Archive for DNR

DNR and POLST Forms on the 8th Day of the Week

I once talked with my parents about their end-of-life wishes before dessert was served.

When Mom was alive, we talked every Saturday. I miss that. A pre-dawn riser by habit, I could phone her in California for a relaxed early morning chat regardless of where I lived. One year, anticipating Thanksgiving, our weekly ritual included my suggestion that she and Dad talk about a serious topic with their “kids.”

She agreed. At Thanksgiving, they’d let us know their wishes.

I did not anticipate this request would become Mom’s announcement after the second helping of turkey was offered, but prior to choosing between pumpkin or apple pie for dessert. With mashed potatoes cooling on my plate, with my two sisters and our spouses ‘round the table enjoying the Thanksgiving feast, Mom said . . .

“Larry thought we should tell you what we want when we’re dying. Your father and I don’t want to be hooked to machines keeping us alive. Just let us go.”

Those likely weren’t her exact words. But even if my smarter, better-looking sisters disagreed with my memory, that was darn close to what and how Mom announced their wishes.

Every family is different! Happy Thanksgiving, eh? Read More →

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DNR

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In 2011, in England, 81-year old Joy Tomkins got a tattoo: “Do Not Resuscitate.”

I overheard a chaplain chatting with a social worker about a patient.

“She asked me,” the chaplain said, “if a DNR order would interfere with her getting to heaven.”

The two hospice staff kept slowly moving away from me. I don’t know if the social worker responded, or what the chaplain had explained to the patient after she asked her heavenly question. Maybe my colleagues continued discussing this patient or shifted to other subjects.

I’m not sure anyone could tell the patient about heaven’s entry requirements. Different faith traditions have different views of the “better place” after death. Humans have pondered Valhalla and Nirvana and Paradise and Heaven for millennia. I’ve read and heard some Christians describe heaven as more difficult to enter than an Ivy League school. I’ve read and heard other believers claim the “pearly gates” are wide and welcoming for every soul.

Heaven’s rules may be mysterious or debatable, but what about DNR? That was the part of the patient’s question that kept nudging me. It stands for Do Not Resuscitate, and according to webmd.com, it is, Read More →

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