Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 8:50 am . By Dr Joy .


I was recently in Denver dealing with my mom. I don’t usually divulge my personal life, one because I am here for you, and two because I’m sort of a private person… in spite of what I do for a living but I felt like sharing this story because it seems so relevant and important. My mom is getting on and years and I had to fly out unexpectedly about 6 weeks ago because it looked like she wasn’t going to survive. She had an operation she shouldn’t have and I got a call that Sunday night saying you better get down here. I have a large family and there was a big meeting, mom was on life support, restrained and everything was chaotic and quite terrifying for the family.

I’m my mother’s oldest child, so I know her, we have always had that special bond. That night, I woke up in a cold sweat and decided to visit her. Everyone in my family including me is a bit claustrophobic and I empathized with what was going on when I saw her. My mom had continually tried to pull her tube out, so they were restraining her. So I went over, very early in the morning and took her restraints off. She immediately began to try and take the tube out that was helping her breathe. I took her hand and said “Mom if you take that tube out, you won’t be able to breathe and you are going to die. Are you ready to die?” and she said “no” and she took her hands away. All of a sudden her heart rate went back to normal and breathing returned to normal and she got well. To the extent where, two weeks ago she was back up and on the go, stealing other peoples newspapers because hers weren’t delivered. From ICU to stealing neighbors newspapers in a month. Yay!

I told her I would visit her and help sort her life out when she got well. I went and cleaned her old place. My family continually lectured me about old people not wanting to make decisions. My answer to that was, just because you are old doesn’t mean you are a numbskull. I treat my mom as the competent person she is. She needed to make decisions about where she wanted to stay. My mom, a known pack rat, had a home that looked like it was straight off the TV series. I cleaned it and she was able to see a floor she hadn’t seen in years. She was grateful but still had some decisions to make about whether she wanted to stay. She said “I can’t make all these decisions” and I said “Mom there are never more than 2 choices in any decision” You look at “A” and compare it to “B” and which do you prefer A or B? If you choose “A”, “B” goes away forever. Then you take A and Compare it to “C” …uhhh I still like “A” ok then “C” goes away. I don’t care if you have 100 choices you always start with a pair. Making decisions is always about “A”& “B”. All of us can make a decision between 2 things. If you are making decisions in any other way you are going to be confused and unhappy. If you try to compare “A” to , “B” thru “Z” it’s not going to work.

So I told her that and she did a wonderful job! Not only did she make good decisions she was thrilled to do it! Do you want to live here or here? Do you want the red couch or blue? I made no decisions for her; I did make suggestions while we were shopping for beds. There was this wonderful canopy bed for 100 bucks, I was in love with it, It was perfect! You should have seen it! Mom turned to me and said “uhh I don’t like it, I like this one better.” She dropped my “B” and took her “A” home with her. Go Mom! I think I created a decision monster and I love it and her!