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Important food for thought

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Important food for thought

I had a really scary situation occur yesterday. I am super sick and went into a slight bit of respiratory distress which required an emergent trio to the ED (Emergency Department), in a podunk little town I happen to be in whilst visiting my mom.  On the way to the ED, I was trying to get in touch with my legal healthcare proxy (someone who can legally make decisions for me, if I cannot make them for myself) because I am a responsible person I have had one for years who is in the medical field, the only issue being that he was operating and couldn't take my calls. So, out of breath, I turn to my mom, who is already freaked out, and I explain to her, with the little breath that I have left, what I want done, what I don't, my preferences for care, MD's, etc.  As I was already a little anxious due to not breathing, and seeing that my mom was not computing anything I was saying I had a brief "oh shit" moment and it came to me.  I actually wasn't all that responsible just having a health care proxy.  


Now, I am not someone who is chronically ill, I am a pretty healthy, active gal, so I thought I was on top of my game even having a legal proxy.  But, this is what happens, unexpected emergencies and whomever is with you or next of kin gives the go ahead, and the HCP's will treat you as they see necessary...which may not correlate with what you want.  So, I am not telling everyone to run out an get a legal healthcare proxy (because I know you won't) but discuss these things with your family and loved ones, so that in the case of a sudden emergency, they know that you want/don't want a breathing tube, chest tubes, a certain operation, blood transfusions, etc. OR just have the discussion to know that you want EVERYTHING done!  This will also open the conversation with your entire family and friends...not the most exciting conversation, but it is so important. So many people have no idea what their parents might want in the case of a major stroke/heart attack/aneurysm/etc. And, as you should know their wishes, if they just want a comfortable death and not all of the interventions that we are able to perform that can extend lives, but not necessarily bring them back to being the mom/dad/husband/sibling/friend you remember.


Everything ended up being OK for me, but it was such a wake up call to me that I needed to be vocal with everyone in my family, it's not a secret the interventions that I don't want, but I just never really talked about it, yet I am always encouraging patients and their family members to do so.  I hope that some of you make a call, have a glass of wine/coffee/tea/whatever you need, and have the conversation....or even just think about what you want done....do you want your life saved but you won't be able to live the same life? It's something you need to think about, and talk to your HCP if you want, post questions here, get your thoughts together and have that convo!!!


Don't mean to be a Debbie Downer today, but I just wanted to get that off my chest :)


Yours in Good Health!


B

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