Regrets for the rest of my life!

by JIm

My mother passed away last month at 92 and my last visit with her she mentioned she had a chest pain earlier, but never mentioned it the remainder of my 3 hour visit. Like an idiot I did not tell the nurse and my mother passed away in her sleep 3 days later. I've been assured by her cardiologist and the nursing staff at the nursing home that even if I did mention the chest pain the only thing they would do is monitor her vitals every 4 hours. Also, if she did have severe chest pains since this time there was nothing they could do at her age, angioplasty or bypass surgery was not an option. I spoke to the nurse that was there the following day and she said my mother seemed happy and did not complain of any pain and my sister in law who saw her on Monday (day before sge died) said my mother did not complain of any new pains either. If she had not died Tuesday morning I would have seen her as I always saw her on Saturday and Tuesday of every week. For the rest of my life I will blame myself for not telling the nurse and not going to see her the next day (Sunday). My life will never be the same and I let my mother down at the worst possible time.

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Dec 28, 2013
I too have regrets
by: Anonymous

Dear Jim,

I just read your post and I can relate to what you have said. My mum had CHF and she died last July aged 82. She had numerous hospital visits over the past year and it was obvious that her condition was getting worse. I went on holiday last July knowing that her health wasn't great but not expecting her to die. She passed away the day after I returned home. Now I feel so guilty for going on the holiday but it was a chance I took at the time.I too feel that I made the wrong decision and I have been beating myself up about it since. I suppose the thing to remember is that none of us are perfect and that we all make mistakes. If you thought your mum was in danger of course you would have told the nurse but you made a decision based on the knowledge you had at the time. I didn't think my mum was going to die suddenly so I went on holiday. Try to forgive yourself you seem like a really attentive son. if you weren't so kind you wouldn't be feeling guilty. The fact we are feeling this way is indicative of the love we had for our mothers. All the best.

Aug 25, 2013
Reply to Silver
by: Jim

Thank you for your encouragement. I spoke to my mother's cardiologist who is her PCP and he did not think it was her heart, but possibly a blood clot that was the cause of death. Her heart would rebound from CHF levels to normal with no explaination, the last ecocardiogram she he back in late April showed her heart was back to normal. She fell and hurt her left knee that had severe arthritis and since that fall she could only take a few steps, but only with 2 people holding her up to use her portable toilet by her chair. This was humiliating to her and I know for a fact she purposely started eating and drinking less to avoid being lifted onto the toilet. Her eyesight was very poor and her hearing was as well, so once her ability to walk was taken away there's nothing left and her quality of life took the last final hit. She told me and my sister in law she wanted to die and I can't blame her, I would want to die without the eyesight alone.
Do you think based on her immobility the for 3 months+ that a blood clot could have been the cause of her death? She was taking 1 baby aspirin, but I don't know if that alone would prevent a fatal blood clot. I'm 100% certain it was either a heart attack or her heart just stopped if it wasn't a blood clot. Based on what the nurse told us, she died in less than an hour after they gave her the morning pills at 7 AM and she did not ring her call bell. I hope it was a fast and painless death that she never felt anything, that's the way she deserved to die when the time came. She had numerous surgeries over the years and she and the family would not have wanted her to suffer through any more procedures. The pain of her loss for me is actually getting worse and I'm going to begin a bereavement group session to see if it helps. It makes me sick every day when I think of all the things I should have done differently over her life, but I do know that she loived me and I loved her. We spent alot of time together over the years, but I always wish I did more. Regrets are a horrible thing and they are consuming my life right now.

Aug 24, 2013
regrets for the rest of my life
by: silver

Please Jim don't beat yourself up.Regrets are a part of grief.My mom lived at home until she died(3 yrs ago) but with a type of dementia she would have eventually had to have 24 hr care.My youngest son lived with her and was there when she died.She died of a clot to the major artery in her lungs which stopped her heart.I felt for a long time that if I had just visited her more,she would have moved around more and not gotten the clot from sitting so much.I now feel it is a blessing she left before I had to take her rights away from her and hurt both of us.I am a retired nurse and spent the last 8 1/2 yrs of my career in a nursing home.It sounds to me that your mother lived a long,fulfilled life and died peacefully.Those who love their family do feel some guilt when that person has to go into a care facility and if they die they feel even more guilt.She was blessed to have a son like you who loved her.I keep all of us who have lost a loved one in my prayers.GOD send you strength and peace.

Aug 20, 2013
by: Jim

I'm still furious over not saying anything to the nurse, but the fact that she died at 7:00 am in her sleep after the nurse gave her the morning pills is comforting in that she did not die suffering or in a hospital hooked up to tubes and wires. I thinks a clogged artery that was diagnosed 5 years earlier during a stress test before a hip replacement finally closed up and caused her to have a heart attack. Her cardiologist thinks it was a blood clot due to her inability to walk anymore. I messed up this way and only seeing her twice a week for 3 hour visits each instead of adding at least one more visit. Prior to going into the nursing home for 15 months I went to see her every Saturday at my sister's house and took her out for lunch or brought her lunch if she felt like staying in. In the fall I would take her to look at the foliage in the northeast and in winter we would drive around to look at Christmas lights. Whenever she needed anything I would bring it to her. I am a good son, but the last few days of her life I feel like I let her down at the worst time. In was always by her side after surgeries and hospital visits in the emergency room. I should have no regrets, but I do.

Aug 20, 2013
No Regrets Needed
by: Judith in California

Jim, firstly I'm sorry for your loss. Secondly , I want to remind you that we don't know what we don't know. and In your case how would you have known. It's not your fault. Your mom had a long and good life I hope. She would not feel that you were neglectful or a bad son. There are so many things we just are not in control of and we have to learn this at an early age. God is the one in control. He decides when it's our time to go be with him. He gave her 92 years. I'm sure you would not have wanted her to live on and get some terrible painful long suffering disease. Please stop blameing yourself for her death. The nurses told you that it would not have mattered and you must believe them. Be comforted that she is with God and will never have another pain. Go on and live your life as she would have wanted you to. You did the best you could for her.

Aug 18, 2013
by: Anonymous

I lost my mom two months ago after a long and painful illness. I am middle aged, never married and lived with her all of my life. She meant the world to me and I miss her so dearly. We were given no option but to bring her home for hospice care. For five weeks my family and I, with the help of nurses cared for mom at home around the clock. It was a blessing to be able to take care of her and have time to let her know how so very much she meant to all of it. The downside was watching her slip away more and more each day, this woman we all loved so dearly. I got to hold her hand as she took her dying breath, which I hope brought her some comfort. Have no regrets for how you cared for your mother. She knows you loved her deeply and did what you thought was best at the moment. She knows that, believe me.

Aug 17, 2013
by: Jim L

Thanks Doreen, my sister, whom my mother lived with the prior 15 years before she was admitted into the nursing home in 3/12 said my mother had these episiodes of chest pain before and it was a case where my mother would decide whether she wanted to see the doctor or not. The times she did seee the doctor there was nothing the doctor could find that would explain the pain and other times she would say she wanted to wait to see if the pain went away and it did. I asked her before I left after a 3 hour visit and she said she felt a little better, but I will never forgive myself for not letting the nurse know even though I know it would not have mattered according to her doctor. My brother asked my mother a few months ago if she wanted a DNH (do not hospitalize) added to her file at the nursing home and she did. The nurse made it very clear to my mother what it meant and she fully agreed. Up until April my mother could still walk with a walker, but then her knee gave out due to severe arthritis and could no longer walk any distance without severe pain and knee surgery was not an option. She already had poor hearing and macular degeneration that was almost complete blindness towards the end where she could not watch tv, read, etc. and she told me and my sister in law she wanted to die. She hated being lifted by 2 people onto a portable toilet by her chair and being treated like an infant. I can't blame her for wanting to die, I would want to if I was in the same situation. I should have seen her more than twice a week knowing this, but she was such a resilient person I thought she would live at least a few more months minimum. I get no comfort from religion since I truly believe when you die it's the end. I will never get over missing her and the mistakes I made her last few days. Often I hope I die in my sleep as she did.

Aug 17, 2013
Regrets for the rest of my life!
by: Doreen U.K.

Jim I am sorry for your loss of your mother. Your mother had reached an age where procedures would have put more of a strain on her heart, and also the medical profession are now scaling down on their procedures if a patient reaches a certain age. They mostly just make the patient comfortable. I think since your mother did not complain of any pain this is the reason nothing was done. We all live with many REGRETS in our life and many come at the time a loved one passes away. some regrets are normal and will pass in time and just part of grief. Don't waste the rest of your life with regrets as you will limit your own happiness and life. Give yourself time to grieve and realise your mother lived to a good age. My father is 91yrs. and doesn't want to live with such a bad quality of life. Yet my husband of 44yrs. wanted to live and died 15 months ago of terminal cancer. Often life is backwards. Those who are of an age and ready to die don't. Those who want to live end up dying.
My mother died 10yrs. ago at the age of 77yrs. She complained of chest pain and none of us her 6 children picked up on this and she was seeing angels in the night. She died 2 days later. She told my sister who lived locally that she didn't want to bother anyone. She could have been saved had my sister paid more attention to her symptoms and got her to hospital before any real damage was done. But because my mother lived to a good age we were thankful for having with us till at least 77yrs. My husband died at age 65yrs. I still felt I wished my husband had lived longer to enjoy some retirement. Nothing is guaranteed in life except SORROW. We all have to live with this when we keep losing loved ones from our families. don't punish yourself. WE all as a family have had to accept that mistakes are made in life and we can make decisions that crush us with REGRET. But we have to find a way of living with our REGRETS as part of being human limitations.

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