© Chuck Duboff
A do-not-resuscitate order, or DNR order, is a medical order written by a doctor. It instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a patient’s breathing stops or if the patient’s heart stops beating. A DNR order is created, or set up, before an emergency occurs.
It felt like a scene out of movie that I was watching. A young doctor calmly discussing with an elderly patient about what should occur if the patient’s breathing should stop or if the heart stops beating.
Yet, this was not a movie. This was me, standing by my mother’s bedside, while a very calm young doctor explained to my mother what DNR meant. Do not resuscitate. I could see my mother’s face change, her colour go white as she was processing the ramifications of what this doctor had just explained. I stood there silently, hundreds of memories flashing by, as my mother thought about her response. I knew what she was going to say..that she didn’t want to be on any machines, that she just wanted to let go. When she uttered the words that I had anticipated, I had a chill go through my body. I’m standing there watching my 92 year old mother decide that it’s time to let go should anything go wrong. The doctor asked me what I thought and all I could respond was “whatever mom wants is fine with me.”
It was a long day sitting by my mom’s bedside, after hearing a discussion like that. I knew mom was affected by it, so I tried to keep things light, showing her pictures of Laine and Ben. We talked about the Jets a lot and pretty much talked about all the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Mom’s blood pressure was high all day, as I’m sure the impact of the discussion with the doctor was on her mind.
Do not resuscitate…you stand beside your mother as she decides that it’s time to let go should anything go wrong. It’s not a movie, it’s not a TV show…it’s real life.
These past few days my mind has replayed that scene hundreds of times. It feels surreal, but in fact it is life at its most real. Here’s hoping that our discussion was a moot point and that mom has many more years to go.