Reflections of a critical care nurse
“Grandma Lilly is 87-years-old and in the ICU. She’s on a ventilator with her wrists restrained to the side of the bed. Grandma can barely see because her eyes are puffy: scleral edema. And her heart races: 140 beats per minute. Her blood pressure is low and Levophed and vasopressin drips are ordered.
Her family can’t talk to her as she phases in and out of existence. For her, end-stage renal disease means dialysis. And respiratory failure equals ventilator. She’s a brittle diabetic with uncontrolled fluctuating blood sugars.
Grandma Lilly can’t eat, and we feed her by a tube that goes into her nose and to her stomach. Tomorrow, she gets a PEG tube surgically inserted to feed her. She’s been on the ventilator too long.
Next comes the ICU package: ventilator, dialysis, pressers, restraints, trach, PEG tube.
Any second of clarity or awareness is pure brutality. There’s no pretty ending to this torture except through death.
Poor Grandma Lilly.”
She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “Go quiet into the night.” (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2019/01/go-quiet-into-the-night.html)