A friend of mine, Rita, is staying at a long term care facility. She was moved there a few days ago from the hospital she was at for seven weeks. No one knows when she gets to go home, something she desperately wants. Rita lost muscle mass and lots of weight from her stay in the hospital and needs daily rehab to rebuild her strength. Lying in bed for weeks at a time will do that.
Rita has had health issues for many years. She takes 17 different medications everyday! I don’t know what they are because its none of my business, but I do know she has a pacemaker and takes blood pressure medication. Rita is 20 years older than me. Her current situation got me to thinking about my life and what I want as far as healthcare.
I decided to tell my oncologist, who I have an appointment with tomorrow for my three month checkup, that I want “do not resuscitate” written in my chart. If my heart stops for whatever reason, I want to “go.” I don’t want to take endless drugs with all their side effects in order to live and eventually wither away. I don’t want to stay in a hospital again, short term or long term.
The way I see it is: I am doing everything I can to stay healthy. I eat a healthy, a vegan diet; I exercise daily, meditate and do my best to keep my stress levels down. At the same time, I know dying is part of life. Someday I will croak from something, whether its natural causes, an accident or possibly pissing someone off. LOL! My focus is to enjoy life, be happy and grateful for the privilege of seeing another day. I don’t want to end up croaking in a hospital or long term facility.
Do you have a living will or advanced directive? You do not have to wait to get sick to fill out the form. Doing so will help your doctor and family know what you want in case you can’t speak for yourself. It will also alleviate any guilt your loved ones might feel if they have to choose for you.
In the case of my friend, she wants to stick around, no matter what and I respect her decision. If I were in her shoes, not so much.
p.s. Rita is not my friends name. I changed it to protect her privacy.