Two weeks ago on a Monday afternoon I had lunch with my Mom. After lunch she went to watch television and take a nap like she always does. A little while later she made a loud noise. A loud noise isn’t exactly out of the ordinary only this sounded different and the dogs immediately started barking and barking loud. I went into the room where my mom was sleeping and I found her seizing. I immediately called 911 and calmly put each dog away while on the phone with emergency services. My Mom continued to seize throughout this time.
Upon arrival EMS asked, “does she have a DNI”? A DNI stands for do not intubate. Intubate is when they insert a tube into your airway so you can get enough of oxygen and the machine (ventilator) is breathing for you.
My Mom never wanted to do a DNI or DNR (do not resuscitate).
My Mom was in bad shape. No, I said. No DNI. EMS intubated her.
The first twenty four hours myself and my family were thinking out loud of every imaginable situation, including having to take my mom off the ventilator if she didn’t come around. At one point the Doctor said, “usually people move or show some activity by now after a seizure”. Another Doctor suggested hospice if my Mom survived. My Mom was critically ill. Her blood pressure was so low she was on an epinephrine pump to keep it from bottoming out.
Please don’t let me have to make a decision I prayed.
When she did open her eyes at one point, I asked her, do you know who I am? “My daughter”, she struggled to say. It was a moment of hope, love, and gratitude.
Thankfully after two days my Mom was extubated and breathing on her own. She had had a heart attack. Having been intubated saved her life.
This has really made me think how important it is to have a living will and let our loved ones know what our end of life wishes are. Having been an EMT myself I’m very familiar with this but when it hits close to home it’s a very different story.
I also think to myself, what if she DID have a DNI?
Or, what if the dogs hadn’t barked like they did? They told me something was wrong and I had better hurry up.
My Mother is the strongest woman I know and I’m so grateful to have more time with her.