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Help Me Think Through my Medical Directives (et al)!
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Minor Deity
Picture of Amanda
posted
I've gotten lost in "what ifs".

Six years ago before my major spinal surgery, I filled out a form at the hospital called a "Living Will", I think. Before that, I had a lawyer write my sons a Medical POA trying to describe scenarios I wouldn't care for on pain of death.

The truth is, though, that I'm not at all sure sure what any of the terms mean (The Differences: Medical Power of Attorney; Living Will (Medical Directives) .

Your choices, and why? How they differ and (most particularly) what situation either or both might cover. And just what are Medical Directives?

For some reason, I've got it in my mind I would not want to be deprived of fluids because dying of thirst seems so terrible. However, I guess - duh - that would mean an IV, and perhaps I wouldn't notice that I was dehydrated anyhow. Maybe I would have lost the sense of thirst.

Then too, ever since I've heard of "Locked In Syndrome", that seems like a most appalling fate (especially the rare cases who recover, even after after years). They mostly report full consciousness the whole time, and those able to blink, are able to communicate lucidly the whole time through someone patient enough to hold up a special letter board, so they can express themselves.

One wrote a book that way which was made into a movie, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly".

Being in such a state strikes me as sheerest hell (but still...a fate worst than death?)

Besides which I've heard of several instances where organs are transplanted from what turn out to be still living (apparently sentient) donors. HairRaising

I don't think anyone who hasn't witnessed a certain number of deaths (enough for a sampling) is really in a position to express such an informed decision. I'd think most natural deaths are unique - that whereas many occur in conditions where even watching them in a movie, would make one wince, others must be peaceful. Ones which would (unexpectedly) allow for communication and if only through blinking and having ones hands squeezed. Often possible after the dying seem long gone. (Picturing long lost son racing to estranged parent's deathbed - too late. But no! The parent actually shows signs of life and sentience, making the reunion, however fragile, very meaningful to both.)

COVID has raised the question of DNR all the more, with so many patients intubated and returning to life, using technology which must violate most Living Wills. If I understand the questions of living Wills, I guess many ICU intubation situations would not occur if the patient had signed such a document (and if it were respected). True?

Apart from the basic question about distinguishing the various end of life documents,
I really don't know enough to sign on for the various scenarios. I am having trouble imagining what they might mean in either direction, such that one would desperately wish to change it at the end (if one were able), if only they could.


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 14227 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
Picture of Amanda
posted Hide Post
I suppose most of you mature adults have already completed such Medical Wills, along with your original "Last Will and Testament".

I wonder what you expressed and your thinking behind it.
I recently ran into an article about it...I read recently (wish I remembered where) a fourth kind of end of life document reputedly imperative to insure your wishes are followed. One where ones doctor needs to have signed it, a copy of which ought to be left on the fridge (or equally conspicuous place), by older elders. That was so EMTs/Paramedics would know what to do when entering the home, also to insure the document reaches hospital management. Where should one leave ANY such documents to be sure they're accessible when needed?

Have any of you heard of such a document?
And where should such documents be kept and/or what validating measures are needed? (one or two witnesses and a notary? Lawyer?)

Most of all I'd really appreciate a discussion among those willing, about what stipulations you decided on for your end of life directives, what considerations you weighed?

My mother wrote a very restrictive DNR when she was 80ish and yet from then until her present "going on 100" she's been intubated and had her body spaces invaded multiple times, without which she would never have survived extremely serious infections.

But then again, maybe her past self would have preferred her original directives were honored considering she is presently blind, deaf and suffering from Alzheimer's. I think my childless SIL has made Mom's longevity into her personal project. (I'm not in the decision loop, though once or twice I brought up the original medical document - Mom sent one to all her children. So complicated.)


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 14227 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of wtg
posted Hide Post
Late to this thread.

This probably doesn't answer all of your questions, but maybe it's a decent starting point.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/hea...g-wills/art-20046303


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We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home. - Australian Aboriginal proverb

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 35654 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Forum Frequenter
Picture of AD
posted Hide Post
I have no advice, having made a LWT but given little thought to my own forthcoming frailties.

It's something we seem to neglect; our society is willing to talk endlessly about relationships & sex, but little of the unpleasant subject death, inevitable as it is, and having massive consequences for our nearest and dearest.


One thing I've decided on is a piece of music, Kathleen Ferrier singing 'What is Life' to be played at my wife's/my funeral. Not a dry eye...


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Every morrning the soul is once again as good as new, and again one offers if to one's brothers and sisters in life.

 
Posts: 340 | Location: Land of the Prince Bishops | Registered: 27 November 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of Daniel
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by AD:
It's something we seem to neglect; our society is willing to talk endlessly about relationships & sex, but little of the unpleasant subject of death, inevitable as it is, and having massive consequences for our nearest and dearest.


Well said.
 
Posts: 23860 | Registered: 31 March 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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