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DNR, the decision no one wants to make

AlwaysMomsGirl
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

My mom with stage IV pancreatic cancer had to be admitted to the hospital yesterday. Her vitals were dangerously low and she's having a terrible go of it. They were able to stablize her but she's obviously not out of the woods yet.

The doctors have asked us to make a decision regarding a DNR order and I'm really at a loss.

I'm sure some of you have had to make that choice. How did you do it?

With my gratitude,
A.

rankind
Posts: 36
Joined: Sep 2010

Adrianne, Hospice just did a DNR on my brother and you have to think of this from your mom's point of view. What would she want. I am praying for you and your mom.

Debbie

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

Do you know what your mother's wishes are about resuscitation? This can be a guide, but you must still decide.

A lot depends on how much pain she is in - if she is very uncomfortable and the end is near, she might prefer to drop off and not be brought back. However, if she is reasonably comfortable, any extra hours, days, weeks, months are a gift.

Be prepared to second-guess any decision you make (we all do) - just remember you are making the best decision you can, and you are making it with love.

Mary

Barbara53's picture
Barbara53
Posts: 659
Joined: Aug 2009

My mother is 80, late stage ovarian, and she is adamant that nothing beyond hydration is to be done for her when she gets into a terminal situation. Even with that level of clarity, I expect some second guessing when the times comes. Good luck.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

I know that signing a DNR seems so final. My husband decided to sign his own. Yes, whatever you do, you will have second thoughts. Just do your best and try to follow what you believe your mom would want. I have an advanced medical directive that that gives pretty specific instructions for me. My husband and I had those drawn up after my dad died. I hope it will make things easier for my children if they ever have to make a DNR type decision for me. Fay

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

HI,
This is a hard decision to make, but it's got to be done. You have to think of what your mom would want and could ask her if possible. If not, then ask yourself, do you want her to suffer or rest in peace? I know it's hard to have to do this, but my mom also had pancreatic cancer and died in 1989. It seemed as though as soon as we got her to the hospital and they started giving her morphine, things went very fast. Good luck with making the right decision. Hope you don't have to decide this by yourself. "Carole"

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

HI,
This is a hard decision to make, but it's got to be done. You have to think of what your mom would want and could ask her if possible. If not, then ask yourself, do you want her to suffer or rest in peace? I know it's hard to have to do this, but my mom also had pancreatic cancer and died in 1989. It seemed as though as soon as we got her to the hospital and they started giving her morphine, things went very fast. Good luck with making the right decision. Hope you don't have to decide this by yourself. "Carole"

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

HI,
This is a hard decision to make, but it's got to be done. You have to think of what your mom would want and could ask her if possible. If not, then ask yourself, do you want her to suffer or rest in peace? I know it's hard to have to do this, but my mom also had pancreatic cancer and died in 1989. It seemed as though as soon as we got her to the hospital and they started giving her morphine, things went very fast. Good luck with making the right decision. Hope you don't have to decide this by yourself. "Carole"

mswijiknyc's picture
mswijiknyc
Posts: 421
Joined: Oct 2010

This is a very tough decision, but in my case my husband made it for me. He told me point blank no machines are to keep him alive. He has also been clear about a DNR.

My suggestion would be to take cues from your mom that she probably doesn't even realize she gave you. For example my husband wants his feeding tube out yesterday. So I know a feeding tube to keep him alive is out. He's also getting to the point where he wants no IVs of any kind. From this, I already know how to handle this should it become an issue.

Lots of hugs and love hun. This is not an easy thing. You'll be in my thoughts.

hope0310's picture
hope0310
Posts: 324
Joined: May 2010

I had a HUGE lump in my throat when we were asked to make that decision. I was thinkgin NO WAY!!!

My brother made me realize......ok, so let's say her heart stops, they revive her....guess what? She still has Cancer that is not treatble.....

I signed.......

AlwaysMomsGirl
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

Thank you all for your thoughts. I know it's a hard thing to revisit. Mom now has a DNR status. What an emotional wringer this is! My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

1Teresa
Posts: 68
Joined: Dec 2010

My mom has always said she wanted DNR. But last year when she had a colon infection she nearly died and they offered life support but she turned it down. They talked about putting a breathing tube down her throat. I have 2 brothers and wanted to fight the DNR. One of my other brother's also wanted to fight it, but the last brother actually got a notary and had her sign the DNR in the hospital. The reason I and my other brother wanted to fight it is because she had a chemo treatment within about a week of her getting this infection and all the meds they were giving her in the ICU we thought were not working because of the chemo still being in her system. We wanted the chemo to leave and give the meds a chance to work (at the time no one knew she had terminal cancer). We ended up able to prove to the doctor that my mom did not understand what was wrong with her and was not mentally competant (probably because of the infection). When that happened they brought in the machine and within a couple weeks mom just got better and better until she was well enough to do the surgery on her colon. This was a gray area that my mom had not counted on when she would say that she never wanted to be hooked up to a machine. After she got out of the hospital and rehab, she ended up getting 3 good quality of life months and even went back to work.... then she was diagnosed with breast mets to the spine, hips and pelvis and possibly colon....

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