- Oct 31, 2006
- Lost a loved one
My dad is going in to get a PEG tube placed tomorrow morning. The doctor told my folks to review their living will, make any changes necessary, and bring it with them. This is a scary thing to think about, and nothing really happened about it. The document currently says that in the event of a terminal condition, my dad does not want artificial nutrition, hydration, or respiration. Terminal condition is defined as (among othe things) having a terminal illness that will result in death in "a reasonable amount of time." I'm sure my dad feels like he has some life time left, so he shouldn't be considered as terminal yet, I don't think. He and I got the paper out over Thanksgiving and discussed it some. I told him about portable ventilation with tracheostomy as a possible option in the future if he should want it. He had thought that ventilation meant being hooked up to a machine in the hospital and unable to get out of bed at all. He definitely doesn't want that kind of existence. He also doesn't want to be kept artificially alive if he is in extreme pain. He didn't make a decision about the portable ventilator. It was too much for him to think about, and he was tired, so I let it drop. My mom was just feeling overwhelmed by the whole thing. Just taking care of my dad takes all her energy, so they left the living will as is. It may be how my dad wants it, or it might not, I don't really know. It is hard to figure out all the possible situations that might occur and outcomes of different procedures. One thing my dad and I did was to come up with a system of communication to say "yes" or "no" in case he can't speak. This invloves being able to wiggle the fingers of his left or right hand, or if that is not possible, to open or close his eyes. That way, if he is conscious, he can still make medical decisions for himself. I realize I am rambling on here... don't know if I have a specific question except to ask for other people's thoughts on the subject.