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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Five Wishes

Two more days til I have major surgery and I'm keeping my mind off it by staying busy. Already rearranged the living room...twice. Did a 4 mile hike. Enjoyed a scrumptious "last meal" dinner with my husband at a favorite restaurant (last meal because I won't be able to swallow solid foods for months after the surgery...which is not entirely a bad thing.) Went for a beautiful and leisurely afternoon drive in the sunny and lushly green countryside. Stopped at a roadside custard stand and treated ourselves to a chilled and tasty raspberry custard cone. Framed some recent family photos. Sewed a new pillow for adirondeck chair. Installed extra shelving in the tool room. And finally, I set aside some quiet time for reflection, personal thoughts and...filling out a health care directive. Oh ya...can I knock the fun out of a party or what?

Stick with me here and...doom and gloom aside, I think you may find this interesting. I never even knew exactly what a health care directive was until my husband and I did some research on it. We found something that I think is important to share with all of you because let's face it...ya never know when you're gonna kick the bucket. Many of us have made a "bucket list"...trekking to Macchu Picchu, hang-gliding over the Alps, sailing the Greek Isles, exploring the Grand Canyon or whizzing along a zip-line above a tropical rain forest. But how many of us have  provided written directives about how we wish to be cared for in our final days? Granted, that's not nearly as thrilling as following your guru to an ashram in India or kayaking the Amazon.

But if you think of a health care directive as a greased zip line to a peaceful afterlife...you might find this information worthwhile. We've all heard of the living will. Well, that's been improved upon with what they call a durable power of attorney advanced health care directive. Yet there's another health care directive available today in most states that offers patients and their loved ones a dignified, compassionate and easily understood plan of action that walks people through the steps of how they'd like to be cared for in the event of serious illness or injury.

This document is called the Five Wishes. It allows you to control how you want to be treated if the inevitable happens. It covers your personal, emotional and spiritual needs as well as your medical wishes. It was inspired by a fellow who worked in a hospice run by Mother Teresa. I'm not going to delve into all the particulars of the Five Wishes but I strongly recommend you look up information about it online.

The really cool part about the Five Wishes is that it gives you a chance to express your own up-close-and personal thoughts in a clear, friendly, almost conversational manner. And it relieves your loved ones of some degree of stress and worry. It talks about forgiving others, making amends, even organizing your own memorial service. (Did somebody say organize? I'm on it.) It's a down-to-earth way of handling serious and emotional subject matter that most of us would rather avoid. It even provides a section for you to write down how you'd like to be remembered. In the grand scheme of things, it's your opportunity to finally get the last word. As for me, I've had the time of my life.

OK. Enough said. Just thought I'd pass this along as a community service. Til next time, my faithful, kind-hearted, lovely, dear and brilliant readers.

P.S. And just in case my public service post has been a bit too depressing...here's a little tune to get your feet a tappin'.


Peter Allen - I Go to Rio
Uploaded by GaleMcDonald. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more. Sphere: Related Content

12 comments:

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is really good info - my sister and I were talking about this sort of thing just yesterday - you writing this the next day is the universe nudging me to get this stuff in order, as I have been Avoiding and Neglecting to do.......thanks so much! May you awaken from surgery feeling like: that's done! and now it's a brand new day!!!!!!!! All the best!

Coffeypot said...

Maybe during the lull between being wheeled into the surgery suite and being sedated you can reorganize the operating room. Just to take your mind of things.

You will be in my prayers, and I wish you a successful surgery. And I will be waiting when you return.

Jude said...

Thanks for this. I'll be praying for you on this one. I'm having my own much less major surgery next week...this thing doesn't count in Indiana, but heck, I might do it anyways.

Come through with flying colors!

ReformingGeek said...

Thanks for the info. I hope all goes well!

Cheeseboy said...

5 wishes sounds very interesting and something worth doing.

Good luck on your surgery. Sending good vibes your way.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I wish you the best as you recover from your surgery, and I thank you for this information--it's a new angle on something I've been meaning to look into for a while now.

Carolyn Elizabeth Blake said...

I will pray for you. I went thru a massive surgery some years ago..lost most of my liver to a tumor. Can I please advise you this? Discuss and arrange pain control BEFORE surgery. You have the defined patient right to adequate post surgical pain management. I suggest discuss have a morphine drip or whatever you and your doctors decide upon as appropriate. You can be comfortable through this. I would involve a pain control specialist prior to surgery, knowing what I know now. It's okay to ask to settle this now so you feel confident going in. You will be fine! We are praying for you.

Anonymous said...

I so love your sense of humor. The best of luck to you on your surgery. Lori

J.P. Travis said...

My wife and I debate this all the time. She says, "If I have no quality of life, pull the plug." I say, "No matter what, keep trying to save me. Even if I'm dead for a half hour, tell them to keep using the paddles. If nothing works and the doctors won't do anymore, then freeze me and maybe future doctors can save me."

Zabrinah said...

Great post!!!!!!

Very well-written, as always.

I'm definitely sending you good thoughts as you head into surgery!

Best wishes,

~Zabrinah

Betty said...

Just found your blog. Hoping that your surgery was successful and that you're now resting and healing.

Good post. I'm familiar with the Advance Directive here in the UK. Not enough people know about it, so hope plenty are reading your blog.

Sue said...

I had never heard of the "Five Wishes," though I have a regular AHCD. I'll have to look into that!

=)

PS. I'm glad to read that your surgery went well...and glad it's behind you at the time of this comment.

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