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Old 12-06-2011, 10:19 PM   #41
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In January, my DH suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at a client's office. Several employees performed hands-only CPR on him for 13 minutes until EMTs arrived and used an AED on him and transported him to the hospital. I am delighted to say that he survived, and with his implantable pacemaker/defibrillator, he is back...still working (his choice)... and beyond grateful to those wonderful strangers who wouldn't give up.

When he was in the hospital, it seemed like he was visited by just about every doctor in the place. I asked his attending M.D. about it and learned that DH was the talk of the staff...
Wow, DH was very lucky!
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:09 PM   #42
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MY XDW worked in a local hospital and was present at a lot of natural deaths. Frequently, death occurred right after the family gathered and gave the person permission to go. I comment because I think that it is important to know that loved ones need this permission.
I saw that with my mother's death. There's also a statistically significant spike in deaths after major holidays and New Year's Eve.

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Knowing that the survivability of a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital is <2%, you should feel good that you tried, no matter what the outcome.
I think anyone standing around someone in cardiac arrest is going to do everything they can. Otherwise there'd be years of "coulda, shoulda, woulda" internal second-guessing.

I hope nobody would say "Eh, only a 2% chance, let's go get some coffee..."
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:52 AM   #43
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Knowing that the survivability of a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital is <2%, you should feel good that you tried, no matter what the outcome.

In January, my DH suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at a client's office. Several employees performed hands-only CPR on him for 13 minutes until EMTs arrived and used an AED on him and transported him to the hospital. I am delighted to say that he survived, and with his implantable pacemaker/defibrillator, he is back...still working (his choice)... and beyond grateful to those wonderful strangers who wouldn't give up.

When he was in the hospital, it seemed like he was visited by just about every doctor in the place. I asked his attending M.D. about it and learned that DH was the talk of the staff...
I am very happy to hear of his great success! I think I'll go renew my training.

Ha
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:28 PM   #44
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Thanks. I'm taking notes.

I get similar phone calls about my father, and it's tempting to second-guess the decision my brother would make "on the scene" if he'd gotten the call before I did. But then I call my brother, we talk about the options, and I support the decision he makes. I also try not to pester for updates. It's hard enough already.
Getting the immediate family to agree on on how far intervention should go can become fraught with problems. These decisions are often made by consensus - nobody wants to step up to the plate and take sole reponsibility - for obvious reasons. There are often unresolved issues which need to be worked out amongst the family members and the ill relative, especially when his/her wishes were not thoroughly worked through with immediate family members, and physicians or other members of the healthcare team do not want to get caught up in a family disagreement.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:20 PM   #45
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I am very happy to hear of his great success! I think I'll go renew my training.

Ha
Yes, please do! The amazing folks who helped my DH were greatly assisted by the fire department dispatcher who stayed on the phone & encouraged them to keep time of the CPR to the BeeGee's song "Staying Alive" (irony noted).
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:18 PM   #46
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My dad was on oxygen from strokes and slid off the couch twice one day. First time he was sitting on his oxygen tube an hour before he let mom call 911 to get someone to pick him up. The next time she got some neighbors to pick him up, ordered him a hospital bed so he wouldn't fall on the floor again, delivered the same day. The next day I came and helped mom all day taking care of him she couldn't lift him at all. The next morning he asked if I was coming so she dialed my number so he could ask me. Then he asked if my brother was coming, mom said she could call him and he said not to because he would know he wanted him. He asked about my other brother who lived out of state. So my brother, his wife, mom and I were talking when dad announced he was ready to go. He wanted to go to the hospital but mom called the doctor who said he couldn't because there wasn't anything they could do for him. Mom as crying so the doctor came to the house and talked to dad. He didn't remember he quit smoking and was a little out of it. The doctor examined him and said his kidneys had shut down and he was having total system shut down and it was too late to get a DNR. She said he could go to the hospital but just to get morphine a would have to go to a nursing home if he didn't die right away. When they came to take him to the hospital I told the crew who asked me if he had a DNR that it was too late and dad wasn't ever coming home again so it was ok to drive carefully. I hope if he would have had a problem they wouldn't have done anything to save him. He moved to a nursing home after one day then died within a couple of hours. Life saving measures when there isn't hope for more than another week is cruel. Even without a DNR some doctors will leave a person without a lot of excess care.
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:35 PM   #47
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(snip)I've been involved in two CPR attempts and both failed. At my last Red Cross class, I asked the instructor to share the statistics with the class, so that they knew in advance that it probably won't work. It is a heavy burden to wonder if you somehow screwed up the CPR and let someone die.
I heard one instructor put it this way: you don't do CPR unless the person has no pulse and isn't breathing. You can't "let someone die" by doing CPR wrong, because they were already dead before you started.
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:59 PM   #48
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I do need to add one more thought about the end of life...

Momma was in the nursing home for almost a year. During that time, she never seemed to recognize me. But she was able to recognize daddy most of the time. As a matter of fact, two days before she died, she 'puckered up' and waited on a kiss from daddy.

So, even though it may seem your loved one can not hear/understand you...never say anything you would not want them to hear. ...we just never know.
How interesting, bbbamI. Thanks for sharing. Not to hijack the thread, but both parents died with Alzheimers. BOTH became lucid during visits just a day or two prior to their deaths. (They recognized people they had "forgotten" for years. They carried on cogent conversations.) I had heard of this as folklore before, but now I tend to believe it. I think it must somehow be "instructive" in the search for a cure or treatment of this disease. If those memories are actually locked inside, but just can't come out (most of the time) that's different than someone actually "losing" their memory altogether.

Returning you now to our original subject matter.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:16 PM   #49
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I saw that with my mother's death. There's also a statistically significant spike in deaths after major holidays and New Year's Eve.................
Yes, XDW saw this holiday thing in the hospital as well. Also had an uncle die on his birthday and grandfather die on New Year's Day. We obviously have some control over our own deaths.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:40 PM   #50
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By mere coincidence (or not?), my father died on mother's day and years later, my mother died on father's day. Some folks get goose bumps when I mention that to them.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:42 PM   #51
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I saw that with my mother's death. There's also a statistically significant spike in deaths after major holidays and New Year's Eve.


I think anyone standing around someone in cardiac arrest is going to do everything they can. Otherwise there'd be years of "coulda, shoulda, woulda" internal second-guessing.

I hope nobody would say "Eh, only a 2% chance, let's go get some coffee..."
Please, that's what I want.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:20 PM   #52
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Please, that's what I want.
I am with you.
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Old 12-10-2011, 02:09 PM   #53
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After watching my mom this past year struggle with getting meds balanced due to congestive heart failure/low kidney function etc, there is something to be said about quality of life. Not much quality, when you are always sick and struggle to do everything. Thank god the doctors have her at a chemical balance she can deal with now. I'm glad we've had this last year to talk with her, and mentally prepare for the next step.

Today, if she fell on the floor not breathing, I definitely would go make that pot of coffee before calling 911. And she agrees. I think we are more humane to our pets than we are to ourselves.
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Old 12-10-2011, 02:09 PM   #54
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Over the last couple of years our 3 remaining parents died, and fortunately we had no decisions to make.

MIL died quickly and there were no options. FIL, from being extremely fit (at age 85), suddenly suffered multiple falls, was taken into hospital and found to be at an advanced stage of an agressive form of lymphoma, the falls being caused by tumors in the spinal column. His condition deterioated quickly and although he was offered chemotherapy he declined since the oncologist said that the best he could hope for would be a few weeks, or possibly months, of extended life but no chance of leaving the hospital. The next morning he had his breakfast then passed away.

A few months earlier my father (84) had collapsed at home and been blue-lighted to the ER where he was diagnosed as having an Abdominal Aortic Anneuyrism which was leaking. The doctors said surgery was an option with a 50/50 chance of survival but he firmly refused that option. He died the next morning after breakfast just after the nurse went out to get him an extra slice of toast.

Back in '95 my mother was receiving treatment for cancer (MEN II) and after a visit to the hospital she and Dad decided that since it was lunchtime they would eat at the hospital cafeteria rather than go straight home. They had collected their food and sat down at the table when my mother said she felt faint and slid to the floor. Her heart had stopped, but there were plenty of medical staff available and they called for a "crash cart", put the paddles on and shocked her back to life. The following 6 months were totally miserable and she died at home, completely out of this world on morphine for the pain. (She did not have a DNR order in place).
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:05 PM   #55
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Essayist Ezra Klein mentions the Murray paper in this piece advocating wider use of living wills:

Don

"...living wills should be standard: to ease the burden on families and medical professionals who are otherwise left trying to guess the wishes of a patient who is no longer capable of making decisions...

What doctors know is that sooner or later, everyone who dies under the supervision of medical professionals comes face to face with a death panel. Eventually, life-or-death decisions need to be made. Without a living will, a panel -- perhaps made up of family members, perhaps not -- makes crucial decisions without the patientís input. With one, the patient has a say. Itís long past time for Medicare to encourage patients to recognize that reality, and to plan for it, rather than leave it as an awful surprise for the very end."
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