LYNDA HIRSCH ON TELEVISION -- GOSSIP

By Lynda Hirsch

January 25, 2020 5 min read

Soaps can be entertaining, informative, titillating. At times, they can be melancholy when dealing with an experience that may have touched a viewer's life.

"General Hospital" is having that effect on me with Mike's Alzheimer's downhill spiral.

Sonny has accepted his father's diagnosis but will do anything to stop its progression. While my mom, Rose, did not have that ailment, she was in a coma for almost a year. Having suffered a brain stem stroke, she was unable to walk, talk, be on her own for long or eat solid food for months.

Just like Sonny, I was determined to find anything to bring her out of the coma. Sonny is looking at an experimental treatment that might stop the progression or even cure it.

Carly is telling him to just let Mike go. I was told to do that with my mother.

The day she went into the hospital, I was hounded by doctors to take her off life support. No way. I knew she would fight until she had no fight left. The doctors suggested they stop all her antibiotics. Her infection would then get out of control and she would die of a fulminating germ. They said it would take days. I said nope. It would be so painful.

When I could no longer take the browbeating, I told the staff it was against my religion. My religion at the time was "the temple of Rose." Rose had become the focal point of my life.

Every treatment was worth a try. Coma arousal therapy: I flew her in a private plane to Long Island. It did not help. I tried a treatment that was guaranteed to wake her up; it did not. However, after several weeks of the procedure, she could lift her head. Before it was flopping over on her chest. I even tried things that I knew were nutty. One was where a guy would shine a light in her eyes and say a magic incantation. I think it went like this, "I will take your money for something that will not work.

The doctor in Long Island told me to get her off the feeding tube and not restrict her body movement. He felt the more things she did on her own, the more she would respond. The day she moved her hand was the happiest day in my life, I thought that movement meant one day she would dance. I was wrong.

After she was in the hospital and rehab, I decided to take her home. She turned her head in my direction — the most movement she'd made yet and said in a raspy voice "home."

At home, our cat, Spike, sat on her bed and looked at and licked her. I made sure that there were aromas she had enjoyed and that she got lots of exercise so her limbs would not atrophy. Gone were the diapers. She eventually learned to wait until taken to the bathroom. She was fed banana pudding and any other soft food she enjoyed before the coma.

Sadly, she never came out of the coma. Every move or sound she made caused my heart to sing.

She coded three times in one hour. It was time to let her go. I told her I loved her, and she could be with my father. I would miss her something fierce, but it was OK if she wanted to say goodbye. A single tear streamed on her face.

Over the years, I have wondered did I do the right thing. Not by letting her go, but by doing so much to make her my Rose again.

Was I right to try so many things to get her out of the coma? Sonny is having a similar dilemma. Does he do everything thing he can for Mike, no matter how wild it seems? Or does he let Mike just be? Anyone who has ever had that happen to a loved one will know the pain of Sonny's problems. On a brighter note, my best friend's son had a skiing accident. He was in a coma for months. She asked what to do. I told her to give him a week for every life he had lived. Flash-forward, he came out of it. It took several months, but he is now a CPA.

As for Sonny's issue, every time I watch, it is a Sophie's choice moment.

To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Parentingupstream at Pixabay

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