Thursday, April 16, 2009

National Healthcare Decisions Day

Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day to focus on your decisions regarding end-of-life care. Hospice of the Western Reserve has asked for bloggers to donate space on their blogs today to discuss their end-of-life wishes. I've been thinking a lot about this over the last week, and I realized I've never had this discussion with my husband, or any of my family members. Part of it may be the idea that discussing such an unpleasant topic is uncomfortable for people. Most people don't want to dwell on the thought of their own demise. But since we don't live forever, we really should stop and think about what we want done.

For me, the thought of being kept alive artificially holds no allure. Medical advances being what they are, I trust that doctors should know what constitutes a vegetative state. And I don't want to be in that state. Nor do I want my husband or family to have to decide what to do. I feel that I am the best person to decide what I want to happen to myself, and I would rather decide that now. While I am not 100% comfortable stating my exact wishes here, rest assured it is included in my planning.

It is important for me to maintain dignity throughout the process. I should be the one to make the plan, not someone for me. And not, God forbid, someone for political gain as in some of the more well-known cases.

I used this link to prepare an Advanced Directive to prepare for such an event. And I am going to sit down with my husband so we can discuss our wishes together. But it doesn't stop there. I also plan on sharing this information with my family (Mom, Dad, etc.) so they know my wishes as well. The idea of a tug-of-war over top of my hospital bed is enough to make me crazy, and I will not allow that to happen. Not if I can help it.

I hope that by posting this, it inspires you to have this conversation as well. It is so critically important, but it takes a very small amount of time.

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