Driving Miss Norma

by Wendy
(www.retirement-online.com)

Miss Norma and Her son, Tim

Miss Norma and Her son, Tim

This story is from the Driving Miss Norma Facebook page. What an inspirational story! I love it and just had to share with readers too! WOW! Wendy


THE STORY:

For many years Norma and Leo would listen to Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" at lunch time in their humble home in northern Michigan. Now, this is the rest of her story...

During the same two-week period, her husband, Leo, was dying, Norma, was traveling through her own medical maze.

Having some blood detected in her urine during a routine exam, she was sent for an ultrasound, then another. The day after Leo was admitted to Hospice we learned that she had a large, likely cancerous mass on her uterus. Two days after Leo died we found ourselves sitting in an OB/GYN office talking about treatment options.

You know the drill: surgery, then radiation and chemo in some order. When the doctor was finished he asked her how she would like to proceed.

A tiny woman at 101 pounds and under five-feet tall, an exhausted Norma looked the young doctor dead in the eye and with the strongest voice she could muster, said, “I’m 90-years-old, I’m hitting the road.”

The doc and the confused first-day medical student who was shadowing him looked at Tim (her son) and me (her daughter-in-law, Ramie) for some clarification.

We had had time to talk to Norma beforehand about the likelihood that there would be some bad news coming from the doctor. She made it VERY clear to us that she had no interest in any treatment. We “got it” and were in complete support of her decision.

But what next? We couldn’t imagine leaving her in a nursing home, especially after walking down the long halls of the local Tender Care to visit Leo in the last room on the right, reserved by Hospice, for the dying. No way. There is also no way she could live at home alone without Leo. They were truly a well-oiled team of 67 years.

Having recently read Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (please put this on your reading list) our best idea was to take her on the road with us. Norma currently is not in pain, her mind is sharp, she loves to travel, and she is remarkably easy to be around.

We explained to the well-meaning doctor and his student that we live in an RV and that we will be taking her wherever she wants to go. He didn’t hesitate to say, “RIGHT ON!” We asked if he thought us irresponsible for this approach. His reply was telling.

Follow her travels on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/DrivingMissNorma/

Huge Kudos to TIM, Miss Norma's son, the RV Driver and Tour Guide.... he took on a huge challenge, but is probably loving every moment with his Mother, and her smiles!

Comments for Driving Miss Norma

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LOVE IT!
by: NORMA G. CYR MTL CANADA

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL VERY TOUCHING STORY. MY LATE HUSBAND HAD CANCER. HE LIVED ALMOST NINE YEARS WITH SOMETIMES PAINS. BUT iT NEVER STOPPED HIM FROM WORKING, AND ENJOYING LIFE. UNTIL THE LAST YEAR WHEN HE DECIDED TO GO FOR AN OPERATION, THAT KEPT HIM IN BED AT THE HOSPITAL FOR NINE MONTHS WHERE HE DIED AFTER A FEW DAYS AFTER THE DOCTOR TOLD HIM HE COULD DO NO MORE FOR HIM.

Miss Norma
by: Elna Nugent, MA

I love this story, Driving Miss Norma.

My husband had terminal cancer but after three weeks of it refused chemo. He had to have two operations but lived just short of ten years after diagnosis--far longer than anyone could believe.
One of his many doctors looked as if he saw a ghost when we came in to have him checked--he was so in shock that he was still alive.

Although he eventually had vascular dimentia , and celiac disease -- he never complained and we were able to keep him home where he loved to be. There were difficulties of course, but we could deal with them because he was never in any pain.

Blessings to you all,
Elna


Kudos
by: Donna, Augusta, Mo

What a huge gift to give to someone in their dying days. It is selfless and so very thoughtful.

When I think of my own mother may she RIP since 2000 I always remember her telling me through the years that she did not want to prolong her life and when the time came she would be at peace to meet her Maker.

When I had to make the decision post stroke and she could not speak for herself , I was at peace remembering what she told me.

I was an RN and was so happy that my mother was so open with her discussions on life and death with my brother and myself.

I would encourage everyone if you have not had these discussions with your loved ones do it now and get a living will. I saw so many family members make agonizing decisions what to do with their loved ones. Some made the decision to keep them alive at all costs. What a shame for all to not know or if they did know not follow their loved ones advice.

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