Had another one of those interminable discussion with a patient’s son about advance directives that started by him saying, “I don’t want anything done, just want a little shock for her.”
Oy. “A little shock” — defibrillation — is never as simple as just plugging in the zapper and pushing the red button. Oh no. You have to do other things, like CPR, and ventilation and drugs. There isn’t actually much point in defibrillating, except maybe the quickly passing sense of actually doing something for the patient, without the chest compressions, the drugs and the ventilation. There is no such thing as non-invasive Acute Cardiac Life Support.
All of which I explained to him in careful, excruciatingly painful detail, careful not to use words of greater than two syllables nor technical jargonese.The son, God bless him, was attentive and serious, but clearly out of his depth. Round and round we went. He asked questions. I answered as clearly as possible. I used every technique short of interpretative dance and sock puppets.
In the end, I’m not sure if he even vaguely understood anything at all, except he decided his father should be a full code.*
Maybe I should’ve used the sock puppets. With the interpretive dance.
*That is, do every and all heroic measures.