Although he wasn't going to be my patient, I had to ask what happened. She said he had been driving west on I-10 near one of the Tallahassee exits when a car pulled into his lane causing him to swerve out of control. He wasn't able to regain control of his car and it began to roll. At some point during the roll he was thrown out of the car, landed face first on the pavement and skidded to a stop about 70 feet from where he had first landed. She said the pictures of him taken prior to his surgery showed an almost bare skull where his face had been and his jaw and right cheek bone had been fractured. I don't say this as an "I told you so" by any means, but he had not been wearing a seatbelt.
Partially out of curiosity, but mostly because I had some spare time and thought I'd help some of the busier nurses with their patients, I decided to look in on the 40 year old patient. The nurse was right. The reconstruction was incredible. She was also right in that he will probably never come out of his vegetative state.
I was told that he has a wife and four teenage kids. When I heard that all I could think of is that I personally would rather have died in the accident than to live like that for the rest of my life. I would hate to put my husband and kids through that.
Let me just say here that I know many of my posts may seem cold and without feeling when it comes to my recounting the facts of what I have seen at work. But I have seen nurses who get too emotionally involved with their patients. They don't usually last very long in this field. I, on the other hand, have chosen to divorce myself (as best I can) from the natural emotions of seeing someone suffer physical and mental anguish of body and soul. For the most part I think I am successful at it. Sometimes it gets to me though. This situation sure got me thinking about how much I need to look back over my Living Will to make sure it says what I want it to say.