"You Don't Get Better Most of the Time" captured my attention.
The New York Times article by Paula Span presents the implications of initiating mechanical ventilation in patients reaching the end stage of their disease, such as emphysema, lung cancer, heart failure, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease. "Intubation," "final wishes" and "last words" caught my eye.
Dr. Michael Wilson made comments which were similar to what I'd experienced many times as a trauma nurse. Dr. Wilson is a Mayo Clinic critical care physician. In advance of intubation, he has adopted the humane practice of explaining to patients and family members, "You may later wake up and do fine, or this may be the last time to communicate with your family" - because intubated patients cannot talk and are typically sedated. He allows the family, time to consider the decision to intubate, the wishes of the patient and a time for "sharing words of comfort, reassurance and affection." He is quoted as saying, "Without that pause, I have stolen the last words from the patient." Since using this approach in over 50 cases, Dr. Wilson shared what patient and families told one another, "It's nearly always, 'I love you.'"
As a former Atlanta LifeFlight nurse, I witnessed many people at the bedside of a critically injured, dying loved one. They nearly always said, "I love you. I love you so much. I'll always love you," accompanied by tears of heart-brokenness.
Acutely aware of the brevity of life, over 24 years ago I was inspired to create simple yet elegant gifts that convey the power of love, caring and encouragement when shared with others. I like to say when you can't be with the one you love, a tiny symbol of your love can be - with a gift from The Loving Heart Collection. Each day, I'm rewarded by stories from customers.
We never know when our time to leave this world will come, and seldom do we have control over those last moments. In that spirit, I try to live in such a way that says, I love you.
In Hawaii there is a saying, "Live Aloha" - with kindness, compassion, respect, empathy, affection, togetherness, peace and love.
I prefer to say, "Live - I love you". - Jean
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