* * Anonymous Doc

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"I'm having trouble breathing. Look, the machine says my oxygen saturation is low."

"Yes, it does. I'm going to get the nurse to suction some mucus out of your airway."

"Yes, the number keeps going down."

"I think watching the monitor is making you anxious."

"It is."

"I just want to make sure. My chart says DNR/DNI. That means if you continue to have trouble breathing, we are not going to put in a breathing tube. Do you understand what that means? Is that still what you want?"

"No breathing tube."

"The doctor explained that you have a significant amount of disease and that it isn't getting better?"

"Yes. The number keeps going down."

"I know. We're going to suction some mucus out. The oxygen mask should be helping you a little."

"Yes, but the number makes me nervous."

"I think we should shut off the monitor and that might help you feel a little more relaxed. You can use the PCA pump to give you morphine. You'll feel more comfortable."

"Am I dying?"

"Did you have this discussion with your doctor?"

"Yes, but I want you to tell me. Am I dying?"

"Right now, I want to get some of the mucus out of your airway."

"Am I dying?"

"Hopefully not tonight."

"But I'm dying?"

"Your cancer is very advanced. Unfortunately, this is the progression of the disease. We can't reverse the disease at this point. It's hard to predict exactly how much time your body can continue to fight, but what we can do is make you as comfortable as we can and hopefully the suction will improve your breathing."

"But I'm dying."


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