Last week I attended a large meeting at University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, interviewing researchers and doctors about their unique programs. Through Avid Design, Meredith Rose and I are creating digital content for their new U-M website and it was a superb opportunity to learn from these brilliant scientists.
While there, I was telling a few people about my Catastrophe–how Bob had been injured and suffered a TBI at work (Cisco Systems) and how just months later I caught a flesh eating bacteria, losing part of my leg and almost losing my life. One woman whose elderly mother had been taken to the Emergency Room the night before with breathing issues, said, “I need your book now!!”
Both of her parents were 80 years old and they had never talked about Living Wills, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Surrogates, End of Life Directives and other such terms. She said she’d tried to open the topic with them but could not get a response. As we were talking about Catastrophe, her cell phone rang and it was her mother’s doctor. He told her they could not oxygenate her mother’s body (80 percent) and needed to use an iron lung. I have learned while end of life measures often preserve the body, the quality of life suffers greatly. Where was the Living Will with her mother’s wishes at End of Life?
Another gentleman who lives in our condo told me when he asked his mother about end of life and whether she wanted to be cremated or have an expensive funeral, she was taken back, saying, “That’s my business–not yours.”
What about your parents? Your spouse? Your children? You?!! Have you sat down and discussed “what to do” with end of life plans? How long do you want to live? Would you want end of life measures such as feeding tubes or a ventilator to keep you alive? Do you want to be at home or in a hospital at end of life? Who will care for you and how much money will be allocated for such care?
To me, this discussion is far more important than where you’re going for dinner on Christmas! Things happen in life; there are no guarantees. And if you are not fully prepared, then you could have a major Catastrophe as we did.
Plan ahead and then move forward to fully live your life!
p.s. Also, if you want to send my blog link to friends and family, I’d appreciate it!