I work in a nursing home. I see very sick people every day, most of whom have lost their independence, their dignity, and their ability to think and make decisions. Some of these people are old and nearing the end of their lives. Some are young and had their whole lives ahead of them until something happened (a car accident, a brain tumor, a stroke, or an aneurysm) which took away their ability to live their lives normally.
I struggle when I see people laying in bed in a comatose state, staring at the ceiling with their mouth hanging open. I wonder why Heavenly Father doesn't take them "home" to Him. They have no quality of life here. They are being kept alive by a feeding tube and a ventilator. The aides change their diapers and bathe them every once in while. Sometimes they get visitors, sometimes they don't. Why? Why do they still have to be here on the earth? I don't understand. In cases like that, I am relieved for them when they do die and are finally at peace and free from their dysfunctional body. Death can be a happy thing that brings peace and closure.
This is because I know that Jesus Christ made it possible for us to live again. He died and was resurrected so that we may also be resurrected and return to live with Him and be with our families and loved ones forever. I know this is true. And I ache for those who are stuck in broken bodies, laying in a bed in a nursing home because I want them to be able to move on. I often imagine myself in their place and wonder what they would want.
If I ever get a brain injury of any kind and I'm in a coma, these are my wishes . . .
- If the prognosis does not look good and I am not showing any signs of progress (opening eyes, moving hands, some kind of consistent response to stimulation) . . . DNR! Do Not Resuscitate! I don't want to be kept alive by a feeding tube and a ventilator. I don't want to lay in a hospital bed for years staring at the ceiling. Let me go! I want to move on and be productive in the spirit world.
If I do show signs that I'm "still in there" this is what I need . . .
Physical touch:I need snuggles and hugs and kisses. I need to my hair to be stroked (unless it has all been shaved off from brain surgery). I need my arms to be stroked and hands to be squeezed. You don't have to rub my feet though. Well, actually, that might "wake" me up because my feet are super sensitive. I need someone's head on my shoulder, or someone's shoulder to lay on, or someone to lay by me. Joseph and Heather, you know what to do.
Music:I need music. All kinds of music. Change it up, because I get bored with the same stuff. I need contemporary, pop, indie, latin, country, and some classical. Sing to me! I don't care how out of tune it is. If you're way off, maybe I'll start singing along and trying to correct you! Play the guitar, the ukulele, harmonica, anything! Turn on your favorite playlists and tell me about your favorite music and why you like it so much. I love listening to the favorite music of the people I love.
Talk to me:I want you to talk to me like I'm a real person, not like I'm a baby. I might be able to understand you perfectly. But I also want you to write notes of what you told me so I can read them when I "wake up" later.
Keep a journal:Write down everything! I don't want to miss anything. I hate not knowing what is going on. Write down what happened, what the dr's said, what condition I'm in, who came to visit me, what they said. I love notes. You can even read the notes and journal entries to me.
Take pictures:Take pictures of me. I want to see what I looked like and my progress. Take pictures of people there to support me and help me. I love pictures! Take videos too!
Disclaimer: If I have a brain injury, I might do things I wouldn't normally do. I'm really sorry. I might be agitated or say weird, inappropriate, or embarassing things. I will probably stink and have really bad breath. My mouth will need to be cleaned and taken care of (that's the speech therapist talking).
I hope you understand now why I wrote this. It is on my mind every day. And I needed to write it somewhere accessible. I secretly hope that by working in a nursing home I'm earning brownie points and won't ever have to be a patient in a nursing home myself! But I have to trust Heavenly Father's plan for me. He knows what I need to experience in order to become the woman He needs me to become.