I have a Dillema

  1. I am in my senior year in a BSN program. I am holding my own, but have a family dillema that is pressing. My elderly Aunt, who has been a Nurse since WWII has been suffering from advanced bone cancer and was told she is end stage last Friday. I want to continue helping with her care - but she feels that it is distracting from my school efforts. She said that she wants to see me graduate. She simply would not discuss my taking a leave of absence to care for her and insists I stay on degree track and finish as soon as possible - to keep my eye on the main chance. I am torn - she helped me a great deal with my wife and daughter 6 years ago when they were both critically ill - and I feel I owe her a great debt. I would like to pay her wonderful care back in kind - but the clock is ticking. I would embrace opinions as to how best to handle this situation and keep things flowing smoothly (peace) in the family. Thanks.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   clee1
    To me, it is really very simple.

    Your Aunt has stated that what she desires most from you is to see you graduate.

    I know you feel a debt to her; fine. She has stated that she wishes the debt to be paid by seeing you graduate.

    As a career nurse, she knows that by finishing your program, you will help so many more people than just her; and if you get sidetracked now, there is no guarantee that you'll ever finish it at all.

    She is end-stage, and she knows well what that means. She is likely considering that you graduating and becoming a nurse is part of her own legacy - don't rob her of that.

    God bless and keep you, friend.
  4. by   TazziRN
    I'm so sorry your aunt and your family are going through this.

    I did not read the other response but it sounds to me that she has told you how you can best grant her wishes: graduate. That's the best way that you can honor her and honor her wishes.
  5. by   traumaRUs
    What a wonderful nephew you are - to want to continue to care for your dear Aunt. What about continuing on with your studies and then seeing her when you can? It seems as though that is what she wants.
  6. by   Sylv
    Quote from traumaRUs
    What a wonderful nephew you are - to want to continue to care for your dear Aunt. What about continuing on with your studies and then seeing her when you can? It seems as though that is what she wants.

    I agree.
  7. by   Daytonite
    My mom died recently of metastatic lung cancer. Didn't want anyone fussing over her. I was constantly awed over my life at the sacrifices my mother would make so we kids would have things we wanted. To her, that was just part of her duty and obligation as a mother. No questions about it. No complaints from her about it--ever. This was just part of her personality. She was a nurse too. It sounds like your Aunt might be cut from the same cloth. My mom was content to be at home to just have life continue around her in a normal fashion, except, of course, for some of the special care that she needed. And, that's the way we kept it. If I were you, I would respect your Aunt's wishes. Continue with nursing school. Spend as much time as you can with her without sacrificing your study time or grades.
  8. by   leslie :-D
    i agree, continue w/school.
    she sounds very sincere in her request.
    when you visit w/her, you can talk about your classes, clinical, you know, nsg stuff.
    this will make her extremely proud of you.
    i'm sure she is already.

    with peace,

    leslie
  9. by   Sonn
    I empathise with your dilemma. I have also been in your position, I was the primary carer for a dying relative. I got to a point where I found I was unable to do everything and had to reevaluate how to care best for my relative. I reassessed my position and appointed myself as the "case manager". In this way I was able to organise other nurses to help with palliative care needs and activities of daily living. This enabled me to have input in care planning without me becoming burnt out trying to do it all. I had more quality time with my relative, participated with choices to provide the best care possible, had a wonderful nursing support and had time to attend to my own life matters.
    Do not try to do all the nursing care for her yourself or you will not graduate. Maybe you could talk to her and say that you would like to be informed of her care planning. This would also help keep you in the loop and can be as easy as a couple of phone calls a week and then when you see her you can have a quality time informing her about how your studies are going.
    My very best wishes to you.
  10. by   traumaRUs
    You know, when you think about it - isn't this what we would want too?
    To know that we influenced someone else to become a nurse?
  11. by   Multicollinearity
    Bless your heart. I too, think you need to respect her wishes and graduate. This is so difficult.

    I have a dear loved one whose condition I'm afraid could advance when I'm completing my BSN. I've run the scenerios...leave of absense, etc. I know that my dear one will say what your aunt has said. We have to respect their wishes. It does feel like your heart is in agony though, doesn't it?
  12. by   Elisheva
    She's asking you for what she needs and wants. I know it's difficult, but it sounds as though she has thought it through and is very sincere. She sounds like a nurse, and one heck of a lady.
  13. by   Otessa
    Your Aunt has stated that what she desires most from you is to see you graduate.


    Please LISTEN to your Aunt-the greatest joy you can give her right now is to NOT change what you are doing--continue with your education and KNOW that it is her greatest wish.
  14. by   KellieNurse06
    Agree with what everyone else has mentioned here.....maybe your aunt wants to see you graduate before she is done with what she needs to do here.......I would honor her wishes and continue on.......maybe you can help her when you are not in school.....even just sitting with her for a meal or a coffee .
    My uncle is dying of lung cancer as we speak....he was in the hospital & needed a shave very badly....and I was the one he wanted to do it...not even my aunt , his wife is who he wanted. You know after I did that one little thing for him you would of thought I gave him a million bucks..........and that is at least one thing I will always carry with me when he is gone......
    so take heart and just go on like your aunt wishes.......because that right there says how very very proud of you she is............. Happy soon to be graduate!:mortarboard:

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