This thread reminded me of an experience I had in June of this year. I was taking care of a 92 year old woman answering questions from two of her family members - a nephew and a daughter in law. They were asking me how she was doing and I said alot better today. I also told them that she was responding to me more frequently and sometimes she could even tell me what she wanted. She had pneumonia with thick secretions and we had her on a prb at 100%. I asked the family where she might go from here(hosp) and they said they thought she would go back to the nursing home. Then the daughter mentioned that her lips were dry so I showed her how we clean her mouth and I took the swab and started swabbing and cleaning her mouth. Well she started coughing so I went to get the yankaur to suction her and as I began she took this big gulp, then she continued coughing and then the coughing turned into where she was gasping for air. I could not get this secretion out-She swallowed it. She started turning blue and I as a PCT ran out of the room where the nurse was out in the hall. I told her she had better get in there because she was turning blue. The nurse said "Well I have her breathing treatment" I said no she's choking! We ran out of the room and started working on her. She was still blue when we again tried to suction out the large secretion. She fell back on the pillow and the nurse told me to get respiratory. I went out in the hall and called the code. As I went back into the room, (the family left) there were three of us calling out her name and trying to get a response. More people came - supervisors, nurses, doctors etc. I did the blood pressure, we had a monitor going, etc. Well she was Code II -limited meds, no compressions. That was that. No pulse, no bp, no tracings, We let her go.
Reflecting back - I don't think she wanted to go back to that nursing home and she started choking right after I had been talking to the family about it. She waited until her family was there before she passed on. They were so grateful for our care. I was a little surprised because I had just been talking to them about how well she was doing and five minutes later she died!
I was glad I was there for the family but a little helpless. This is what she wanted and we gave it to her. By respecting her wishes we did help her.
You never forget your codes- HB