Having just passed Father’s Day, I had recent occasion to pull out Ken Gallinger’s “Ethically Speaking” advice column from the Toronto Star newspaper of Saturday, May 24, 2014. The title is: No ‘obligation’ to donate kidney to ailing dad.
In essence, the children of an 83-year-old father with kidney disease who must undergo dialysis are inquiring whether they have a moral obligation to donate an organ, assuming there’s a match. Yes, Dad has asked and pretty much expects said offering. Age-wise, his children are in their prime.
Wisely, Gallinger concedes it’s a tough situation – morally and otherwise.
Along with considering the father’s poor health and the unknown long-term prognosis for those who’ve lost a kidney, the columnist suggests obtaining a private honest appraisal from Dad’s doctor. To what extent would a transplant significantly improve his health in terms of quality and life expectancy, for instance? The advice is to ask hard questions. I agree.
That got me contemplating what I would have done in a similar scenario. The following three insights arose.
Determine Your Bottom Line
I concur with Ken in describing as “sad” a man who has lived for 83 years and who can’t say, “It’s been a great ride. Now it’s time to pass the torch to my kids and grandkids.” Those of you fortunate to have an easy ride with your aging parents may mutter under your breath that only a horrible child could possibly refuse such a “perfectly-understandable” request. Why wouldn’t you willingly give over everything you have to one who brought you into this world?
Establish Some Boundaries
Allow me to share the truth of those with Un-cope-able Parents. Whether in their actual presence or merely directing energy their way from a distance, impossible elders will (happily and unconsciously) siphon off your entire physical, emotional and mental stamina. That is, if you let them. Ah, there’s the rub. If you don’t find some mechanisms to fend off their ridiculous and self-righteous demands, it’s truly a matter of life or death – yours or theirs.
You are NOT Selfish!
Undoubtedly, the 52-year-old single Mom feeling “fulfilled” (graphically) cleaning out her father’s colostomy bag would probably find my words harsh. You know something? I don’t actually mind how often I beseech adult caregivers of exceptionally difficult parents: You are NOT selfish to feel how YOU do!!! No one will strike you dead over your sense of burdened resentment!
First Walk in Your Shoes, Right?
Tell me it isn’t so. Have you ever questioned who will last longer – you or your folks? I know I often feared my 89-year-old father would survive me at 54 during the height of my despair.
If you want to learn the Reiki energy healing techniques I used to put up shields and hold my father’s (sometimes) deplorable attitudes and actions at bay please download your Eldercare Rescue Guide at www.copingwithuncopeableparents.com TODAY. I’m also only a call away at (905) 822-2503 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.