Okay, let’s see here…
Bayer works on a headache no matter if you’re a housewife, a football player in the rain, a mailman with a cartoon dog at your feet or a prostitute washing your hair!
Yep, that pretty well covers it.
Except for the part that says, “Men who know medicine recommend Aspirin!”
What do women who know medicine recommend?
Bayer Aspirin: it flakes in your mouth, not in your hand!
And who is responsible for this anatomical representation of an esophagus?
It looks like one of those toys you put a marble in and watch it roll around to the bottom.
The title of this post was supposed to be a take on the line from The Sixth Sense, “I see dead people”.
Then it dawned on me that the only people we do code are “dead” people. I mean, nobody calls a “Code Blue” on a person who is still alive.
Technically, if a person stops breathing or their heart stops beating they are four minutes away from a conversation with their Deity of choice.
That’s where we come in.
And we’ll resuscitate them.
Oh boy, will we resuscitate them.
We may separate every rib from their sternum, but those compressions will continue fast and effectively.
We’ll put a tube in every orifice and where they don’t have a hole, we’ll make some holes to put in more tubes.
We send electrical shocks through their heart muscle until is looks like a well-done steak, if that’s what it takes to get them back.
Even if they don’t want it.
Why, you ask?
Because instead of letting your loved one die in peace in whichever nursing home or board-and-care they might be residing, 99.9% of the time the staff will find it necessary to place a frantic call to the paramedics.
Because 99.9% of the time, the nursing home or the board-and-care your elderly relatives are residing in will be unable to produce the required documentation that states their wish to not be resuscitated.
Even if they actually have it.
And if they can’t produce the documentation needed to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the wish to be a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), our paramedics will be required, by law, to resuscitate your loved one to the best of their ability using their protocols.
Even if your family member doesn’t want it.
And when they bring the just barely resuscitated into the emergency department, we are required to do the same thing.
Even if they don’t want it.
This is nothing new. It has been going on since the dawn of time, back when I graduated from nursing school. If I had a nickel for every elderly patient with a DNR that has been “resuscitated” only to die a day or two later, I’d be independently wealthy.
If I had a dime for every upset family member who had to see their loved one suffering when they thought all parties involved in the care of their family member knew the wishes of the patient, I’d own Starbucks.
If I had a quarter for every time the “unable to be located” DNR was in the packet of papers found in the fifty pages of xeroxed materials sent with the intubated patient I could personally pay for the health care of the entire nation.
And I’d pay anything to take back my part of the pain and indignities inflicted on these patients who just wanted to die in peace and thought they had made their wishes known.
So what’s the point of this post?
Talk to your older/elderly family members about their wishes. Find out the requirements in your county/in your state for having a legal Do Not Resuscitate order. Make sure all members of the family are on the same page. Educate yourself on what a full resuscitation actually entails. It isn’t pretty and is sure as hell can’t be comfortable.
Get that Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care now, before you are unable to speak for yourself. If they can’t find your legal document, you need a person with the authority to say “STOP!”.
If you have a family member in a nursing home or a board-and-care, make sure the code status of your family member is obvious to all the staff and that the legal papers are in a place in the chart where they can be found immediately. Keep a copy in your own records, readily accessible.
Because you know what?
If you want to be resuscitated, I’ll do everything in my power to assist in doing that very thing.
But if you don’t want to be resuscitated, I don’t want any part of the torture you will endure.
After almost thirty years, I’m tired of coding people who would prefer that I did not.
As for me, after the age of 80, if I live that long, I will tatoo “Do Not Resuscitate” along with the date and my signature across my chest.
At least they won’t be able to say they couldn’t find it.