Tough Talks Book Series

One of the Toughest–Conversations about End of Life

Discussions about death are always difficult.  A good friend of mine is having crucial conversations with hospital personnel about her elderly mother, who has had numerous strokes in the last several months. It was mentioned that her mother might need a feeding tube. My friend was unaware of the ramifications this action would have on “Do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders that her mother had previously signed. Since her mother lived out of state, but was admitted to a local hospital here, the hospital did not have the DNR order.

Laws may vary in each state. And this is NOT a website offering legal advise. You must see an attorney for that information. This website is about the human side of difficult conversations.

I am aware from my own experiences with my mother’s passing, that these conversations about feeding tubes were vital. They were so packed with emotion that it was difficult to grasp what was happening and the decisions that needed to be made with a clear mind.  I needed to be the advocate to make sure her final wishes were honored, her DNR. Fortunately, I had many family members who offered total support during this time.

We all had many tough talks about end of life issues over the years with Mom.  Of course, many tears were shed. But the fact that we had those tough talks with her made the decision I had to make a bit easier.

The emotions felt (the E in the Tough Talks® CHECK® system) impact how we react in tough times. They make it difficult to remember exactly what is said and what steps must be taken.

I recommend that, during these difficult conversations with hospitals and doctors,
you have a friend with you who can be your note keeper. When your emotions are so raw and your heart so broken, it is almost impossible to function the way you must. It’s helpful to have someone who can think straight, take notes, and remind you of what needs to be done.

Thanks, Mom, for making my hospital tough talk a bit easier. You always were my angel.

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