My 55 yr old husband had been hospitalized for the last 3 months, it doesn't look good. He is unconscious in a semi vegetative state. No one can show me brain damage with any testing, yet he's not brain dead. Of course I want to hope that he still exists and I want him to come back, this is probably not going to happen. How do I make a life and death decision with no solid evidence that he is no longer with me? Logic is telling me to face the facts and try to face the truth but I'm so in love with him that I can't imagine him permanently gone. I know that he would not want to stay in this state and he would not want to go to a nursing home to wither away, yet I can't come to terms with it. I only have 2 moods lately, crying and falling to pieces or angry as hell at the world. What little spirituality I had is gone, half the county is praying for him and not being heard. How do I get myself to do what I have to do?
In 1925, when cars were a relative rarity in NYC, my grandfather was struck by one while at work on a construction site. He apparently had no identification on him, was taken to a nearby hospital, in a coma.
Meanwhile, my grandmother, with 4 kids ages 2 to 15, became more and more frantic with each passing day. Apparently grandpa had been known to go on a bender and not come home for one night, but not more. And of course, there were no telephones, no way of ringing up hospitals to ask about John Doe patients.
Finally, word made its way through the Irish Catholic grapevine and someone figured out that the John Doe in the Catholic hospital in Manhattan might be Mrs. B's husband, whose parish in the Bronx had put out feelers to everyone in their churches and hospitals.
My grandmother went to the hospital and found my grandfather,head swollen up three times it's size, swathed in bandages. ( she would still cover her face and shudder at the memory in her 90s).
She made her way to the chapel to pray for his recovery. She was stopped by a nursing sister just outside. "Tell me what you are going to pray for, Mrs. B?". "Why, for my husband's recovery, sister". The nun looked my grandma in the eye and said " you go in there and get down on your knees and pray that he dies. If he lives, he'll be a vegetable, and you'll have him to care for in addition to your babes".
It's a cruel story about a cruel time, when there was no social safety net, or Medicaid. My mother and her siblings were fortunate that they didn't end up in orphanages.
But my grandma recognized that her husband was, at that point, better left to Heaven and not to her.
I'm so sorry that you are going through this. I can't imagine the torture. Be well and feel free to come here to vent, or rail.
I don't have any words to offer, but we're here to listen whenever you want to unload.
I know you have been caring for your husband for several years, but I don't know what his disease/impairment is. If he could get through this semi-vegetative state and recover to where he was before he went into the hospital, would he want that? Did he have a meaningful quality of life at that point?
This would be a horrible, hideous, stressful decision to have to make for anyone. My heart goes out to you.
No one can know how they would decide until they are in that spot. I THINK I would not continue life support for my husband in these circumstances. 1) He had made it very clear that he did not want his life extended artificially. He signed DNR papers. He had a defibrillator removed. He was not suicidal, but he was ready to leave this life. 2) He had dementia. That is a terminal disease and it gets worse. Why hope for him to revive simply to go through that dying process?
I THINK I could have terminated life support for my husband under those circumstances. But if there were any chance that the person could recover to live a normal life then it would be much, much harder to make the decision, I think.
If your husband were able to "come back," what would he be coming back to? Would he want that?
Hugs to you as you grapple with this heart wrenching decision.
If you have no evidence and your husband's doctors cannot explain to you with certainty that your husband's condition will never improve, do nothing. Three months is too soon.
Crying and furious - who can blame you? I'm sorry that this terrible thing has happened to your husband. At this stage it sounds as though all you can do is wait and see. It must be torture for you.
If you were in the habit of prayer, you can rage safely at God you know. But on the practical side meanwhile, you need support that will help you rebuild some kind of normal life while you and your husband are still in this terrible limbo. Surely someone at the hospital can find you the right sort of therapist or adviser?