Sunday, August 21, 2005

One thing I like to do when I've gone online is listen to the BBC World Service. It's available on the internet, fortunately, because they no longer broadcast to North America via shortwave radio. (I'm STILL steamed over that, and they dropped the broadcasts four years ago. Don't get me started.)

I caught the latest episode of their radio soap opera, West Way. A character in the program who is terminally ill was talked to by a palliative care team in the medical center that is the focal point for the program. This, unfortunately, brought my thoughts back to a situation I haven't wanted to think a lot about.

There is, on my dad's side of the family, a senior citizen cousin who was recently diagnosed with kidney failure. She has refused dialysis.

I do believe that she has every right to accept or reject treatment as she sees fit. But I also know what the result of refusing dialysis will be. It means we will lose her sooner, rather than later.

The family has discussed things like hospice care, but as of a couple weeks ago, a final decision had not been reached.

It saddens me. We just lost my uncle a few months ago. And now I know that unless my cousin decides otherwise, we will lose her to kidney failure. I don't know what the prognosis is, or how long she'll be able to get by without treatment like dialysis. But the writing is on the wall. I wish I could erase it. :o(

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