Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Perspective - Update

Following up on yesterday's post about our friend, here's the decisions he is facing.

His wife is being kept alive by a ventilator that is breathing for her.

Decision #1: Keep her on the ventilator, or take her off it.
Not much of a decision - by all accounts there is zero brain activity.
That leads to Decision #2:
When to take her off the ventilator. Her family is scheduled to arrive Tues. morning, so I think this decision will be made sometime Tues. evening or Wed., after the whole family has visited with her and come to terms with the situation.
Here's where it gets tricky. IF she is taken off the ventilator, BUT continues to breathe on her own (not likely, according to the medicos, but still possible), THEN we face Decision #3:
Whether or not to insert a feeding tube. If we get to this point it means she is breathing on her own, contrary to medical expectations, so now the choice becomes whether to keep her alive indefinitely through artificial means, or let her starve to death.
My God, I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions.

The husband is drifting, rudderless. The son (college-aged) seems to be dealing with the situation much better, and in fact appears to be a source of strength for the husband.

My wife and I were at their house last night. The saddest part of it was to see the small signs of her presence - reading glasses on the kitchen counter and an open book laying next to them, a necklace on an end table, little things like that - like she had just stepped out and would be right back.

So while I understand that there is some sort of election today, and while I hope that the country gets it right (read: elects my guy), my focus is elsewhere right now.

One consequence of all this is that my wife and I are going to review and update our living wills and durable powers of attorney as soon as we can.

A second consequence is a renewed appreciation for family and friends. Don't take them for granted. Fate can be cruel and capricious...

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