Minga has now completed a month of dialysis. She is still living with her daughter Ita during most of the week, and getting to a 10pm dialysis appointment on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. Her extended family tries to get her home from Sunday morning until Tuesday afternoon, when she has to be back in the city for that night’s dialysis. She is managing all these changes, because she is not yet done with life.
I reached out to a number of friends who are in my age bracket, or close, to ask what they think of Minga’s shift from “I do not want dialysis” to “I will do what it takes because I want to stay alive” — what we think it says about our own carefully laid plans expressed in health care directives, instructions to our families, etc. I think we all agree that our best thought out intentions are subject to change when we are actually faced with potentially life-ending events.
Who knows what goes into having someone say “I”m ready to let life take its natural course … ready, if that moment has arrived, to die and be at peace about it. ” Clearly Minga has not reached that point. She is still fighting for those moments with her beloved family, which she is still able to enjoy. She’s still fighting to have the comfort of her home, the warmth of her own bed, to sit on her front porch and be greeted by neighbors walking by. She is, she told me, fighting to stay alive to fulfill her promise: that she will be there when I return.
My trip this year is in mid-January, but I’m now attempting to arrange a few days in November when my focus can be just on Minga. That isn’t a reflection of her life taking a turn for the worse, but the reality that I had two huge commitments in September that kept me here, and that October is equally difficult.
Balancing the needs of people I love is never easy. I love Minga, and will get to her side as soon as I can.