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Old July 28th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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Parents & POA

I have medical POA (power of att.) for my mom & we've discussed her wishes in the past. The thing is there are gray areas - which I've just discovered .

My mom has been very ill, currently she's in an ICU (she's doing better btw).

Anyway, my mom DOES NOT want to be kept alive via respiators, etc. and I respect her wishes.

Sunday, I had a choice - she was breathing on her own, but had bad sinus drainage & was too weak to cough it out. So that she would not choke to death on mucus I gave consent for her to be placed on a resipator (sp). She's off of it now .

Before she came off, I was crying myself sick - worrying that I wasn't following her wishes. If there are other "gray" areas that I need to discuss mom's with her - let me know what they are.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 05:52 PM
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Re: Parents & POA

I think you made the good choice there...after all, it was clearly intended to be a TEMPORARY respirator. Sounds like there wasn't an indication she could never expect to be off it. Even perfectly healthy young people could be put on a respirator during an operation. You wouldn't say "oh, nope, no respirator, let her die from choking during elective knee surgery"...obviously. I think you were following the spirit of her wishes, which is likely to be, "if I have no hope of ever getting off the respirator and I am only being kept alive by machines and the doctors are pretty confident that will never change, then don't do it."

It's hard for anyone who doesn't work in an ICU to anticipate every possible situation or procedure. What most people mean is by 'no respirators' and 'DNRs' and stuff like that is--if there is no hope that my quality of life will improve or change from constant artificial medical support, then I don't want that artificial medical support. Most people would consent to pretty much any medical intervention if there was a decent chance that it was TEMPORARY, with hope of normal life after it. Rather than focus on specifics--which like I said, it's probably hard for a non-specialist to anticipate every one--I would focus on talking with her about the spirit of her wishes--what does she not want if it's temporary? WHat does she not want if it's permanent?
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Old July 28th, 2009, 06:15 PM
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Re: Parents & POA

To expand on HHH, I have been put on a respiratory. I certainly wanted to be put on a respiratory , because it was a means to extend my QUALITY of life, not just quantity (Remember, I had open heart surgery, several hours on a respiratory, heart stoped for a couple of hours while being on a bypass machine).

My first stint in college was in health information, where I took several course in Medical law. DNR, POA and living wills were a big thing. The gist of it (for me) is the word QUALITY of life. This was something that would improve her QAULITY of life, while also improving her quantity of life. Usually, the respiratory issues come up when you are looking at the fact that the person in question has NO CHANCE of quality of life. DNR usually are not signed unless the person in question is at the end of their life and wish to no longer prolong it (ie, end stage cancer.).

I was 19 when I sat in a room with my best friends family, trying to make the decision on whether or not he should be kept on life support. I was 29 when I was pushed to make the decision for my Bio-dad, with little help from step-mom (I was his only child and she probably had not made a single decision in their 13 years of marriage. She has a very dependent personality). I cannot tell you how hard it is, no matter what you choose.

My best suggestion, not only talk with your mom, but also bring in the hospital social worker to help with the fine details. They do this for living and know many of the loop holes you may encounter.

We'll be thinking about you.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 06:24 PM
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Re: Parents & POA

Nothing to add to what HHH and grubby said... just hugs and warm thoughts.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 07:39 AM
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Re: Parents & POA

Mom is off the respirator now ; they said they hope to move her out of the ICU soon (she still has issues that have to be dealt with before she'll be able to go home)

But the day before she came off the nurse told me over the phone (I'd called) that she wasn't able to breath without it - I took it to mean that the respirator was keeping her alive (cue tears & guilt from me), but upon reflection I think the nurse meant that she was still too weak to cough & was unable to keep her airway open (ie phelm could choke her to death)
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Old August 8th, 2009, 10:37 PM
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Re: Parents & POA

FYI -

Update- mom's out of the hospital, but currently in a rehab center. Hopefully she'll get to go home before the end of the month.
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