctor and against her brother's will I had her removed from the hospital in order to avoid extraordinary measures so that she could die in comfort away from machines. This allowed my mother to be near her and for her to die with relative ease and dignity. I would hope my loved ones would do the America for me!


Posted Jun. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 209

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RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

The only hard health related issue I was involved with was with my father and the decision was one he made himself and I was simply there to see that his wishes were known to his doctors. Unfortunately, they chose to ignore his request and he lived for almost a year as a very incapacitated man who had been ready and willing to die since my mother's death several years earlier. My self and my siblings were pretty angry as we knew very clearly what he wanted.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
elizabethw

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 9

RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

As Peg related, making humane choices in the face of inhuman suffering sometimes makes one a target of criticism. Yes, I've been there. God bless Hospice nurses.

elizabethw


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 33

RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

For the sake of discussion, what do you think the differences are between, say, allowing someone to die with dignity by following their pre-decided wishes, (such as allowing a loved one to be taken off life support) and actually feeding them the pills that will speed up their death, such as Sam did?
Do you think there IS a difference? Personally, I would be fine with following my mom's wishes to be removed from life support of any kind, but I don't think I could feed her the pills, even if that was what she wanted....


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Beth350

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 62

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RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

No, but I am the designated family member to make the decision for my mother should it become necessary. I hope that I will be able to fulfill that duty with compassion and allow her to die with dignity, if that is what needs to happen.


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terrio

Join Date: 08/16/11

Posts: 41

RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

Amberb has a good point. I hadn't thought about the difference between allowing someone to die by not taking extraordinary measures (for example, not keeping someone alive on life support) versus helping someone die by taking extraordinary measures (for example, deliberately overdosing her, as Sam does for Iris). The former seems more passive and acceptable (you wouln't be killing the person but rather allowing her to die naturally). The latter is a crime in most states (and most countries, for that matter). It seems to me that Iris placed another huge burden on Sam by asking her to administer the overdose. This is yet another thing for Sam to feel guilty about for the rest of her life. It would have been kinder for Iris to administer the overdose herself before she became incapable of doing so.


Posted Jun. 15, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

I guess my decision about my 72 year old sister was both hard and easy. I received a call that she had been found unconsious and on life support. I flew down the next morning to see what was what. The doctors told me she would be in a vegetative state should she ever awake which was highly unlikely.

I went to her trust and read her requests. They were absolutely clear that she did not wish to live that way. I slept on my decision and the next day she was unplugged. She died the day after. That was 5 years ago and I have never regretted my decision even though it was an emotional one.


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted Jun. 17, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 116

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RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

I have not been in the position that Sam was in where she was asked to actively assist. When my mother died several years ago I was in the position of deciding when life support measures should be terminated. But I knew want her wishes were and had no problem following her wishes. In both cases the daughter was following the desire of the parent, but in Sam's case, there were legal ramifications if found out.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

No, never, persinallly. I think I 'd find feeding the pills easier. Hard to pinpoint why, though. Maybe it'a big more passive?


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dhaupt

Join Date: 06/20/12

Posts: 10

RE: Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a loved one's health like Sam has to?

I have several times, once when my father needed open heart surgery and once when my husband and I put my mother-in-law in a nursing home


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