In the Senior Center the people with the red dot on their name tags are "Do not resuscitate". I thought it was odd to have that information right out there in the open with the orange dots for diabetic and the blue dot for special diet. I know I would want to be a red dot person. Please no extraordinary measures need to be used to save my life.
It is not clearly defined even in a living will what No Code means. That means no feeding tube in some situations and in others it would allow a feeding tube. Just so you know, no feeding tube for me. It would be that you could use oxygen at the end for comfort but no paddles with electric shocks going thru them to get my heart started. Unless of course I was young and fit and having a quickie stroke. Then shock me. But if I am old and feeble please don't give me the treatment and hope that I live. I want to die at peace. A firewoman I know told of doing CPR on an older woman and breaking her ribs.
I told an old friend that I denied the upsidedown bed to my last boyfriend. click here to read blog post He said he would have wanted the upsidedown bed. I believe that no extraordinary measures means just that. I tried hard to cancel the upsidedown bed for my boyfriend but they insisted until he had a grand mal seizure when they tried to put him in it and I had to face down the doctor and tell him to stop. Just stop. Apparently upsidedown beds are not part of the no code regime. If my boyfriend heard me pleading for them to leave him alone I don't know if he would have wanted the upsidedown bed. I was in charge of him after he was hooked to the respirator and I choose No Code. Looking back on the whole situation he is probably in hell wishing I had let them try the bed. For those of you who don't know it is a bed where you hang facing the floor for up to a day so the lungs can fill with air better. They had already told me that his liver was so damaged no treatment would probably cure him.
Somewhere I got a healthy dose of bravado in my system. I do not like the idea of extraordinary measures. I think young people should be saved as well as possible but I also hate to see severely disabled people who have been saved and are struggling. It is a fine line we all walk. In a nanosecond your life can change and you can be hooked up to a machine and at the mercy of family and staff.
To love someone is to want them not to suffer. But the smile of a developmentally disabled boy who was saved at the last minute with oxygen during a difficult birth is priceless. So for those moments you do extraordinary things. I do believe in abortion. I cannot fathom why someone would want to bring a baby into the world that is not wanted. I know there are those special smiles and that babies are precious but I believe that a woman should be able to choose to have a baby or not. Extraordinary measures can also be defined as choosing an abortion to end a life.
A nurse told me she had a ten page document drawn up by a lawyer to define exactly what she wanted and did not want in case she was incapacitated at the end of her life. There are living wills that can be signed and you should have a copy on your refrigerator because if the ambulance crew does not see it or know about it they will administer extraordinary measures on you in the ambulance and you may be in a vegetative state for the next ten years.
To love someone so much or to love yourself so much that you would want them to do anything and everything to save life must be a great feeling. I do not have that feeling. I guess with my daughters and granddaughter I might think differently if I had to make decisions while they were young. I know the medical staff takes an oath to do no harm but that is a tricky measure. As my mother at 94 struggles with life and death she gets fearful. We all do. But we are brave enough to say no extraordinary life saving procedures for us. I don't know if I trust her to keep that promise for me. I know my daughters would be more able to pull the plug than my mother.
Maybe my deceased boyfriend could have been saved and with me right now incommunicative with an oxygen tank at his side. I know as I mourned his loss I cried out for him to come back home and I would take care of him. What was I thinking? He was an alcoholic and big trouble. It was time for him to go. If my other friend does not trust me to help him at the end of his life then he probably doesn't trust me to help him in the middle of it either. He is probably wise to trust his daughter instead.
Do not resuscitate means no CPR. Just hold the person and let them fade away naturally. If the ambulance comes be sure they know not to bring them back. If you want to come back and you have no directives they can bring you back nowdays in most cases. In a nursing home once they told me they were just waiting for a bug big enough to come by and take our friend out. At 96 he was so ornery he was not cooperating with care and ended up strapped to his bed. He bit my mom when she tried to feed him. He finally went after a year in restraints. I'm sure the staff was happy he was a no code.
The last moments of death can be dramatic. Shaking, spitting, thrashing, moaning. Sometimes a wet sponge is all the comfort you can give for a dry mouth and the drugs being pumped into your veins should keep you nice and numb. Those words that are exchanged at the last moment are very important. It is sad when they are drug addled but I would rather have the drugs and be at peace. If I haven't said what I needed to say by then I don't want to be dragged back from nirvana to say it.