Critical care units for heart disease, surgery, brain injuries, or just overwhelming illness are very special settings. Most patients are so sick that they require all manner of tubes and treatments. It can be quite intimidating. Try to find a few identifiable people — your nurse, for example — and have one of them tell you how the system works. You will usually find that it makes sense, once you have a "translator."
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|Copyright © 1999, 2006 by Joanne Lynn. This extract from the Handbook for Mortals by Joanne Lynn, M.D. and Joan Harrold, M.D. is used with permission. To learn more about improving care at the end of life visit the main web site for Americans for Better Care of the Dying.|