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My mom is dying of cancer, hospice has already been brought in by the doctor, she's named me medical power or attorney, her wishes are that she wants to be resuscitated and kept live for 5 days, at the end of which, I am to make the decision to disconnect life support. Hospice doesn't resuscitate, keeping her on a machine isn't going to cure her, my main question I guess is this, if I have serious reason to believe that she is drawing her last breaths, what do I do? Personally I don't want that decision, I have three brothers and I know I am going to be accused of killing her by carrying out her wishes. I sound like some self centered retched person...but I am honestly at a loss as to what to do.

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My husband had been having fainting spells at least twice a week while in rehab weeks went by each time they called for an ambulance and he came around before being transported to the hosp and each time they gave him a battery-on a Tue they called me on my cell-I was visiting a friend in another N.H, I asked them if he was alert not to send him to the hospital because the hospital if it had empry beds would keep him 3 days and I had to pay a bed hold. When I got to the N.H. they had taken him to the hospital I went to the ER and a nurse came running down the hall demanding that I sign a DNR I said no I have not even seen him and I would assess him-he had been going downhill for 16 years-that day he was in and out but the docs told me he was critical I said that may be true but years before he had been mostly unresponsive for a week and come back none the worse for wear and my adult children needed to see him first-on Wed he was deeper unresponsible and was on 5 meds to keep him alive on Thur he was completely out of it and the docs told me his brain and heart were not working so that evening with my children and grand-daughter there we stopped the meds-we had a healyh care proxy signed by him years before not to do anything to keep him alive if he was dieing 12 hrs later with all of us there he passed away-the hospital staff will guide you through this you will not be on your own-plus I was a nurse and pt's usually do not make it through a code when they are that sick-so it will not be you pulling the plug they will tell you as they told me there was no chance of recovery I would wait the 5 days since that is her wishes but if they tell you there is no chance of recovery earlier you can rest assured there is no chance.
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As POA for your Mom's health---a legal document is simply presented to the hospital or facility she may be at-that desigantes how end of life is to be handled.....Keep in mind that these are your Mom's wishes-and that is her choice..I am sure that an attorney or even eldery affairs will back you up on this. Best, Hap
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Hospice is the best thing when there is a short time to live. I would notify your brothers that she is in hospice and being kept comfortable for the last days. If they want to see her, they should come now.

I brought my Dad home from the hospital with hospice when his heart was too bad to do anything at age 97. He had the medical directive not to do anything invasive to prolong his life, but there was no chance to do that anyway according to the doctors. He lived 6 days at home while his body shut down. He was in a coma the last 4 days. He was kept comfortable with morphine drops into his mouth on the cheek, plus other drops to keep him from having fluid in his mouth that would have to be swallowed. That worked and kept him comfortable. This was an automatic thing that hospice provided. Hopefully they are doing this for your Mother also.
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I am so sorry to hear of your pain. All of the people that answered your heart wrenching post are right. You are a wonderful person. I was in your position in-as-much as I had to REMIND my brothers and sister that 'our Mother' HAD an advance directive and they were ignoring them. After TWO code blues, I reminded them AGAIN, and told them that if this continues, I will leave. My mother passed at 5:51 am on my birthday, GOD listened to my prayers. I hope he listens to yours, pray to God.
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Thank you ever so much for sharing your experiences and helping me have strength during this time, it means so much to me.. I've thought about it, cried about it and prayed about it, she will remain in hospice care.. I'll keep her at home for as long as I possibly can and when the time comes that I can't, she will to go to the hospice house. I don't believe in my heart that she would want to spend her final days in the hospital.
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Starri: nature will take its course regardless of what precedes it. You are not "causing" her death, "killing" her, or "pulling the plug." You are seeing to it that she is safe, as comfortable as she can be, and pain free as possible. That is all any of us can do.
If you want to follow the letter of your Mom's request, inform her doctor. Let her stay in the hospital for the 5 days, without extreme measures. On the 6th day, have her transferred into the care of hospice.
If she passes before the the 6th day, "nature has taken it's course."
Regardless if you wait the 5 days or not, your mother can be medicated and kept comfortable. Make this decision then take this time to prepare yourself emotionally and spiritually.
We are all here for you...keep in touch and never worry about asking questions.
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starri....I understand your position since I was there. I have never talked about this in detail because it was always too painful. I was made medical POA for my father just 6 wks before he died. I had spent 3 mo. in Illinois to take care of both parents, when Family Leave was up and I returned to NC and my husband and my job. There are 3 other siblings in that area to continue to care for them, a bro. only 1 mile away.

My dad had stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma accidentally found when he had a kidney stone about 10 yrs prior. He was having an ostomy reversal on a Wed. He was recovering beautifully, walking up and down the halls, chatting away. I talked to him on Saturday over the phone. Sometime in the early morning the charge nurse called me to tell me he had a heart problem, did I want him to go to ICU? I couldn't comprehend what went wrong cause I had just talked to him earlier. Sunday morning when the brother and 2 sisters were standing by his side the nurse called me again to pull the plug, things were shutting down. I asked her if he has ARDS, Acute Respiratory Disstress Syndrome, which he did according to the numbers. I knew he would not recover from that cause he smoked for 40 years. I spoke to each sibling and started each short conversation by saying it was time. They agreed. Someone held the phone to his ear and I told him it was time to start his next life and I loved him to pieces, the same words he said to me when I drove back to NC. Someone reassured him we would take care of mom. I hung up the phone and bawled my eyes out for "Killing" my dad. Great wracking sobs and I was alone. Husband was working weekends and it was Easter Sunday. For 15 minutes I was inconsolable. The nurse called me back and told me he died BEFORE she could pull the plug. We think he was reassured about mom and given permission to die, so he did.

My dad always said he wasn't going to die because he had too much to do. He cared for my mom for 5 yeaars and I never realized what he did for her or what a toll it must have taken on him. He loved her till death do they part. I talked to them 4 or 5 tiimes a week, and one sister and bro-in-law did everything else.

My suggestion to you would be to talk to your siblings, get them to agree on a course of action, give her permission to die, and tell her you love and will miss her.
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I am so sorry that your mother is nearing the end of her life. Caregivers are put in that awful situation of having to make all the big decisions, then having to put up with family "armchair quarterbacks" and their unsolicited advice.

Talk to your brothers now and make them aware of your mother's wishes. As jeanne said above, she would have to be in a hospital in order to follow through with resusitation. Does she have a clergy member she can speak with? I am wondering what she intends by invoking the 5-day waiting period. She may be fearing death; after all we are not taught how to deal with that point in our lives.

If I were in your shoes, I would feel better too having her in her home environment with the help of hospice. If you work with a good hospice organization, they can make that transition so much more humane and peaceful. I wouldn't want the last thing I hear to be beeping medical equipment.

Also, if I am not mistaken, if your mother is in a hospital and intubated, it will be harder for you to inact her wishes. I learned for an ER nurse that resusitation often involves invasive and harsh measures.

Btw, how on earth would you consider yourself "self-centered or wretched?" You are doing the tough but noble job of helping someone pass to the next life. You are the strongest person in your family....the others are looking the other way.

Perhaps counseling or talking to a clergy member might clear your head right now. It is so sad the caregivers are always so busy taking care of all the details that we don't even have the luxury of mourning our loss.
Let us know how you are doing....
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Thank you Jeanne, I appreciate your kind words, Mom is kinda lucid at the moment, she has her moments, her intentions? she's scared, I've tried for the past several months to get her to get a advanced directive in place, she doesn't want to face the end and I can't fault her for it. The social worker from hospice who helped us fill out the power of attorney, basically said Mom is a full code (guess that means give her everything) I haven't sat down and read the paperwork we had filled out, but I don't believe it is anything more than just the power of attorney to carry out her wishes. I don't know how else to put my question other than plainly, do I stand aside and let nature take it's course or do I call 911 and remove her from hospice, just to prolong her suffering from being revived and kept alive for 5 days? knowing there is no hope for cure? This tears me up.. and I don't know that anyone can help me with the question..how do you decide if it is right to stand aside and let a person die?
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My heart goes out to you. You are in a hard spot none of ever want to be in. But it happens.

The only way you could carry out her wishes to be resuscitated is to remove her from hospice care. And then what? Do her sons wish for her to not have the comfort care that hospice supplies? Do you know more about her health care directive than just what the words say? Do you have insights into her intentions? Is she lucid enough now to discuss these things?

You do not sound self-centered and retched. You sound loving and distressed at a difficult decision you will have to make in love.

Losing your mother is hard enough. You have the added burden of making decisions, knowing that whatever you decide you'll never be "certain" it was the right thing and you may alienate your brothers in the process. All of this is already overwhelming. Please, please, lose the guilt! You don't need that on top of everything else, and you do not deserve it.
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