A Crucial Decision

It’s decision time

The man is airlifted to hospital. There, in ICU, he is stabilised. Emergency surgery is performed on the lacerations at the back of his head.

Because of the damage to his spinal cord his diaphragm doesn’t work. He’s kept alive by a machine pushing air in and out of his lungs. Because air now bypasses his vocal chords he can’t speak.

The injuries are bad. Very bad. And permanent.

The doctor and the man’s wife come to his bedside. A conversation takes place. The man no longer recalls that conversation. His wife certainly does.

The man has a choice. And the options could not be starker. On the one hand he can live. Paralysed from the neck down. Dependent on a machine for breathing. The other choice is to ask for the machine to be turned off. Let nature take its course. Does he “go on” or does he simply “let go”?

The man doesn’t hesitate. He cannot speak but his eyes widen. His jaw sets. His intentions are clear. Unequivocal. He goes on. He chooses life. He wants to live.

He has no idea of the challenges that lie ahead. He has no idea of the massive challenges his family will face. Undaunted, he says “Yes” to life. To living. More than anything he chooses to be with the three. The three he loves above all else.

Next time:

I take inspiration from John McArthur, the lemonade maker

Still to come:

  • I learn to talk
  • I eat chalk
  • The nurse who skipped for joy

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3 thoughts on “A Crucial Decision

  • Jack Ross
    23/05/2016 at 5:47 am

    Hi Gerard, I love this post. Keep allowing us to see this world through your eyes, its really grounding for clinicians and fantastic to hear a strong consumer voice about such pivotal moments. It doesn’t get more important than this.

  • Kate Thwaites
    25/05/2016 at 7:00 am

    Hi Gerard – thanks
    for the opportunity to be involved , great read and set up – i have never blogged so am looking forward to hearing and learning about the next parts of the journey – Kate Thwaites

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