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Should I tell my family I am dying?

Ive had many medical issues lately. A couple weeks ago I experienced a large voltage electric shock. I felt stupid and played it off like it wasn't a big deal. And I thought if I was alive I was fine. I didn't realize my body was being damaged on the inside. I think the adrenaline made the pain less than it really was. The next day I had vomiting, I was so hot I slept on the tile floor, my skin all over my body hurt, burned, and itched. My body started bruising all over and I was having strange electric impulse type pains all over. I tried the mind over matter approach and told myself I was fine. Until my urine turned black. My boyfriend at the time who was a medic advised me to go to the ER, he thought I had a serious condition. Turned out I did have a serious condition where my bodies muscle was breaking down and poisoning my kidneys. I felt better after a 48ish hour hospital stay. I signed myself out of the hospital, completely ******* off the excellent Dr. I had. My stupid self wanted to go to work instead of focusing on getting better! So the Dr. wrote orders for me to get a home nurse to finish my meds and give me fluids at home if necessary. I had a lot of personal emotional stuff going on at the time. I literally shredded the orders from the doc and drank gallons of water. Even drinking baking soda water as a cure I found on the internet. (BAD IDEA!)
A couple days later I passed out and ended up back in the ER. My kidneys shut down, then were restarted, only to fail again. While focusing on my kidneys my heart was neglected (I believe due to my young age of 27) I recently had a bad habit of taking too many ADD meds and supplements with ephedrine in them. It took a big toll on my heart. And I stopped cold turkey when I went into the hospital. I went into Ventricular Fibrillation. After being revived. I am currently back in the ICU after being transferred in and out for the past 2 weeks. Regardless of what the doctors are advising, I can feel deep inside me my body is tired and shutting down. MY lungs have fluid in them, im having trouble breathing. And quite honestly im tired.

The bottom line is I dont believe I am going to ever walk out of this hospital. It sounds bad when I type it but im ok, ive made peace with it. Ive had a good life, traveled, loved, and most importantly I dont have many people to leave behind that would be bothered by my passing. Im thankful I dont have children or a large family or this would be more painful.

My question is: Do I tell my family im dying? At this point they think im fine, and I will be out of the ICU soon. They have this false hope because I have been stable enough to leave the ICU TWICE and then transferred back to the ICU when my condition declined. I know my body and im not getting better, im getting worse. Even my mental capacity has diminished. Im sleeping 20+ hours per day. At this point I am ready to go. And no im not suicidal or trying to die. Im realistic and I know how much my body can handle. Im afraid if I tell them its going to cause more harm than good. Plus it will stress me out (I know selfish!) but I just want to lay here peacefully. On the other hand I feel if I dont tell them they wont be prepared or they may feel worse after im gone. I dont want to cause anyone pain. Im sad thinking about it because I know its going to happen and I dont know what the right thing to do is.

Ive discussed this with 2 doctors here at the hospital and both think I should believe im going to live until the moment im not alive anymore. They believe once you decide you are dying soon, you will die. I get their point of view but if my health is declining every day for 2 weeks, its not going to get better. I barely have the energy to type this. And I wouldn't be if it wasn't important to me. I want my exit from this earth to be as peaceful as possible and cause the least amount of pain. I have already made my own funeral arrangements and pre-paid for everything so at least my family wont have to go through that headache. Would you tell your family if you were dying? Or would you let it happen naturally? Im afraid my last days will be focused on me dying rather than spending time together laughing and having a great time. I live far away from the people who im close with but we ***** and facetime every day. I dont want a room full of crying people when I leave this earth. I already feel guilty enough for my dummy decisions which landed me in this position. I selfishly dont want to feel any more guilt because im afraid it will eliminate the small possibility that I will recover (miracles happen!) I cant handle any more emotional stress at this time.

Any help or advice would be appreciated. I don't have anyone to look to for advice so unfortunately the internet is it.


- Respectfully, Erin Gerlach
2 Responses
547368 tn?1440545385
Hi Erin,

Your words bring tears to my eyes. I am sorry you are in such a medically complex situation. I'm going to tell you that I have been where you are - no not electrocuted - but certain my body was going to fail me and I would die. It was following a MVA that by all accounts I should not have survived. But this is not about me - it's about you.

I'm not going to tell you that you are wrong. I know nothing about you, your condition or are how you feel. I am going to tell you to not stop fighting - no matter how tired you may be. At 27 you can have many years ahead of you - good years once you are through all this medical trauma. So hang in there. I encourage you to talk to the hospital affiliated Minister, Chaplin or Rabbi - whatever your belief. They can offer great support and guidance no matter where you are coming from. I spent hours with a priest - and I've never been Catholic. He helped me immensely.  

That's not your question. Your question is should you tell your family. It's my opinion that your family should know the details of your medical condition and how you feel. How you feel is the important aspect of your situation. Reach out to the person you most trust in your family and have a conversation with them. Your physician may be involved and even make the call for you - or that Hospital Chaplin - however you are most comfortable.

If you were my sister I'd want to know. Other members may offer different suggestions. I'm hear of you need to talk.

My best to you.
~Tuck

547368 tn?1440545385
I've been hoping you would return to MH. I'm concerned and hope you'll let us know how you are doing.

Take Care,
~Tuck
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