The Gift of an AHCD

Rita FriesMy Grandmother Rita Fries was one of the most amazing ladies I have ever known, she lived an amazing life in her 91 years.  She was the mother of 6 children and too many grandchildren and great grandchildren to count.  She and my grandfather had a long happy life together and were amazing role models.  She is the kind of person that I try to live my life like, since she was totally family centered; she loved spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  I was lucky enough to always live close enough to her and my Grandfather that I could spend as much time with them as I wanted to growing up and that is a special gift that I will always cherish.     

My grandmother lived on her own after my Grandfather passed away in 2005 for several years.  She and her little dog Beeper moved in with my parents Ken and Barbara Myers in September of 2010 when she fell and broke her wrist and needed help with everyday activities.  She stayed with my parents after her wrist healed since she continued to need help.

Rita with some of her great-grandhildrenWhile living with my parents my siblings and I were so lucky that our kids not only got to visit with their Grandparents, but with their Great Grandmother as well.  Since I am the only one of my siblings that stayed in the Bolivar area, my sons got to know Great Grammy (as they called her) very well.  My son Samuel loved to listen to her tell stories about when she was a young girl in Canada.  She would tell him about the good times and the hard times of growing up in the depression and leaving Canada to move to New Mexico and then eventually Missouri.

When she became ill with pneumonia and admitted to the ICU at CMH on October 28, 2012 I didn’t know how important an Advance Healthcare Directive would be.  When I left the first evening that she was admitted, she appeared to be responding to the medications well, but sometime during the night she took a turn for the worse.  We sat by her side in the ICU for about a week.  In conversation between my Mom, her youngest brother, and I, we realized that she had an Advance Health Care Directive on file with CMH.  I spoke with the ICU nurse about it and he printed us a copy of the scanned document from her chart. 

When we realized that she had put her wishes in place in 1994 after she fell and broke her hip, we realized at that point that the decisions were no longer ours.  She had given us the biggest gift years before we needed it, that she could have given us, and plainly had her wishes on plainly on paper, and left no guessing or doubting for us. 

On November 3, 2012 we had her transferred to CMHCF for Hospice care.  I can’t say enough good things about the staff in the ICU and the staff at CMHCF.  They were so concerned and caring for my Grandma’s comfort, but they took care of our family like we were their own family.  My Grandmother passed away on November 8, 2012 surrounded by her family, and as comfortable as possible.  Even though it was a difficult time for our family, we know we followed her wishes since she gave us the gift of an Advance Health Care Directive.

Visit full CMH site