Monday, January 24, 2011

Letter to the Editor

This letter appeared in today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. I was just inspired to write it one night a few weeks ago. I sympathize with anyone who has to make tough decisions about someone they love. If this can help you or someone you love, I am thankful.

Hard decision proper

The “death panel” phrase has frustrated me since the start of the health care bill fight.

When my 60-year-old husband went into ICU non-responsive from effects of a brain bleed after 10 years of fighting cancer, I had to make the DNR—Do Not Resuscitate—decision.

Without thinking, I said, “Resuscitate.” (He had a living will, but this was different, at least to my understanding.) A few days later, thanks to a wise doctor, I changed this order to DNR, which was irrelevant as he passed away peacefully within a few days.

However, thinking this through enabled me to tell my love that it was OK for him to quit fighting if he was tired. Yes, I would miss him like crazy, but I would survive with my faith, family and friends. Shortly after this “conversation,” he quit eating and drinking, making it clear that he was ready to leave this earth.

I will forever be grateful to the doctor who said, “Karen, you should think about Randy and what he has been through. If something happens and they put a tube down his throat, it may never come out. He has fought a long, hard fight. You have been there with him all the way. You must continue to think about what he would want.” This advice helped me do what was right for Randy and for all who loved him.

If you choose to label such counsel as a “death panel,” so be it. I label it as a blessing.

Little Rock

1 comment:

  1. Karen, this is very touching. I whole-heartedly agree with you. My husband and I have had these conversations and have living wills. But that does not make it easier.

    On a completely different note - you've won some Dandy Blend from Real Food in Little Rock. Email me you snail mail address and I'll get it to you. (just reply to this comment - my email should be attached to it.)