Sunday, May 6, 2007

On Being Dead

I witnessed a DNR for a co-worker the other day. She and I share the opinion the we would rather not be cabbage. Some of the other nurses were upset by the fact that she was so emphatic in her wishes because she's "so young". She's in her late 30's. My husband and I are going to be drawing up a bunch of stuff with a lawyer soon, including Living Wills and DNRs. We're 32.

Newsweek has an article about new studies in resuscitation. It's interesting, but I'm personally more concerned about what's going on with my brain once my heart has been convinced to do it's job again after a 15 minute foray into unemployment.

AD hit it from the EMS side, and then had to defend the crap out of himself when it turned predictably ugly. He was initially talking about traumatic codes, but it quickly turned into, "But what about babies and puppies and sweet little old ladies (not the nasty ones)?" I've said it before and I'll say it again. Dead is dead, alive is alive, and cabbage is NOT alive. I'd rather be dead than in the salad bar, no matter how it happened or how old I am.

I understand that there are exceptions to every rule, and that's what makes anecdotal evidence so dang much fun. But I'm not big on gambling. And that doesn't make me a pessimist, it makes me a realist. So if and when I go to all the effort of dying, kindly leave me that way. My crisper will thank you.


John McElveen said...

Amen & Amen!!!

My wife and I have an "Agreement" and if either of us breaks it and one of us turns into a beet and the other one doesn't "Trip " over the respirator cord... we are going to haunt the hell out of the other one!

Nicely written Monkey.


Ambulance Driver said...

VERY well said. Get your wishes on paper, and you avoid the risk of becoming the next Terry Shiavo.

I belong to a certain group of people who came up with the perfect tee shirt. I think I'm going to have my DNR worded that way:

mielikki said...

Mine has been in place for a while now. I do not want to have a long life as a turnip. Thankfully, both my sisters are nurses as well, and know a whole lot about pulling the plug.

John McElveen said...

Living Will

Last night, my wife and I were sitting in the living room and
I said to her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent
on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the

She got up, unplugged the TV and then threw out my beer.

She's such a bitch.

John McElveen said...

Monkey I had to put a link in a post on my blog to here-- I pray you don't mind- I linked to AD's tee shirt idea as well- these were too good not to share!!!



SeaSpray said...

I know that advanced directives are important and I used to give them to people all the time but I haven't done one yet nor have I encouraged anyone in the family to do one.

I know we should. I do believe in miracles and I would want a period of time to get a chance to recover and also want feeding tubes.

On the other hand I wouldn't want to suffer or become a financial burden.

I knew the Quinlans. Joe passed away but Joe and Julia was/is a lovely person and were the ones that got the ball rolling on this stuff and were key in causing medical facilities to have to have ethics committees. Karen lived many years after she was taken off the respirator, although she never came out of the coma. They founded the Karen Ann Quinlan Center of Hope hospice up here.

Sorry- I got off track. Your post just got me thinking about all of this again.

Judy said...

What about babies?

The latest edition of the Neonatal Resuscitation Textbook has an algorithm which includes "If heart rate is absent for 10 minutes" after you've done everything, which will take at least that long "consider discontinuing resuscitation."

Not 15 minutes. Not 30 minutes.

10 minutes of NO HEARTRATE in a newly born infant.

I could provide you with a boatload of anecdotal evidence about what you're going to get if you keep going after that and none of it is pretty.

Forget the paperwork, I want a tattoo on my chest which states

SeaSpray said...

I guess you med professionals see things that I haven't and so I still hold out for hope, like "what if...what if a little more time makes a difference?"

Joeymom said...

My grandfather had a DNR. However, apparently if being on a vent and stuff is part of surgery, it doesn't matter, they can just leave you on it. Which, by the way, sucks.