Advanced Directive / Health Care Proxy
I finally updated my healthcare proxy.
I’ve noticed that most of the people around me don’t have one. An advanced directive isn’t the same thing as a healthcare proxy. If you’re going to do one or the other, I recommend a proxy because it entrusts your decisions to someone you designate to make decisions for you. You can do an Advanced Directive if you’d like to stipulate exactly what medical care you prefer. Otherwise, you can trust your named person to do it for you. Just don’t entrust this sort of thing with your brother-in-law Bob.
Because I’m not into privacy, Erika is my primary, and my favorite cousin is the alternate. I like to joke and imagine the doctors huddled in my ICU room. “So, what does X want to be done?” Either Lynette or Erika will look them in the eye and say, “He was adamant that he wanted no life-sustaining artifices, but he insisted on a coffee colonic each morning at 4 a.m. Oh! And to be defibrillated in the nether regions twice a day. Set the phaser on maximum, please.”
I imagine everyone knows my general wishes: I don’t mind CPR once or twice if it results in a positive life afterward. I never want to be airlifted; whatever happens, I want it to happen near my home and life. I don’t want to be sustained for any period other than briefly. And if I need to be defibrillated in the nether regions just for amusement, please go for it. It’s exactly what I’d want you all to tell the doctors if only to see their reaction.
It’s been quite a while since my emergency surgery. I’ll never forget that Monday afternoon after work. And I often think about the calm day when the plane crashed at my residence. I don’t think I imagined such a calamity when I skipped work that day and drank my cup of morning coffee. Days like that can and will happen to everyone. Unless you’re certain immortality is at your disposal, it’s wise to make sure you have someone designated. And if you’re married? Name someone for you both, just in the unlikely case that you’re both incapacitated.
Just to give you a little push, most people don’t know that millions of us have inactive aneurysms. Most never cause problems. They can rupture or cause symptoms at any time. I’m not telling you that to make you cringe. I’m giving that example to demonstrate that the universe has a quiver of surprises for us. We are biological machines filled with opportunities to tap on our shoulders.
If anyone reading this doesn’t have a healthcare proxy, they aren’t complicated and only require the signature of two witnesses. I can direct you to where to make one – or I can email you a blank form you can fill out.
I hope all of you add this to your list of “musts.” Otherwise, when the unimaginable happens, your friends and loved ones will scramble to figure out a way to make these decisions for you.
Not related, this morning just before 7 a.m., as I watched a visitor valiantly attempt to rouse a friend at a nearby apartment, I looked up above the horizon to the west to see a long, streaking shooting star blaze into the atmosphere. It was singular and probably high into the sky. But it streaked for a couple of seconds as it obliquely burned into visibility. That meteorite is us. I hope your time here is long and joyful. Don’t forget to take a few moments and add my recommendation to your to-do list. It’ll help your circle in the event you need it.
(PS I didn’t mention a Living Will, which is also a great resource.)