Now, as a physician, I’ve experienced all too many encounters with the DNR form. The very worst personal account came when after years of discussion with my Mother, my sisters outvoted me and Mom was actually like crucified hanging in limbo for 3 months before she died. I can’t begin to tell the amount of anguish this has caused me in the years since she died. As a physician, I knew, as did her doctor, that she could not survive and then even if she did, it would be to be brought back to where she was at the moment. I tried to explain this to them but they over ruled me. Poor Mom. I pray that she forgives me.
Over the years I have met all too many people who begged me to let them die or help them to die. Laws changed in those times and it was always illegal for me to do so, despite knowing their outcome. They had no family and no one to care for them; they knew the future and feared the pain they would have to experience before death, much less the inhumanity we medical people had set up for them, in our futile efforts to bring them back. Jack Kevorkian is my hero. He had the right idea, but I don’t know where he went wrong to cause him to go to prison. We are in fact inhumane, and we know it. Why should the end of life be so painful and so inhuman when it could be a peaceful wonderful experience…and legal.
So, I came close to the DNR form recently when I had to undergo an emergency surgery to remove my ascending colon. I even had a vision right at the time Dr. Testerman is explaining my options. It was a vision of a page…black on the left with a line with DNR..Signature…then the fold of the form, with Emergency Laparotomy on the line on the right side of the page…oddly it had a green background which I can still see when I close my eyes. Wait a second….is that the odor of blackberry blossoms? Is that the odor of new mown hay? Sure do love the taste of a good Margarita? Oh, to hold Mary in intimate contact one more time. Oh damn this is really really painful, I can barely hold on to consciousness, sign the damn DNR form Mary. I lost my Mom, my job at Lee Co. Hosp, the Hospital closed, the administrator stole $30,000.00 from me and I found my beloved had had an affair with one of the other docs, Patrick Molony M.D. And then I was finally forced to retire from a job that I dearly loved, was very competent at and now miss more than I can tell. All within the 3 month period. I have been in deep depression since that time and many psych people came to my rescue. Of note was Antoin Pitone M.D., he brought me thru the hell to an edge I could see over. There…that incredible sunset; there, that undescribably clear water that I feel I can hold my breath forever in; there, that unbelieveably soft skin of Marys loin….SIGN the damn DNR! Oh hell Doc (Testerman), lets get the show on the road. I think it was less than 5 minutes that I was on the table. Thank you God for one more chance to put this grief at rest. There’s that song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Louis Armstrong singing It’s a Wonderful World. Ok DNR form, maybe next time.