Monday, December 1, 2008

End of Life Care - Survey

An interesting new survey at dNeero. This is one subject that has come up within my family. When my grandmother was alive she was always sick. She was a hypochondriac. But being a hypochondriac doesn't mean that you don't or won't really get sick. Toward the end she landed in the hospital and we thought she was a gonner. The hospital emergency staff thought she was dead when she came in - her heart rate was that low.

My mom, grandfather, and uncle were talking about whether to keep her on the external pace maker or remove it. I was horrified. This was my grandmother they were talking about. I was a mess and had no idea whether or not grandma would make it through the night.

She was a tough ol bird and pulled through but really started going down hill faster after that. When she finally left us it was almost a relief. Almost.

I don't think I could have made the decision to pull the plug. I believe in miracles and after her big scare she still lived more than a year. Was it a quality life? It wasn't the same quality she used to have...but then again while at home she slept most of the time anyway. So it wasn't really all that different when she was in the nursing home. She slept. And slept. She'd wake up when guests visited and we had some really great conversations...reminiscing about old days. I would not have had those memories if they'd pulled the plug.

If I had a life ending disease I would not want anyone to give up on me. There are always miracles. People in comas for 20 years wake up. People with cancer eating away at them can be cured. As long as I have breath I will have hope. So to me it is just wrong to end your life earlier than God intended.

I say that even as I know how painful the end of life can be. My father died of cancer when I was 8 and the last week of his life was a morphine filled time. I'm sure he ultimately did kill himself through the use of the morphine. His pain was great and unending. It's my understanding that the hospital staff took away the barrier to how much he could get and I'm glad for that. But I still don't think that the doctors should have had the right to inject him with a final lethal dose. A doctor is supposed to do no harm and I can't think of anything more harmful than causing death.

It's not an easy or black/white issue for sure.

1 comment:

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

It certainly isn't a easy issue for sure. I've watched many suffer. I've watched many with zero quality in their lives. I guess we have to be in the situation to find out what we would or wouldn't want done. I just don't know.

I'm with you though on the hope issues. Yes, I am. Have a great day. :)