When Susan arrived nurse Kelly told her that the husband was doing worse.
All day long relatives and friends arrived at the hospital, the staff didn't restrict the amount of guests. They filled his room & spilled out into the hall. They set up shop in the waiting area just outside the ICU. There were coats and bags and food and Starbucks and Wild Bill's new girlfriend, Harriet.
The husband recognized everyone and spoke as much as he was able to, using short sentences. He wasn't happy with the IVs, blood pressure cuff or compression cuffs on his legs and fidgeted with everything. He also tried to lie with his arms behind his head, as if he were in a hammock. Because the IV was inserted very close to the crook of his right arm he had to keep the arm straight, any time he bent it the IV machine would beep and OCCLUSION WARNING would scroll across the monitor. It became the job of anyone who sat at his right side to hold his hand and keep the arm from moving. This was a full time position.
Late in the afternoon the Physician Assistant explained that the husband's organs were shutting down. Susan let this information soak in to her brain. Her follow up question was worthy of a five year old, 'He won't be coming home?' The PA told her that it was unlikely he would be well enough to go anywhere, but she may wish to consider hospice as an option.
Susan thanked him for the information.
Even though the information sucked, she was actually thankful to have it. Later, her daughter would tell Susan that knowing is better than worrying.
Two hours later the PA sent Susan's little sister to retrieve her from the restroom.
He explained that the husband's blood pressure has been dropping rapidly and he didn't know why. Susan will have to make a decision as to what, if anything, she wanted to do to keep him alive. He told her that they could insert a port in his neck which would administer blood pressure drugs directly into his jugular. She immediately thought of his daughters who would be arriving the next day and asked if this might buy him 36 hours, but the PA was not guaranteeing anything. She asked if the port would hurt or add to his discomfort in any way. He explained how it would be done, that it would create a pinching sensation and then probably be something of an annoyance afterward.
Susan got on the phone with the husband's eldest daughter. They were both in agreement. Susan asked if she would call her younger sister while Susan returned to the PA and signed the DNR.
Susan signed the paperwork standing at the nurses station with the husband's visitors all around her. She was thankful to have them there.
At 10 pm Susan was shot and ready to go home but her daughter wanted to stay. So they did, till 2:30 am.