One of the hardest things about my job is watching families deal with elderly Mom or Dad. Dad is, lets say, in his 80's. He is in bad shape for various reasons. He isn't going to get better. In fact, he is going to get worse. He is worse today.
Here's the thing: he's full go. He is so fragile that if CPR was performed, several of his ribs would break. He would never get off the vent. In other words, its time to just keep him comfortable and enjoy the time that has left.
Of course thats not going to happen. Family is not ready to let Dad go. Daughter is crying during Dads current visit. Everybody else is tearful.
Dad says he feels fine. He sits on the ER cart getting treatment that anyone would find uncomfortable. It has become a habit for him to be brave for the family. He doesn't want the kids or his wife to suffer. When the doctors have asked him about resuscitation he went along with being a full go.
So Dad will keep coming in, spending repeated visits in ICU. Family will keep hoping that somehow he will get better. He won't. This will go on until one time he arrests. We can't revive him. Family is devastated.
They didn't get a chance to say goodbye. To tell him what a great Dad he was.