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Old 01-31-2010, 05:22 PM   #1
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nhflowerchild HB User
Moral dilemma...called an ambulance

Hi, everyone. My 54 year old husband was diagnosed Last Tuesday with Pancreatic Cancer. On thanksgiving day, his off and on abdominal pain (several years of it) became severe and constant. Since then he's lost 74 pounds and is unable to eat, just takes milkshakes.
He had his first round of Gemzar Wednesday, and did well. The oncologist also order MS Contin for the pain with dilaudid for breakthrough, and at first, it seemed to be working, we got through Thursday and Friday relatively pain free. Saturday, he was sleepy and somewhat confused when awake most of the day. I called his home health nurse, and went over the symptoms with her. We both felt it seemed to be his neurontin--which the oncologist increased from 300mg daily to 900 daily--was the culprit. He wasn't in much pain (about a 6) so he did not take breakthrough med, but did take his nightly MS Contin, and did not take the neurontin.
This morning about 5:30, he woke me with loud, labored, breathing that quickly became more labored, then down to almost no breathing. We had discussed dnr and living will. He wanted no tubes, etc, but didn't think he wanted a dnr just yet. His pupils were fixed, he could not respond to me. I had to decide to call 911 or not. Broke my heart. For the first time I cried. I called the home health nurse, and she felt I should either call 911 or prepare for him to go. I called 911, and gave him cpr and mouth to mouth until the ambulance arrived.
At the ER, they gave him narcon (?) and he came around and was lucid for about 20 minutes. The er doc said he felt my love's liver was not working properly (probably a metastatic site, but don't know), and did not metabolize the morphine/dilaudid meaning he was in an overdose state.
He is now in Intensive Care, and I just came home to care for our 'fur baby' dogs and cat. He is much improved but still not able to carry on a clear conversation and has the 'staring' eyes.
And I have torn myself up all day whether I caused his life to be saved so he can die after more pain from the cancer.
I can't stand it. We were recently transferred here, and have no close friends/relatives within a thousand miles. I need some friendly words and guidance!!!! Or a whipping, whatever is proper.

 
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:34 PM   #2
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Location: Inola Okla
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angel011089 HB User
Re: Moral dilemma...called an ambulance

Quote:
Originally Posted by nhflowerchild View Post
Hi, everyone. My 54 year old husband was diagnosed Last Tuesday with Pancreatic Cancer. On thanksgiving day, his off and on abdominal pain (several years of it) became severe and constant. Since then he's lost 74 pounds and is unable to eat, just takes milkshakes.
He had his first round of Gemzar Wednesday, and did well. The oncologist also order MS Contin for the pain with dilaudid for breakthrough, and at first, it seemed to be working, we got through Thursday and Friday relatively pain free. Saturday, he was sleepy and somewhat confused when awake most of the day. I called his home health nurse, and went over the symptoms with her. We both felt it seemed to be his neurontin--which the oncologist increased from 300mg daily to 900 daily--was the culprit. He wasn't in much pain (about a 6) so he did not take breakthrough med, but did take his nightly MS Contin, and did not take the neurontin.
This morning about 5:30, he woke me with loud, labored, breathing that quickly became more labored, then down to almost no breathing. We had discussed dnr and living will. He wanted no tubes, etc, but didn't think he wanted a dnr just yet. His pupils were fixed, he could not respond to me. I had to decide to call 911 or not. Broke my heart. For the first time I cried. I called the home health nurse, and she felt I should either call 911 or prepare for him to go. I called 911, and gave him cpr and mouth to mouth until the ambulance arrived.
At the ER, they gave him narcon (?) and he came around and was lucid for about 20 minutes. The er doc said he felt my love's liver was not working properly (probably a metastatic site, but don't know), and did not metabolize the morphine/dilaudid meaning he was in an overdose state.
He is now in Intensive Care, and I just came home to care for our 'fur baby' dogs and cat. He is much improved but still not able to carry on a clear conversation and has the 'staring' eyes.
And I have torn myself up all day whether I caused his life to be saved so he can die after more pain from the cancer.
I can't stand it. We were recently transferred here, and have no close friends/relatives within a thousand miles. I need some friendly words and guidance!!!! Or a whipping, whatever is proper.
Love is a funny thing hun it can lead you were sometimes u know u shouldnt go but I believe u did the right thing because when its all said and done u know u loved him dearly and did all u could to give him one more day of hope rather for him or u giving up doesnt come natrually so please dont beat ur self up Ill keep u all in my prayers please feel free to write me anytime even if just to talk
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:50 PM   #3
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nhflowerchild HB User
Re: Moral dilemma...called an ambulance

Quote:
Originally Posted by angel011089 View Post
Love is a funny thing hun it can lead you were sometimes u know u shouldnt go but I believe u did the right thing because when its all said and done u know u loved him dearly and did all u could to give him one more day of hope rather for him or u giving up doesnt come natrually so please dont beat ur self up Ill keep u all in my prayers please feel free to write me anytime even if just to talk
Thank you soooooo much for your kind words, . I've been so strong 'for him' and I'm just falling apart right now. I needed to hear your kind words. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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If all the world's a stage, I want to operate the trap door.
-- Paul Beatty

 
Old 01-31-2010, 08:29 PM   #4
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Re: Moral dilemma...called an ambulance

A whipping? Nah, you need a hug. What you are going through is so rough. It has to be overwhelming to feel you are the one who is making the decisions for someone to live or die. You are just reacting like most of us would in your position. It is heart wretching to sit by and not do anything if you don't think it is time yet. Believe me, when it's his time, calling 911 won't prolong his life.
My best friend collapsed in her husband's arms and stopped breathing. He screamed her name and she took in a breath. She was in the hospital for 3 weeks, mostly because they didn't know why she lost all her muscle enzymes and couldn't move her legs. She returned home and lived for another 6 weeks. She wanted that time.She wasn't ready to go. Sometimes you just have to go with the way things are. You called 911 because you were carrying out what you thought your husband's wishes are. DNR not yet. Apparently he wasn't ready to go. Just remember to tell him everything you want to say and give him permission to go if that is what he chooses. When he passes, knowing you are at peace is really important.

 
Old 02-01-2010, 08:19 AM   #5
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Re: Moral dilemma...called an ambulance

Oh I so agree...you certainly don't need a "whipping"...you need lots of hugs and support.

Here's the thing...in emergencies, we do the best we can for our loved ones with the information we have at that given moment. That means we sometimes look back and say "gee, maybe I should have done something differently." But hindsight is always 20/20, and present sight is imperfect at its best.

Whatever happens now, you need to be there by his side as much as possible. Even if he's in a semi-coma, he'll know that you're there. I wish you didn't have to go through this alone, but in the end, it'll comfort you to know you did everything you could to make sure he was comfortable and not alone. If you have a relative or close friend who can come stay with you, then contact that person and ask for help. If not, talk to the doctors and especially the nurses. They can be wonderfully supportive too. And of course, the people on this board will be here for you, too.

I, too, will keep you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers.

Ruth

 
Old 02-01-2010, 05:47 PM   #6
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nhflowerchild HB User
Re: Moral dilemma...called an ambulance

Thank you so much for the assurance! I just got home from the hospital, he was moved out of Intensive care and into a regular room this evening. He was much better, only short periods with confusion/possibly hallucinations, not sure.
We saw a palliative care doctor today who was the first to mention length of life to my husband. I think he was shocked to hear 'months.' I didn't realize until then that he didn't realize it. Also, he was emphatic that he does not want a DNR yet, so that helped. He did do a living will.
__________________
Sue

If all the world's a stage, I want to operate the trap door.
-- Paul Beatty

 
Old 02-02-2010, 06:24 AM   #7
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Location: Inola Okla
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angel011089 HB User
Re: Moral dilemma...called an ambulance

Quote:
Originally Posted by nhflowerchild View Post
Thank you so much for the assurance! I just got home from the hospital, he was moved out of Intensive care and into a regular room this evening. He was much better, only short periods with confusion/possibly hallucinations, not sure.
We saw a palliative care doctor today who was the first to mention length of life to my husband. I think he was shocked to hear 'months.' I didn't realize until then that he didn't realize it. Also, he was emphatic that he does not want a DNR yet, so that helped. He did do a living will.
I am very glad to hear hear he is doing better and in a reg room hun ill keep u in my prayers and I hope he keeps doing better your new friend Angel
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:20 AM   #8
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smadie HB User
Re: Moral dilemma...called an ambulance

Contact Hospice and give your hubby some time to adjust to what he is facing. My mom died at home on Hospice care after a 3 1/2 year battle with Pancreatic Cancer two years ago. She had the whipple at Johns Hopkins followed by 6 months of chemo. She supposedly was diagnosed early? Unfortunately for most people there is no cure for this cancer and even if caught early for most people it does come back. My mom was living her life pretty fully up till the last 3 weeks of her life. The end was horrific. Leave nothing unsaid. You are lucky to have the time to say good-bye. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but this cancer is brutal and you will need help and support. Hospice will be able to help you with pain management and offer assistance in other areas. My mom wanted to die at home and I'm thankful we were able to at least give her that. My heart goes out to you and your family. I will keep you all in my prayers.

My own husband is recovering from Stage IV oral cancer, never smoked a day in his life. I don't know what our future holds and I am only 47. We have had the "tough" talks and have left nothing unsaid. I pray my husband's cancer is gone forever. He went through 7 weeks of daily radiation to his throat, 7 weeks of chemo and was basically kept alive for 4 months by a feeding tube in his stomach.

Monday morning quarterbacking won't do you any good. Keep the lines of communication with your husband open as much as you can.

 
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