My mom went in for a routine heart catheter last month. There were major complications, a dissection of the artery, to be specific. After emergency double bypass, the prognosis was grim. My brothers and I, as next of kin, were prepared to "pull the plug" so to speak. She was on full life support immediately after. We were prepared for her to die, and I know she wouldn't have wanted to be on life support. We were told to be patient, we don't need to decide in the first couple of days.
Our immediate concerns were her cognitive function. But then, she started to wake up on the third day. She was nodding, squeezing fingers, etc. At that point, even though she was still on life support, it seemed that ending it wouldn't be right.
Long story short, after a week of intubation and 4 weeks in the ICU, she moved to a long term acute care hospital. Her mind is clear and memory fine. But many physical problems are present, including dialysis, critical illness myopathy/neuropathy, inability to swallow (feeding tube). She hasn't been on her feet yet. The doctors are hopeful she will regain kidney function, ability to move more, swallow, etc. but it is still early to know.
I feel guilty because I'm afraid her quality of life is going to be very poor here on out. I know she's just starting therapy/rehab, but I'm not very hopeful. She hasn't expressed any anger at us, but she's frustrated.
I feel guilty because I think she would have rather died than go through this. And we had that chance. She is 75 and was very active and healthy before this. I always thought pulling the plug would be more of a black and white decision, e.g. "brain dead." I guess not. How do I reconcile this? Perhaps in time, and second guessing does no good. Anyone else experience something like this?