Mom is in the hospital and we don't know what she would want
December 9, 2011 9:06 AM Subscribe
My mom is in the hospital on a ventilator. She went in three days ago. Things are not looking very good at this point. They've tried weaning her form the vent 3 days in a row with no success. She has never filled out any advance directive paperwork. My siblings, stepfather, uncle and I have all heard various stories from her over the years for what she would want in this kind of situation.
Yesterday, they reduced her sedation so we could speak with her. She was very agitated, in distress and in pain. Eventually we asked "do you want this to stop". She nodded. The problem is that we don't believe that nod can be construed as an informed decision because she has been sedated for the majority of her time in the hospital.
A big problem here is that my mother always specifically avoided doing anything involving end of life planning. There's no orders on what she would wish in this situation. There are no burial arrangements. There's even a huge argument as to whether she would want to be buried or cremated.
So I'm looking for advice on how we should proceed. Do we ask for them to completely remove her from sedation so we can attempt a real conversation to ask her what she wants? Do we take a vote? Draw straws? Obviously, this is emotionally draining for all of us. We've been at her bedside in the ICU since Monday and are all incredibly exhausted. Thanks