When it comes to the recovery of a patient, no matter how small an improvement is, there is still a level of improvement that is taking place. Something as subtle as the blink of an eye can be a monumental milestone because in that split second you are witnessing a speck of light in a world that had the possibility of remaining in complete darkness.
A Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment is a legal document that is signed by a physician or nurse practitioner, outlining the type of medical care her patient should be given if critically ill. Unlike a DNR, which is active only for a particular hospitalization, the POLST is valid anywhere and anytime, unless the patient rips it up.
"You want to get a Do Not Resuscitate tattoo on your chest?" I asked, as one might say to a friend whose goal was to lose 50 pounds. You'd support it, but you knew it would never happen. "No, I have one," she said quietly, pulling her shirt aside modestly to show the skin over her heart muscle. I stared at it unbelieving.