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Thread: Is this the hill you want to die on?

  1. #1
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    Default Is this the hill you want to die on?

    You might want to take a closer look. Filling out advanced directives is some what like designing firewalls. We have read of all the modern medical horror stories. "Nope, don't want that to happen to me." So we make choices we hope will lead us to a golden, untroubled old age. Because we're looking at all the recognized diseases and disease states.

    But take a closer look at the conditions you've set on you healthcare. A checkbox-item is non-negotiable. DNR means 'just let me die." The docs will look at that, and say, "OK.' You're dead. DO NOT INTUBATE means just that. If something has happened where intubation lies on the critical path of healing, you're very likely going to die.

    What we don't take into account are the nasty little "flash-bangs" that pop up from out of the blue. These are the events that test the well-being of our advanced directive.

    Last month, on my birthday, I celebrated with dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant. That was the moment a benign lymphoid tumor at the base of my esophagus chose to come apart. Every delicious bite of dinner ended up being ejected out onto the side of my left lung.

    Fortunately, one of our finest surgeons was on duty that night. I vaguely recall the ambulance ride to the hospital. On arrival at the ER, I was such a hot item every body wanted a part of me. One person pulling my left shoe off, another on the right shoe. Shirt and pants were whisked away before I had a chance to realize it. As a nurse was slamming the sedative into me, some one was slamming a hard cattle prod against my side. "My God-Daughter had told me that this would be a trochar." Then a second push, and I'm trying to cooperate by sliding as far as I can against the side of the gurney. I finally give full cooperation, screaming in agony as the trochar penetrates my thoracic cavity.

    That's the last thing I remember of that night. Sometime Saturday morning, the nursing staff brightens my day with the knowledge that I am still alive and comfortably numb. And fully intubated for three days, only mildly sedated.

    They kept me in ICU for 4 days, and released me late Friday two weeks after my birthday.

    Esophageal Perforation had not been on my radar. Had I been a bit more careless in the formulation of my A.D., This would very easily have been the hill I died on. "But, I didn't mean this time, this hill, can we negotiate?"
    “Aren’t you supposed to be the gentlemen who lie for the good of their country?”
    “That’s diplomats. We’re not gentlemen.”
    “So you lie to save your hides.”
    That’s politicians. Different game entirely.”

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Painful cautionary tale. Thanks, we need to update ours.

    Glad you are on the mend.
    Steve Martinsen

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    That was a nasty birthday surprise. I hope they got it all sorted out and you enjoy good health.
    Most DNR's are preceded with a statement such as "If my quality of life will be crap and I have no real chance of
    recovery, do not use excessive means to prolong my life." That would include intubation.
    I'd think a physician in your case would read the order, Do Not Intubate, and not just pull the plug.
    Just about every surgery done requires intubation just to be on the safe side.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Good to see that you can still post on here.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Wow!

    Glad you are ok.

    Going to check the language of mine this morning.

    edit-though the doc/hospital don’t know about your directive to physicians until you give it to them. Gives the spouse some discretion.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Glad you made it.

    Seems like if you're needing resuscitating, you're not suffering. These DNR's must have other purposes. Like, not making your estate insolvent?
    If Russia wins, there will be no Ukraine; if Ukraine wins, there will be a new Russia.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    It seems to me that a problem is relying on an order that's too vague or general. How difficult would it be, and would it be worthwhile, to try to anticipate very specifically, the medical or emergency situation a person would want the directive to apply to. Would it likely be pointless to enumerate the possibilities, such as 'if I have a stroke and can't move my legs or speak,' or 'if my limbs come off in a wreck,' or some other specific thing one might not want to survive, and so would be better off conceding so that one's organs might be harvested and the loved ones possible guilt assuaged?

    'Dear fire-fighters, if you answer the call and find my house is on fire, don't bother trying to put it out to save it if it's really involved and trying would be very risky, but save the neighbor's, but if it's not too bad let me or Bob run in to save the photo albums, or to check if the dog made it out.'

    FWIW, my Wife and I are currently re-evaluating and possibly updating ours.

    'My organs are prolly already shot anyway, so donate my corpse, such as it is, to the FBIs school of forensic science, and let it lie to decompose in some test field for later evaluation. And set it out there under a full moon, and if it's possible, have someone on the team swing a cat while the process is being carried out, because, after all, it's better to have all the bases covered as it were. Thank you, your humble servant, and get off my lawn.'


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    Gives the spouse some discretion.
    oh ****!
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    My father died from a heart attack at home. He was ill and probably didn't have much time left anyway.
    When the EMT's arrived, my mom was waiting at the door with my father's DNR.
    When my mother finally went downhill at age 96 and no longer able to speak or make decisions, we knew she had a DNR but could not find it. She passed soon after of natural causes and the doctors made no crazy efforts to keep her alive.

    Note to all: Make a list of all documents, investments, wills, etc. etc. and make sure your loved ones know where that list it located. Better yet, give them each a copy.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    I am the Health Care Proxy for my younger brother and can legally make life and death decisions for him if he is unable.
    I am also an heir.
    It will all depend on the status of his stock portfolio that day on whether I pull the plug or not.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I am the Health Care Proxy for my younger brother and can legally make life and death decisions for him if he is unable.
    I am also an heir.
    It will all depend on the status of his stock portfolio that day on whether I pull the plug or not.
    Hey! Didn't occur to me to check the market before pulling the plug...
    But I do have a relative worth upwards of 600M so need to see my status..

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
    But I do have a relative worth upwards of 600M ..
    Well aren't you just a special thing ??

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    I put it entirely to my medical proxy: my brother. We share values about the life worth living or worth leaving.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandtown View Post
    Well aren't you just a special thing ??
    Not really, do you have a chip?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones;[URL="tel:6721480"
    6721480[/URL]]

    Note to all: Make a list of all documents, investments, wills, etc. etc. and make sure your loved ones know where that list it located. Better yet, give them each a copy.
    Can also scan and email to all as pdf. Can be handy if in the hospital or away.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Is this the hill you want to die on?

    When my wife ended up in the hospital after her fall, the staff there was quite thorough in their explanations.

    She had multiple fractures in her pelvis, which would mean an incredibly painful healing process. They also pointed out that the fall she had would NOT have done this damage if the bones themselves didn't have a problem, which they suggested was probably some form of cancer.

    Like my mom, my wife had one coherent day, but it was only one day. No matter how gentle the nurses were, she'd scream in pain as they changed her bedding. She had been getting weaker and weaker for the four months prior, and she was becoming disoriented more frequently.

    Ultimately, it was my decision, based on here advanced directive. My daughters and I, and my granddaughter, all agreed it was time to keep her from pain and let her go.

    One thing is certain for all of us; one day we'll die. At some point it is necessary to consider what the chance of recovery is and what that recovery might look like.

    I know I'll die one day. That doesn't scare me. Losing my mobility or my mind scares me. We cannot prevent death. We can only postpone it, but at some point was must ask, "What's the point?"

    This is why we make advanced directives and choose one in whom we have trust to make the decision when the decision must be made.
    "Banning books and not guns seems backwards. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

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