Saturday, July 19, 2008
Alphabet soup including DNR and CYA
Do you know what CYA stands for? It is a common term where we live meaning ‘cover your ass’. I am in the midst of dealing with a bunch of doctors that are doing a bang up job of CYA. We have a 91 year old auntie that is circling the drain and is a DNR (meaning do not resuscitate in case of being found unresponsive basically). Well dear old auntie, I will call her Ezmerelda because it could be her name. I am pretty sure people named their babies things like that back in 1917. Anyway, Ezzie has been going downhill for the past year. Up until then she was living on her own and other than not bathing and using her favorite chair for a toilet, she was getting along okay. About 2 months ago we had a family meeting and decided that Ezzie needed to have someone checking her throughout the day and since she lived about 2000 miles away, it was hard to pop over on a lunch break. We moved Ezzie and all her belongings to an assisted care apartment near us. This place is screwing her over to the tune of about $6000 a month but she gets 3-6 meals a day so hey, I guess it is a bargain. Starting about 3 weeks ago we noticed a rapid decline in her condition. Like I said, SHE IS 91, so we weren't very alarmed. She talks all the time about wanting to be with her parents and all her sibs (they are all supposedly in heaven but we aren’t too sure as a couple of them that weren't very nice really probably went to hell). Ezzie is tired. Tired of living, tired of pain, tired of being old and just plain old tired. She is confused, getting a tad nasty and not breathing all that well. She has COPD which is a lung condition that decreases a persons ability to breathe without struggling. Without going into a ton of medical info, your oxygen level in your blood should be ideally in the high 90’s. Ezzie’s runs around 75. Two weeks ago it plummeted to 48, yes, 48. That level is pretty much around the time that St. Peter is deciding whether he should open the gates. Here begins our saga of the local doctor playing CYA. He insists on admitting her to the hospital every time her oxygen level dips. Dear doc, we KNOW it is dipping, she is 91 and wants to die. We have told you over and over that she is a DNR, these are HER wishes, signed. As I write this she is in the hospital for the second time in two weeks and has been there for 3 days. The doctor is waiting for some "lab results" to see if she can go back to her apartment and sit in her chair and refuse to take a bath. Does he really think with her condition that he is going to cure her? Has he noticed that she rips out the nasal canula as soon as his back is turned? Has he heard her when she tells me he is “worthless”? How do you cure 91?? We have tried to tell Dr. gonnapullherthrough, that he won’t be sued if she dies. He really doesn’t need to admit her every time she starts to head toward the light. This may sound cruel but it really isn’t. If you knew her you would know she is ready to let go. But instead we sit with her at the hospital and answer the same questions over and over to everyone who walks in. Last night she wanted a piece of pie. I was told by the nurse she had to ask the doctor if Ezzie could have it. Give me a break….if I make it to 91 and want a fucking piece of pie, GET ME ONE! For cripe sake, she doesn’t have any dietary restrictions, she only has 2 teeth left so I was going to get her something soft, she eats like a horse (think 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners, all mushed of course…not so much out of actual hunger, she just forgets that she has already eaten) and in my opinion if she wants to eat chocolate covered farts let her. I need to go get my living well in order. today. Shit, what a week!