Families Must Deal With End-of-Life Issues Before It?s Too LateGUEST POST – When I was growing up, my parents laid down the guidelines of behaviors and responsibilities, conveyed both explicitly and implicitly.
Like many families, we were busy living life to the fullest. I never heard of the phrase ?living will? or giving ?advance directives to physician? until a few years ago.
My folks told me about elderly relatives and friends they knew who ?lingered? in a vegetative state, and said they didn?t want to be artificially hooked up to machines if there was no hope of a solid recovery.
My dad lived to age 87, and was up and about until the last three weeks of his life. Thankfully, he died with the quiet dignity he wanted.
In August 2003, I was a pedestrian crossing a street in Wichita when a man and his wife were gawking and talking inside their car ? and they ran a red light and hit me.
The impact broke my leg and I had internal injuries, including bruised ribs.
My mom saw the accident from a distance. She was brought to the hospital to see me ? but the sight of me being banged up and bruised was too much for her to take.
She had a massive stroke inside my hospital room ? and she died four months later at age 81.
I wasn?t able to see her much during that time.
I was discharged and forced to do my recovery elsewhere, more than 200 miles away.
The doctors told me even if I was there at her bedside 24/7, there was nothing more I could do.
I did permit my mom?s twin sister in Colorado to advise me on the surgeon wanting to insert a stomach feeding tube.
It was done; but my mom did, in fact, ?linger? for four months.
Although distant famliy members hoped in vain for a monumental miracle, it was only a four-month postponement of agony and the inevitable passing.
That somewhat vindicated me.
I think the phrase ?living will? scares people.
Society needs to realize families have pacts.
If final guidelines were described as ?written directives, pacts or wishes? ? more people might document the wishes they assume will be carried out within the family.
James A. Marples,
Source: The Kansan.com