Today was my first clinical for nursing school. It was mainly orientation and HIPPA stuff (everyone should know HIPPA so google it if you don’t know what it means but if you have been to the doctor in the last few years you should). Towards the end of the day which was 8-3 we got to start on a general health history questionnaire for a patient that we will get to interview next week. Most of our patients are old…very old so when we were reading the chart and one of my partners sucked in her breath and said ‘oh no…’ the reason caught me by surprise
It was regarding a Do Not Resuscitateorder (DNR) for an advanced directive (everyone should have one of an A.D. including YOU!!!). I was surprised A) because she didn’t noticed the flourescent DNR on the cover of the chart. B) Our professor said most of these patients would have DNRs where we were. and C) I don’t have a problem with DNRs in fact I think of them as a positive way to establish your end of life terms.
I come from Oregon- a ground breaking place for dealing with end of life needs. We allow doctor assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. I love that people in Oregon can make that decision for themselves. I feel it is a human right and the alternative should be considered abuse. Not everyone feels this way. Today I realized, not for the first time, that I am out of my protective little foresty state.
I know most people who read this (my friends!) are young but we all should be thinking ahead or in case of an accident (knock on wood). When you ask what you want your life to be, at the edge of that thought you should start thinking about what you want your end of life to be. It doesn’t have to be depressing–I have an organ donor card and I don’t think that is depressing.
I know I want my end of life to be as peaceful and as painfree as possible. I also want to consider what I want my end of life details. There was a doctor speaking on Fresh Air a few weeks ago talking about this. He said, and I am paraphrasing, that his father was considering this and since his father was a surgeon he did not want to live if it meant being paralyzed (he was facing surgery that could result in that) and put those details in his advanced directive. For another person it was as long as he could sit and eat ice cream while watching a game on TV then he was good to go. After that…he didn’t want any sort of resuscitation.
So what do you want? I think as long as I can eat and have use of my arms, neck, and head AND have a functioning cognizant brain, I am fine. If I lose those…please, let me go.