Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)–Dying and When it is Time To Let Go

Years ago my father was diagnosed with cancer.  Six short months after diagnosis he died.

dadflyingv2

One of the greatest gifts he gave my sister and me was deciding for himself how he wanted his final moment to be.  He specifically told us that if his illness reached a point where he was in the brink of death, not to help him out medically any longer.  He signed a DNR, Do Not Resuscitate form.

My Dad was a control freak so the DNR form allowed him to choose exactly what he wanted his “physical end” to be like.  His decision to sign the form also freed my Mom, sister and I from having the burden of deciding if my Dad should live or die.

Fast forward to the present where Michael’s Grandfather is 90 years old.  In the last couple of years he has been in and out of hospitals.  His mind is as strong as a 20 year old, but his body is weak.

grandpa

Grandpa never really spoke about what he wanted to happen if he was at the brink of death at the hospital.  He has a 95 year old sister who is as strong as a bull and drives to this day, so death seemed to be an elusive subject.

For Michael’s father the decision of having to choose between life support or death was weighing down on him.  Since he loves his father his natural reaction would be to do anything medically possible to keep him alive even if it wasn’t really living.

This last hospital experience must have changed Grandpa’s views because it was the first time that he was so near “death’s door” that he started to hallucinate.  During one of his moments he thought that my son Rocco had died after a head injury that happened in the previous month. (Note: When you are close to death people have different “visions”.  My Dad thought he was in a recording studio the first time he was near death, but then pulled through).

When he was stabilized, and he was thinking and acting like his old self, he told  the doctors in the presence of my husband that he wanted the “DNR- Do not resuscitate”.

Grandpa comes from a very long line of people who have had very long lives, like his 95 year old active sister.  We know that he is going to come out of the hospital healthy and strong again. 

He has given the family, especially his son Tom, the greatest gift before dying.   With choosing the DNR he has released Tom from the weight of having to decide whether to let his father live or die.

God Bless you Grandpa!  May you start feeling better!

To all who have read this post, have a wonderful day!

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2 responses to “Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)–Dying and When it is Time To Let Go

  1. Thanks for this post; so many children with elderly parents are afraid to discuss this with them. It’s a hard conversation, but one that should happen while the parents are still of sound mind. Now hospital’s have Advanced Directives where the patient being admitted can put their wishes down, if they are able. If you go to the same hospital all the time, this can be kept in your medical record. This post is a wonderful educational piece.

    • Angeline, thank you for reading. I really felt it was necessary to write this because many of us having loved ones who are aging. Death is always a hard subject to talk about, but it is so necessary.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Louise

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