My father worked as a heavy machine operator. A coworker found him passed out in his machine 12-02-2018. My father reacted in a startled type of manner but his eyes remained shut and we were told he started to foam at the mouth and nose. We were told that my fathers heart showed no signs of blockage and that he suffered cardiac arrest. He underwent hypothermic cooling, was on ventilator and put in an induced coma. As they started weening him off sedation (propofol) we were told that we should start seeing signs of responsiveness. The signs we started to see, like eyes opening, feet/arm movement, were chalked up to being reflexes rather than signs of responsiveness. These ‘signs’ started becoming more prominent; more jerky movements and eye fluttering. An EEG was done which showed seizures. We were so upset. The signs we thought to be positive were in fact the opposite. We were never told that a common side effect to anoic brain injury were seizures. Had the medical staff been diligent in testing my father to rule this out in the first place then seizures may have been better controlled.
It is 01-14-2019 and my father is still in the hospital. He is currently on 5 different anti epileptic medications. His most recent EEG didn’t show any seizure activity. This was an improvement from his previous tests. The sedation was decreased and then cut off entirely for about a week. I’d visit in the hospital and would see his eyes halfway ajar but no signs of responsiveness. We were told that 2/5 medications are also sedatives in a way. This past Friday night we were told that my father started seizing but the signs were a lot more prominent than they were in the past. That same night, his estranged sister visited him in the hospital and a part of me can’t help but feel like that may have triggered something. I wonder if my dad can hear what’s going on and that’s what caused intense seizure. But then another part of me thinks that may just have been coincidental. Either way, we were very hopeful seizures were being controlled until this most recent episode. Doctors said seizure activity at this stage isn’t a good sign but at the same time this still can’t say whether he will recover or not. We are still unsure of how long my fathers brain was without oxygen, the doctors predict approximately 20 minutes. I should also mention that my father was weened off the ventilator and a trach was put in his throat to assist with breathing. Since Friday’s episode his trach has been reconnected to the ventilator because he was put back in a coma with propofol.
We had a family meeting with the doctor who explained two options. 1) Continue along the same path of testing (eeg’s/mri’s/anti epileptic meds), with a big chance of my father not having the type of revovery he’d be happy about.
2) Start making this comfortable in terms of preparing for paliative care and death
The doctor asked the question of not what we would want but what would my father want. I can’t make this decision. My father obviously wouldn’t want to be on a feeding tube or have someone clean his ass but I also know that he would want to continue fighting until there is no fight left. Gosh this is hard.