The Patient I Failed - page 2
She knew what she wanted. She'd watched her husband of 52 years die on a vent, and followed his wishes to remain a full code. But she knew that was not what she wanted for herself. So, she wrote a Living Will, had it... Read More
- 37Aug 30, '08 by UnicornNinjaReading this made me break down and cry as I am currently in the same position, but my mom is the patient, and my sister is the one doing everything and anything to keep her "alive", even though mom made it plain and clear what she wanted and did not want.
Unfortunately mom failed to sit with me and do an advanced directive, nor a power of attorney, which has allowed my sister to continue to push the hospital to do everything in it's power.
Mom went in to the the hospital on July 31st, 2008 for a triple bypass. She ended up having 5 bypassed, in addition to mitral valve replacement. The surgery that was to last 5 hours actually lasted more than 8. She went into V-fib 3 times and was on and off bypass several times. She was hypoxic for some time, however the doctors did not note the length of time in the OP report, conveniently I might say. Anyway, needless to say, mom suffered major brain damage. She was comatose until just a week ago, and the signs of neuro deficit is there. She has a trach, something she absolutely did not want, but because of my sister.... I tried to inform her of the tremendous risks of a trach, to no avail. The trach was put in on August 9th and on August 13th was Pseudomonis positive in her lungs and Staph positive in her left sided intra-jugular line! Hmmmm sure didn't see that one coming! Of course you realize I have absolutely NO clue whatsoever about trachs, infections, feeding tubes, etc.. cause I'm just a nurse and trachs, vents feeding tubes, neuro, etc ARE MY SPECIALTY!
UUUGGGHHHH I just want to grab my sister and knock her silly because she knows exactly what mom wants and does not want done, and my sister is only keeping mom "alive" for her own selfish wants. I see my mom laying there in pain, suffering. She looks at me and in those very brief moments of cognitive awareness, she puts her hand to her trach and cries. I ask her over and over, "do you want that out?" ands she shakes her head yes. I tell her "mom, you need to say the word out, you need to mouth it for the nurses and doctors to know that you are aware enough to make that decision, and she tries so hard, but by the time the doctors or nurses finally get to the bedside, she is exhausted from having tried so hard, fighting the vent.
PLEASE LEARN FROM MY SITUATION! Make sure you have not only and advanced directive, but also a Power of Attorney for healthcare. I love my kids and husband enough that I have hand mine and in my chart at the hospital and with multiple people for the last 12 years. Please don't make your family have to decided and fight. It's bad enough that my mom is going to die, there is no question to that. The question is HOW LONG WILL MY MOM SUFFER due to the selfishness of my sister???
Sorry this is so long, but everything is still so raw. Today is day 31 post op and it hurts so much to see her like she is.
Thanks all for listening, as I truly needed to vent.
GaylaLast edit by Joe V on Apr 12, '12
- 9Aug 30, '08 by labvampireThank-you for this beautifully written piece. You didn't fail this patient. I know it feels like it. Unfortunately, after that tube is placed, DNR is over with. You handled it professionally and the best to your ability. You would have found me in a closet crying after this was over. You allowed dignity to show through in this patient's last breaths. Don't ever feel guilty about having feelings. When you stop having them is when you need to get out of nursing. You are a beautiful person.
- 6Aug 31, '08 by WindyRedoRNI'm touched. And as others have said before me, please try to reassure yourself that you didn't fail her, it was her family and "the system." We do everything we can within the limits we're given - we're not the Angels that we're portrayed to be - as much as we hate to admit it. You do an amazing thing every day, you go to work and you CARE.
You told your story, and her story, so beautifully. Both have touched so many more people than they otherwise would have. I'm certain that you have changed more lives than you could possibly know. Well done.