Decisions

November 6, 2013 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

Sorry, the quote below is from yesterday on another forum.

Jeff is stable. His numbers look great – blood pressure is normal, temp is normal, heart rate and respiration are normal. He’s still on the ventilator, still sedated so he doesn’t go rearranging tubes. He has a myriad of meds going in him. Bleeding has subsided. We are now at a point where we do nothing or we do radiation, either of which could have a bad end result. Chemo is on hold. He’s in a tough spot, friends. His prognosis isn’t great.

I want to thank you all again for your thoughts and prayers, phone calls, texts and messages. (y’know, if you pluralize ‘pm’ it loses the intended meaning)

Today’s update…

2013-11-06_21-34-06[1]Jeff has advance directives in place, signed six weeks ago. Maybe if the hospital had known about his wishes, he wouldn’t have been intubated and on the ventilator, I don’t know. But we are here now and decisions need to be made. If you take all feeling out of the situation, decisions are pretty cut and dry. If you love Jeff like I love Jeff, you just can’t take emotions out of this. When you sign your own papers and indicate how you would like to be cared for if faced with a terminal or irreversible condition, you may make that decision like it’s a no-brainer. ‘Of course I don’t want to be kept alive artificially if there is no cure…’ ‘Of course I don’t want to be a vegetable…’ But with the passage of time and other things that happen, would your wishes change? With Jeff on the ventilator, he can’t tell us what he wants. He can’t ask questions. They can lighten sedation and he can nod or shake his head to yes/no questions – but he’s groggy. Do you really take his answers to be well thought-out? What’s going on in that fuzzy-haired head of his?

So I’ve decided to hold off on radiation and anything else until he can be weaned off the ventilator. He is still on blood pressure medicine, antibiotics, saline, sedation, pain killer, etc., etc. You see all the IV lines going on. I’m told he is not on the ventilator because he has or had a breathing problem, but because he was bleeding. With the bleeding stopped, at least for now, it seems reasonable to attempt to get him off the ventilator. I’d hate to not give him a chance to talk to us again.

There is the possibility that things could go south after he is off the ventilator. In that event, he would not be resuscitated and his wishes for no life-sustaining measures would be honored. He’s been through hell and back. He has a strong spirit, but his body is damn tired. He has suffered so much already with the effects of chemo, the pain and sickness. My only hope is for compassionate and merciful care. No more gallon bags of chemo. No more barf bags in my purse. No more pain pills that offer little relief. He deserves better.