Mild stroke led to mother's forced starvation
By Kate Kelly, edited by Margaret Dore.
I watched an old woman die of hunger and thirst. She had Alzheimer's, this old woman, and was child-like, trusting, vulnerable, with a child's delight at treats of chocolate and ice cream, and a child's fear and frustration when tired or ill.
I watched her die for six days and nights.
I watched her suffer, and I listened to the medical practitioners, to a son who legally decided her fate, and to an eldest daughter who advised him and told me that the old woman, my mother, was "comfortable," except when she was "in distress," at which times the nurses medicated her to make her "comfortable" again.
I watched the old woman develop ulcerations inside her mouth as she became more and more dehydrated; the caregivers assured me these were not painful.
I listened to her breathing become more and more laboured, as her lungs became congested from the morphine administered every three to four hours, and later every hour.