Originally Posted by Brat
There is, IMHO, a deeply imbeded 'spirit' (if you want to call it that) which can shut the body down. When that 'spirit' says it is time to move on, the time has come. That 'spirit' cannot overcome overwhelming disease or injury but can make the difference at a tipping point.
I say it is time to consider that the healing your MIL needs is emotional, that which you would want at the end of life. Were I in her shoes I would be scared of the unknown that she is facing.
I agree from what I observed in both my parents toward the end of their lives. Both knew that they were in declining health for several years but at the end, within a few months, each began to acknowledge that the end was near, especially when the decline in their bodies accelerated.
But oddly, in my dad's case he alternated between acknowledging his decline and denial, saying that he thought he was going to "beat it," and this was after he had just had surgery to implant a pacemaker.
Anyway, beyond all this, I believe that it's time in our society that we all acknowledge that end of life care in this country is really doing more harm than good. If our medical doctors could come to some kind of consensus on palliative care for the aged, the situation would be much alleviated for the elderly and their caregivers.
For example, in the case of my father, is it really a best practice to provide a pace maker for a 86 yr old man in poor health with advanced heart disease? After recieving the pacemaker, he died of heart failure three months later. When I was at his house, clearing out the bathroom, you would not BELIEVE the numbers of prescription medications he had been taking over the years. I filled bags with the stuff. I had to assume that he stopped taking some of them. But who knows?
I realize that this issue is difficult but I also think that death is such a taboo subject in our culture that we are making the whole dying process much worse than it need be.