Mama will not be transfused

by voodoo lady 19 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • zoiks

    Welcome, voodoo lady. I am so sorry to hear about your mom. How wonderful that you two have a good relationship! Regardless of her decisions, it will be good for her to have your unconditional love and support.

    I don't agree with some who might want to take the decision-making away from her. She is an adult with the right to decide what she wants. If you can help her to see that transfusions are not evil, then good! Either way, she needs your support. Please keep us posted, and all the best to you and her.

  • voodoo lady
    voodoo lady

    Thank you, everyone, for your compassion and understanding. It's amazing to discover this, and to feel it so overwhelmingly. I'm lucky to have supportive, kind friends, but you guys truly understand and empathise because you've been through it and you've seen it from the inside. Your words feel like treasures to me.

    MTTM, she is indeed one of those who wouldn't consider fractions as she takes "abstain from blood"to be an outright command that shouldn't be disobeyed. I've asked her "aren't you then associating with sinners when fellow JWs do accept fractions?" She tells me it's a matter of conscience. Wouldn't having an affair then be a matter of conscience? Can you have a fraction of an affair?

    I also had a conversation with her the other day about principles versus rules. I've always thought that principles are more important because they guide you through your life, whereas direct rules simply can't be applied to every situation. They don't work that way. Life is flexible and bendy and you can't put a straight rule to every situation and expect it to fit. Of course, I know that's not really the issue. She's been conditioned into her thought and behaviour patterns, and she refuses to see any other perspective. It's so frustrating to not even be able to have a proper conversation with her because the knee-jerk JW-conditioned responses fly out of her mouth and she doesn't actually think before she responds.

    TT, I'm sorry. I can't imagine how awful it must have been for your mother to battle the disease for five harrowing years, and for you to have to see her suffer through it. And to suffer alongside her, which is heartbreaking enough, but becomes even more so because of this doctrine. It is something I'm very afraid of right now - the expanse of time that might wrap my mother up in this illness, and just keep dragging her through it until she's too weak to fight it anymore.

    Baba, I had a read of that thread and it was fascinating. I've been through so many of those things in my mind before. Upon exiting at the age of 15 I still carried a blood card with me. Strangely, it was one of the hardest things for me to let go of. I really don't know why! I think most people (except those with a fetish for blood!) would hope to avoid transfusions if possible. I know I'd much prefer a bloodless alternative if it was available, but obviously if it gets to the point where death is imminent I'd have whatever they'd give me. It's about having the option. And, ironically, it's about precisely what the JW propoganda states - the patient's right to decide for themselves (a good position for them to hide behind). No one else has the right to make that decision. I have no right to decide for my mother, but the GB has no right to decide for her either. She's the only one who can and should decide for herself.

    Freewilly, she's signed all the forms, ticked all the boxes. She is of "sound mind." The oncology team is entirely respectful. They have explained her choice back to her so she knows without a doubt that under no circumstances will they administer blood, even if they predict she will die as a result. I respect them for complying with her wishes, as I do really believe the patient has the right to decide. However, if they knew the way in which this choice has ultimately been made on her behalf instead of by the patient herself, I don't think they'd be as calm about it as they are. From the GB voting in Brooklyn as to what "rights" they will allow their followers to have, through to the day-to-day conditioning that the organisation is their only salvation, this decision is her default response, yet it still comes out of her mouth as her choice. It's easy to respect religious freedom in theory, but once you peer behind the scenes and see ugliness bubbling away, it's very hard to maintain that integrity.

    I can't thank you enough, everybody, for responding, for being there, and for giving me this sense of understanding that I just can't get anywhere else. It was so good to read your opinions and experiences. I'm very happy to know you're out there. Thank you.

  • BabaYaga

    Aw, Voodoo Lady, we are very happy to have you here!

    It makes sense that is the blood issue is the hardest thing to give up, really... we were prepared to DIE for that conviction, no matter what the "logic" or "facts" of the situation might be presented. I was fascinated by that discussion also... I think there are a great many ex-Witnesses who still risk their lives by refusing a transfusion. We are taught to be repulsed by it... taught to think it is an abomination.

    Here's to education and healing!

  • palmtree67

    So sorry to hear of your situation.

    Your mother sounds very much like my grandmother, whom I still have a relationship with even though I am disfellowshipped. I love her dearly, as you obviously love your mother.

    I wish I had something more profound to offer, but all I can offer is my sincerest feelings and my thoughts and prayers for you in the days to come.

    Please keep us posted.

    A hug to you,


    (I was wondering the meaning of Voodoo Lady? New Orleans is my very most favourite city.....)

  • BluesBrother

    Hi to Voodoo Lady and a warm welcome....Thank you for your very well written posts.

    I am sorry to hear of your mother's sickness and of your sadness. I have family also that would take a similar stand to your mother. I now know that the J W teaching on blood is complete B/S although for many years I was a sincere blood-card carrying Witness.

    I have made it plain to family that I would accept it if my life is ever endangered and I can only hope that they would comply with my wishes. By the same token, I have to accept their wishes too. I do accept the principle of "patient autonomy" So if she were ever unconscious and the doctors wanted to transfuse blood, I feel that I must respect her wish and refuse on her behalf. It is hard, but I believe that we must allow people to be who they are .....

    Best wishes for your mother's health

  • sinis

    I am of the complete opposite. If one of my family members refused it, but I had the choice during surgery - due to things going south, I would authorize the giving of blood. yes, it may have not been their wish, but so what! Would you let a person walk through a field, that you know was loaded with mines, but due to their mental darkness believed faith would carry them through? I would rather have my family hate me until death, if my decision granted them a few more years, than to allow dumb ass beliefs to terminate their life immediately... and for what?????? Sometime wise decisions are made by those who can see clearly... the bible is right, the "god" of this system has indeed blinded the minds of the "unbelievers"...

  • moshe

    I posted a topic on the subject of blood transfusions, from a Jewish point of view- good luck. -

  • milola

    VooDoo Lady, sorry for the situation. I would like to give you a heads up on her treatment for the cancer. Please do as much research as possible. My mother had a cancer in her female organs and they treated with chem and radiation. They cured her cancer but the radiation treatment of the pelvic area resulted in burns in colon which within a year started to bleed. She didn't know what it was (she said she thought hemorhoids I think she was afraid colon cancer)and ignored it to the point she had a heart attack with a hemoglobin that eventually dropped to 3.5. She wouldn't take a blood transfusion but fortunately agreed to procrit (a derivitive I think). They sent her home to die but due to the procrit she and a treatment for the burns she has survived. My point has nothing to do with whether she takes blood or not just a heads up to really really research her options and there side effects.

  • rebel8

    Sorry you are going through this.

    I hope you can achieve at least a little peace in the knowledge you have done everything possible to prevent this.

    PS-Awesome quote--I will put that to good use.

  • voodoo lady
    voodoo lady

    Hi guys,

    I've been thinking and worrying about exactly what Blues Brother and sinis have expressed here in their opposite points of view. It's only hypothetical, of course, because my mother has managed to do all her own decision-making re medical treatment, but I've been tormented by what I would do if I were given the chance to decide for her. I said to a friend the other day without hesitation "of course I'd let them give her blood" which was as true as it could have been as the words came out of my mouth, but that same night I found myself sitting bolt upright in bed, sweating, and thinking "would I really?" Would she hate me for the rest of her life? Who knows, but at least she would have a life with which to hate me, which is better than no life at all. Would it be like being "raped" as they're so fond of describing it? Would she feel violated? Would that then cause her a depression? Would she feel ashamed? Worthless? There's no way to know, is there. Her reaction could be the complete opposite, and again, at least it would be a reaction.

    I'm glad I'm unable to make this choice for her.

    At the moment she's having her first dose of chemo. She's been in hospital since her laparoscopy earlier in the week and has been nauseated and ill (before the chemo had even begun) and was so out of it yesterday that she asked me "when are they going to do the big operation?" I had to explain to her that the whole reason they're doing chemo first is because they're concerned with blood loss, so can't do a big op immediately. She said she'd give consent to have it anyway and didn't care what happened, as long as they didn't give her blood. I suppose I vaguely wondered if her mental state might give way to allowing a transfusion, but it's so ingrained that I think it's something that will always remain.

    Thank you again for your support, your kind words, your suggestions, and for just being there. I think I'm holding it all together but every time I write to you guys I feel the tears, which is as lovely as it is painful, so thank you.

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