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Thursday, November 14, 2013

The End of Life

My eye is drawn to the numbers that flash on and off on the monitor. Over time I have been able to figure out what the numbers mean. On this machine the top one is the heart rate and this man’s rate seems a bit high to me. I think that means his heart is trying to over compensate for other problems. The next one down is the blood oxygen level. His is looking good. After that is blood pressure. Both numbers seem high but I don’t understand the implications of that. The number on the bottom of the monitor is the one I have been paying a lot of attention to. It is my friend’s breathing rate. He is hooked up to a ventilator that is making sure he gets enough oxygen into his blood stream and circulating around his body. Even if his blood pressure was next to nothing, the ventilator would move enough blood around his system to keep him alive. Today his breathing rate is in the 20’s. I’ve learned that the minimum set on the machine is 12 breaths a minute. Since the number is higher than 12, he is breathing on his own. When they take him off of the ventilator his lungs will continue to draw breath. This is good and bad.

Where there is life there is hope. I have always believed that. However a large part of my friend’s body does not work because cancer has destroyed much of it. His systems are breaking down. If God doesn’t have a miracle prepared for him, it would be better for his family if he stopped breathing quickly. The end of life is really sad, and especially hard on the families who wait by the bedside of a loved one. I have waited with family members for many days. It can be very hard. Sometimes the wait for that last breath can be excruciating.  

My friend passed away in the evening after the doctors removed the ventilator.

Please pray for his family and everyone who is facing The End of Life.

Peace, Pastor Bill

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