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Heat Fibrillation and Plans

November 5, 2014

It’s Wednesday night and I’m so wiped out mentally. I stayed home today and gleaned info from my sister who also avoided the hospital. Our uncle went in during the morning and reported Tom’s heart went through several series of fibrillation during the night. I don’t know what that really means, but I can pretty much assume it’s not a good thing. They continue to have problems with the dialysis catheters. This has been ongoing for the past 4 days. Something is clogging or shutting off the catheter and then they have to remove it and install a new one. They had to call my sister today and receive approval for installing a new one. On this round, they inserted a vein pick in his neck and installed the dialysis catheter in his arm. We could have chosen to let him go at that point, but we didn’t. Tuesday night my 2 siblings, my husband and myself met with the main physician treating Tom. He went through the full 14 days up til that day and what 3 approaches we could take. Option 1- do everything possible to keep him going including shifting the mouth ventilator to a trache tube. Option 2- continue with care but reevaluate at 4 days. If he goes through another cardiac arrest, we have issued a DNR (do not resuscitate) order. Option 3- remove all life support and let him go. The three (well 4) of us all know Tom would be appalled that we were keeping him going this far. He certainly wouldn’t want to be kept in a vegetative state. He would want to get better, go hiking and enjoy life. Unfortunately, his body and brain are not connected and things are getting worse every day. Tuesday there was internal bleeding in his stomach probably from a pre-existing ulcer. There is also talk of possibly needing a blood transfusion if the bleeding continues.

We have chosen option 2 and will probably ask to have the dialysis removed on Saturday. He has a group of friends who really want to see him before he goes. They will be coming on Friday if he makes it that far.  I also have a text message my nephew wrote to read to his dad. He wrote one for my mother that I read on her last day on earth. That was one of the hardest things I had to do. I can imagine this too will be extremely difficult to tackle.

I’ll be spending my birthday tomorrow trying to handle more of his business issues and closing out the apartment contract. What a sucky day instore for me. I wish I could get some sleep. That seems to be eluding me and our whole household.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2014 8:13 pm

    Gale, I hope you get a good 100 winks tonight! You deserve some rest B-day or not… Much strength to you, my dear!
    xxoo,C-

    • paperstew permalink*
      November 6, 2014 7:46 pm

      Thanks Cynthia.
      🙂

  2. Katheryn byram permalink
    November 5, 2014 8:13 pm

    You are in my thoughts as you go thru this most difficult time. Afraid most of us can relate and yet it is so personal. Good karma coming your way, soon I hope. K

    • paperstew permalink*
      November 6, 2014 7:46 pm

      Thanks Kathy. Yes, it a familiar tune for so many. I’m kind of glad my brother-in-law didn’t linger with his death 4 months ago. Kind of a blessing. We’ll see what the next few days bring. Hopefully something positive. 🙂

  3. November 5, 2014 11:06 pm

    I feel for you. I had to make this decision with my Dad. You are doing the right thing to let him go. Look after yourself and cherish the good memories x

    • paperstew permalink*
      November 6, 2014 7:44 pm

      We didn’t have to let go yet. The road of life continues for my brother at this point. I’ve had so many conversations prepping everyone for the finale, that I’m shocked we’re still continuing forward with life. We will see what tomorrow and the weekend bring. Maybe something with more clarity.

  4. Hester Coucke permalink
    November 6, 2014 10:09 am

    Gale,
    I am so sorry for this hardship. I wish so much for you and your sister that this would all be different.
    Sending good thoughts to you.

    • paperstew permalink*
      November 6, 2014 7:42 pm

      Thanks Hester. We all wish this wasn’t happening. It’s never a good thing to watch a loved one struggle so hard. The doctors keep saying we’re in the “grey zone” meaning they really don’t have any clear direction to point us. Of course the nurses have a bit more realistic view and think it’s a lost cause. But now we’re going to give it a few more days and check back again. Life is never easy.

  5. November 6, 2014 12:43 pm

    This is really awful Gale and on your birthday too! The decisions you have had to make and the jobs you are having to do are some of the hardest ever demanded of us. My heart goes out to you. Please take as much care of yourself as possible. X Karen

    • paperstew permalink*
      November 6, 2014 7:39 pm

      And the road has not ended yet. We thought we had reached the end, but the new doctor showed that there is still more to walk. Guess we’ll be walking a bit longer. Maybe some road signs might pop up and tell us more. 🙂

  6. Jen permalink
    November 6, 2014 5:11 pm

    I send you, Gale, a huge bear hug. I empathize with your pain and commend you on your wisdom and strength in making these difficult decisions. Breathe deeply and know many friends are holding you close in our hearts. November 6, 2015 is going to and MUST rock!!! Much love to you and Dave, ~jen

    • paperstew permalink*
      November 6, 2014 7:37 pm

      Thank you so much Jen. Man, this day has been the wildest ride yet. I really thought we would be letting him go, but not yet. The doctor feels like there is still a good chance of him getting through the mental stuff. Of course, we have a different Dr who will be on staff until Sunday. We all are ok with letting him go. The rest of the family is ok with it too. We’ll just give it more time to play out and see what happens. I really hate this grey zone of uncertainty!

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