DYING TO REALLY LIVE: Separated From His Family By A Near Death Experience, A Father Faces An Agoniz VERIFIED
One of the most agonizing experiences that any business faces is the moving from one generation of top management to the next. The problem is often most acute in family businesses, where the original entrepreneur hangs on as he watches others try to help manage or take over his business, while at the same time, his heirs feel overshadowed and frustrated. Paralleling the stages of family power are stages of company growth or of stagnation, and the smoothness with which one kind of transition is made often has a direct effect on the success of the other.
DYING TO REALLY LIVE: Separated From His Family by a Near Death Experience, a Father Faces an Agoniz
Quite often, family members will respond differently to the same death. When each person is going through their own individual emotional experience, it can be difficult to figure out how to connect with and support one another. When someone you love is all of a sudden angry, depressed or anxious, or numb, your immediate reaction might be to wish they would snap out of it. Conversely, if you are the one feeling these emotions, you might feel more distant and isolated from your family. In a perfect world, people would have patience and understanding for one another, but sometimes this is easier said than done.
For people nearing the end of life, spiritual needs may be as important as their physical concerns. Spiritual needs may include finding meaning in one's life, ending disagreements with others, or making peace with life circumstances. The dying person might find comfort in resolving unsettled issues with friends or family. Visits from a social worker or a counselor may help.
One week ago today (June 5th) my 67 year old mother suffered a choking accident and cardiac arrest and is currently in a coma (today is June 13th). My father did everything he could to help her in the moment. She was not breathing and her heart had stopped when the ambulance arrived. They were able to start her heart again on-route to the ER. She had been placed on a respirator immediately and had been heavily sedated. On Saturday (6/8) they started removing sedation and since she has not been given any. All of the neurological response tests performed showed no signs of voluntary reaction / cognitive brain function. The respirator is really doing most of the breathing for her but there are moments when she over breathes. She has had a fever since Saturday that hovers around 102, and have been told this is not from an infection but from brain damage. Her EEG came back with no brain activity. We are holding on to hope but have been told that she will no recover from this. We are trying to encourage the Dr's to give her alternative supplements and high dose vitamins to see if anything will help. They are refusing most, for FDA and liability reasons. We have also been told that she can only be on a respirator for about 2 weeks, which leaves us with one more week to decide if we want to have a tracheostomy & feeding tube put in instead. Then, we have to make additional decision about her care, and also how to afford everything. None of my family members want her to suffer or live a terrible quality of life. Has anyone experienced a similar situation, with a favorable outcome and partial/full recovery? I should also note that she was transferred from the ER to a local hospital that DID NOT have a neurologist on site! After questioning them to perform the EEG, they told us that there has been no neurologist there for months and she would have to be transferred to another hospital for that test. (They then moved her by helicopter to another ICU.) How can a patient with brain trauma be transferred to a facility incapable of appropriate care?!?
This may sound very very strange, but I'm feeling very lucky right now. I have been reading the comments from people who have close relatives going through varying degrees of brain damage and the effects it's having on them and their families. My father has just recently had a massive heart attack, which doctors believe may have induced a stroke. My dad's heart was stopped for about an hour and his brain deprived of oxygen for all that time. The emergency services attended very quickly, and after working on him for a long time, they managed to re-start his heart. They assisted his breathing and got him off to hospital. After assessing him in hospital, the doctors told us that dad had suffered irreparable brain damage and there was no hope of survival. He was breathing on his own and had had an oxygen mask on. The first time I saw dad once they had got him sorted, it was a huge shock as I could see the catastrophic damage that had been done to him as a result of such a major heart attack. My sister was very upset as she had performed initial CPR until the paramedics arrived. She said dad looked so peaceful when her and mum first found him, and they had thought they were too late as he had passed then. Now they had brought him back, and his body was under so much strain. His lungs sounded like they were full of fluid (because they were) his chest would rise and drop dramatically with every breath, he never regained consciousness throughout the time. He seemed to have an odd reflex type movement; he seemed to jump suddenly and sometimes would groan. He looked distressed; his body was working incredibly hard, there was no brain response to any test the doctors did. My dad was 80 years old, had always been in reasonably good health and this had happened so very fast. When I saw my dad, I told him it was ok to go, I willed him to give in to it and slip away because up to now he had led a good active life, unhindered by disability and I knew if he did indeed survive this, his life would be constant care, and he would hate it. I work in the care sector, and I have seen some long drawn out deaths which are very distressing for the patient, and very distressing for the families despite doing everything you can to make them as comfortable as possible. Twelve hours after being admitted to the hospital, my dad's dramatic and labored breathing suddenly calmed and he took his last breath, finally slipping away with all his family around him. I truly feel this was the best outcome for my dad. After caring for some people who have survived heart attacks and strokes, seeing how their daily struggle can affect the quality of their lives, I didn't want that for dad, and I knew he wouldn't want it either. I think it is a valid consideration to listen to the doctors and nurses who see this kind of thing on a daily basis, consider what you would want if it were you on that hospital bed. You know your loved ones better than anybody; some want to go on living no matter what, some would say they would rather pass than live like that. I look after one lady who is in her 90's, and she has made it clear she does not want a DNR in place because she doesn't want to die, and on the flip side, my husband has told me he would rather i "switch him off" than let him live needing constant care. For me with this very recent event with dad, I questioned what was the kindest thing to do? Instinct was to resuscitate, but dad had essentially died, peacefully in his bed, we then got him back, saw him appear to suffer for a further 12 hours and die again! I am hoping and praying that he had no awareness of the last 12 hours in the hospital, but unfortunately, nobody knows if he did or didn't. Those 12 hours were the longest of my life and probably of his too, but as deaths go, it could have been a lot worse, so I am grateful. It makes you think about what family member would want in these circumstances and to let people know what you would want also. This takes the pressure off the surviving family members as they will be confident that they are making the right decisions on your behalf. Nobody wanted dad to die obviously, and its very sad understandably, but I know he would rather it happen like this than suffer for months or years with severe physical and mental problems associated with brain damage. I know he can now rest in peace
Dear Lea,So sorry to learn about your father dying 5 months after a massive stroke, and that you are left with many questions about how things might have been done. Certainly you should not have had to sell his house, especially when there we considerable uncertainty about his future. I am sure you did everything you should have done in the circumstancesThe reason we wrote this blog was to try to explain to the professionals who care for patients with serious strokes that they must really talk with the patient (if at all possible) and their family carer in the weeks and months after a serious stroke so that there should be no regrets of nagging questions in the long run. I am sorry that the health service is generally not so good at doing this for people who do not have cancer, and will continue to urge professionals to talk about various options as soon as the illness is life-threatening, not just when a patient is obviously near to death
Oh my gosh. I am so happy I found this site. Ever since I got pregnant with my second child, I started thinking, "WHAT IF something happened to my husband or daughter, or even myself?" I was convinced that I was worried because one of us was going to suffer an untimely death. I am 18 weeks along today and my fears have been compounded. Over the past month, two 6 week old babies of our friends passed away, as well as 2 women we knew, one 47 the other in her 30's, and my stepfather's grandmother. The last did not affect me much, since she was 91. But the two women especially got to me. Once I found out about the first one, I just started obsessing over how death is inevitable and I could not even see my husband or daughter playing because it made me sad to think I might lose them one day. I am at my worst now, though. When I found out about the second woman this past week, first I freaked out, then I found out she died suddenly, and I have been feeling worse than ever. I have developed a fear of tomorrow. I am afraid to not tell my family I love them because they might not be here tomorrow. I have developed a fear of not doing things perfectly because I myself could die tomorrow and I don't want to die with regret. It is consuming me and I was sure that I was feeling these things because one of us going to die soon. But I spoke with my sister and she has been experiencing the same thing since she got pregnant last May. She is actually still suffering from the same thoughts and felt the same way, like her thoughts might be a premonition. I would lie if I said I am cured now, because that feeling will find it's way back and I know that. But I find comfort in the fact that there are others like me and my sister. So hopefully I can feel some piece of mind and be able to be myself.