Based on my own experiences with end of life care, I have discussed the following with my wife, who would be in charge of making decisions for me should I become incapable of such. I think it's important that every human adult have a similar discussion with someone to assure you don't end up a vegetable in the care of the government.
At this point in my life when I am relatively healthy, I do not want to be a DNR. If I stopped breathing, or if my heart were to stop, I'd like medical workers to do whatever they had to do to try to save my life. I call for this mainly because I value life and love life.
However, if I arrive in the hospital after CPR has been done on me for a half hour and my face is STILL blue by this time, just let me go. If you think I'm gonna not be me when I wake up, just do the humane thing and let me go.
I do not mind if I have to be on a ventilator for a few days in order to give medical professionals the opportunity to rest my body and treat the underlying cause of my problem. Yet if whatever caused me to be on a vent is terminal, then after a few days just pull the plug. Considering I have asthma, I do not want to suffocate.
Oh, and that's the next area of discussion. I do not want to suffocate at the end of my life. If I appear to you as a fish out of water, then give me all the oxygen I want and sedate me to the point I'm comfortable. Don't let me drown. Don't let me suffer in pain.
Also, if I so happen to by a CO2 retainer, and I need oxygen, make the doctor give me oxygen. Don't let the doctor deprive me of the main source needed to maintain life. Don't make him let me suffocate because of the hypoxic drive hoax.
If I have a chronic disease and am chronically addicted to pain killers or alcohol or other drugs as a result, don't allow a doctor to set me in a hospital bed and allow me to go through detox. Have him solve my underlying problem and then he can deal with the addiction. So make him give me some kind of sedative.
Now, if I have a CO2 greater than 80 (like say 190), again, don't let my doctor withhold sedatives because he's afraid my breathing will slow down and my CO2 will rise. Don't make me suffer this way.
This is especially true if I'm awake and fighting the RT and the RN and the DRs efforts to treat me. Say, for example, the doctor order is for me to be on BiPAP, and I keep refusing to keep the BiPAP mask on (which I can see myself doing), don't allow the nurse to hold my hands down while the RT forcibly puts the mask back on my face.
Please, if this is the case, just let me have my way.
Look, I don't mind if I need to be on a ventilator to get over the hump, and I don't think I even would mind being ventilator dependent so long as my brain is fully in tact. Yet I do not want either of the above if my brain is not intact.
In summary, if I'm blue oxygenate me. If I'm still blue, ventilate me. If I'm still blue, just let me go. And don't be blue yourself, because I'll be in a happier place. My time has come. And by me writing you this letter you should be at peace knowing I lived a good life and you prevented me from unduly suffering at the hands of medical professionals who have to do everything for fear of getting sued -- unless you step in.
Oh, and one more thing. Be good to the people caring for me, even if they aren't friendly. Don't be sue happy just because you're angry I died (because I don't want you to be angry. I want you to be happy for me). However, in the rare chance of medical neglect, feel free to do what you need to do.
Likewise, since I will no longer be using my body, don't let my body rot for no good reason if it can be of use to help someone else live a better life in the one they currently have. Don't be afraid to donate certain parts of my body to the Gift of Life.
I know it sounds kind of disgusting, yet I believe God's underlying mission for each of us in this life is to make life better for our fellow men and women. I know I've done my part on this earth by improving the lives of many in my own way (hence my blog family and my own family). So don't be afraid to let me make one final gift to a fellow human being.
There, I think I covered all the bases. Life is good. But life without a brain is not good. I'd much rather move on to be with the Lord than to be a vegetable in this one. Capish.
Now, I don't plan on dying any time soon. Yet I write this post because I've seen some horrible things in the hospital setting. Sure I've seen many miracles and have seen more good things than I'll ever see horrible things. Yet the end of life should be peaceful, and that's how I want mine to be.