Thursday, June 3, 2010


Before the process of removing life support has actually begun the patient is given several drugs. Morphine, presumably for pain, something to dry up "secretions" (more on that later) and finally an anti-anxity drug. It's the final one that gives me pause.

I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but I associate anxiety with, I dunno, brain functioning.  Isn't the premise here that that sort of thing is no longer taking place?  Or is the anti-anxiety drug really to alleviate the anxiety that we may feel regarding any anxiety that HE may feel....It seems that some of these drugs are really more for the comfort of the family members than the patient. 

This brings me back to the "dry up" medication.  That is so that once the tubes are removed he doesn't have to breath through any sort of liquids, again....seems more for us than for him. 

Also, when you are discussing the removal of life support with the doctors and nurses they start to watch their words very carefully.  Noone says anything about removal or pulling plugs (by the way...all the machines have off switches, you don't need to actually pull the plugs out of the wall).  They says things like "Focusing on comfort" or "Easing the transition".  This is all well and good...I suppose I'm a little more direct than a lot of folks.

Finally, in my ongoing series "Life ain't like TV", once everything is removed things don't just gradually slow down.  You don't watch the heart rate monitor dip to 80 and then 64 and then 42 and then 12, followed by a long beep.  The doctors warn you that it may take "a while".  Well, let me tell you, "a while" is a relative term.  The nursing staff puts a laminated picture of a cartooney star on the door to the patient's room once the whole process has begin....that star sat on my dad's door for nearly 20 hours.  Fact is, eventually, it is a relief for it all to be over. 

So this is where we are now.  For me, it is really just the body that is gone now.  As far as I am concerned, as soon as his brain stopped working my dad was gone.  I'm a lot like my father that way....practical.  My mother is more spiritual and I'm pretty sure that she was holding out hope till close to the end. 

The memorial service is planned for Saturday, after which, I promise to be less morbid and disturbing.  Until then, thank you all for your kind words and thoughts. 


  1. I'm sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. Ohhhhhh, so sorry! I had no idea this was going on. I am heartbroken for you. Prayers to you and your family.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss hun. My fatehr was not on life support but his passing was so long and seemingly painful for me and for him. He had cancer and I stood by his side until 30 minutes before he passed stroking his hair holdinghis hand and singing to him. MY prayers and love are with you..

  4. We had this conversation at dinner after the whole public struggle between the parents and spouse of the woman in Florida.

    My parents both said - don't hold on if we are no longer there. And my brother and our spouses and I agreed for us too.

    You honored your father because you love him.

    Peace and blessings to you in this time of passing.