My 77 year old father was diagnosed with an AAA in 1988. He is not a candidate for elective repair due to severe CAD and PVD. Therefore, when the aneurysm ruptures, it will be a catastrophic and emotionally charged event for him and our family. He will not be submitting to emergency surgical repair, and his physician is aware of his wishes and his Living Will.
How can I, an R.N., help my family cope with the crisis that I fear may happen one day soon? How can I make certain that my father is kept as comfortable as possible while he dies from a ruptured aneurysm? Once he asked me if there would be pain at that time, and I could not bring myself to tell him just how severe it could be. I am plagued by a feeling of inadequacy and a fear that I might not be there to assist my father during his medical crisis. I think I really need to talk to someone who could help me be better prepared.