His last day

On 10th July 1998, we received a phone call at 6.30am to come to the hospital quickly. There was yet another incident where Finbar needed prolonged resusitation. We sat with him until the doctors’ rounds where his present condition was laid out to us. He had no gag, swallow or suck reflex. There was minimal brain activity.

He was being fed via a nasal tube straight into his stomach and a saline drip. He was being fed 8 mls every 2 hours. As he had no gag reflex, if/when he brought any of it back up, it would go straight into his lungs and he would ‘aspirate’ a medical term for asphyxiate or choke on his milk.  They would suction him and give him oxygen.  As a comparison, his twin was being fed 80-100 mls every 3 hours.

He needed suctioning on an hourly basis, it had started as 3 hourly when he was born, to get the fluid out of his breathing passages.

As we went over the last 11 days, I realised that my son was either going to die of starvation or choke to death. I won’t use the fancy medical terms that make it sound all pretty and nice.

Because of the constant fluid in his lungs, Finbar was unable to receive the full amount of oxygen he required for his body and his breathing was often reported as laboured. Each resusitation needed was taking longer and longer. This caused more brain damage. It was a spiral downwards.

As we held him, we would hold an oxygen funnel so he could receive pure oxygen. He needed it several times that morning.

His feeds were increased to 10 mls and he received his last feed at 10.30am.

We held him.  *I* sensed him starting to leave at 11.40 am, and believe he crossed over at 12.10. My ex husband believes that too.

The medical records state that at 12.10 pm, Finbar stopped breathing and as per my instructions, was not resusitated.

He was pronounced dead at 4.30 pm.

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