In March of 2011, she fell. She had become increasingly unsteady on her feet. At the nursing home they put her bed near the floor, and they attached an alarm to her wheelchair. However, she still had incidences of falling because she couldn't remember that she was no longer able to walk without help and because the staff could not always get to her quickly.
When she fell this final time, she broke her hip and was sent to the hospital. They wanted to do surgery. I wanted to talk to the surgeon to determine if surgery was in her best interests. He told me that without surgery she would most likely be dead within a few months. I told him I wanted to think about it for a day. My concern was that she would be stressed and confused, and I wasn't sure it would be worth it.
I didn't go to my mom because I had been there in December, January, and February. When I left there the last time I had gone to Florida for a few weeks, and the morning she broke her hip was the morning I was leaving Florida to go home. I thought about changing my flight to go to see her but decided to go home instead.
By the time I talked to the surgeon, I was already home. I mulled over the options and spoke with a friend who is a nurse and decided to give the hospital the go-ahead to operate.
The surgery went well, and the next day she started physical therapy. The day after that they called me to tell me she had died. I was utterly shocked. She had been doing so well.
Friends I talked to later said that she had probably had an embolism, that it wasn't uncommon in a case like hers.
Because she was DNR, they did not try to save her.
I regret that I wasn't there with her. Do I regret that she was DNR? No. She had started having more and more distress in her life because of the dementia, and although I wish I could have had her around a while longer, I hated to see her suffering.
The dementia is no longer such a large part of my memories of her. I've started remembering how she was before the dementia, and those are better memories. I miss her.