Saturday, August 15, 2009

Living in a hospital

I wonder if Danny (or his brother) have ever been a hospital patient?
So I'm in Toronto visiting my mother. She's still in ICU, in fact, she has been in ICU longer than any other patient at the hospital. The real problem is her breathing- she can't do it on her own. Doctors gave us the bad news a little while ago that because she can't breathe on her own... she'll never leave the hospital. They said never, and they are probably right, but they might also be wrong. I'm obviously hoping they are wrong.

Currently she's on 50% assist, and 50% breathing on her own. She's in a hospital, so inevitably she had to battle infection after infection, because being in a hospital for an extended period of time is a surefire way to get sick.

We had a recent scare. One where the doctors wanted to have that "talk" with us. She was diagnosed with double pneumonia which they deemed was 100% fatal. They asked us if we wanted them to treat the pneumonia, or instead, "let her go." That's just brutal. Ick. I hate being in that spot, but me and my brother are on the same page all the way through this which is great. No arguing, no bickering, we both know our mother well and what she would want.

Hospital living is a very unpleasant way to spend your life.

I understand Danny's hesintacy to make the kind of important decisions that have to be made regarding his mother's care, but he's wrong if he thinks he really knows what she wants. Even his terminology ("what she would want" instead of "what she wants") suggests her current quality of life is something below acceptable.

It's a really sad situation and I'm glad my father didn't put others in the situation Danny is in -- my father was able to make his own decision when he was dying of cancer and just checked himself out of the hospital and went home, to die at home with his wife.

This sort of thing is why the end of life counseling that was in the house bill for health care is so important -- people need to think about DNR orders and Living Wills when they are well and able to communicate so that their loved ones aren't put in impossible situations later.

If you want your life prolonged no matter what then just say so clearly up front, before something happens that makes it imppossible for you to express your wishes.

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