Part I: February Is Hereby Declared Advance Directive Month. Join Us!

It’s better when we do it together.

Confession: I haven’t done my advance directive yet.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but there it is.  In spite of my harping and spouting I haven’t walked my own talk.  (Not entirely sure why but probably because this shit is not only scary, it’s confusing.)

Well, it’s time to climb off the soapbox and dive into those cold waters like I keep telling everyone else to do.  I’ve done one thing at least…talked to the people most likely to make decisions for me if worst comes to worst…but that’s not enough.  No…ho…ho.  They’ll also need legal paperwork to prove that I mean what they say, so I need to do the deed itself.  Put pen to paper.  Download the state forms, sign on the dotted line, and give them copies.

It’s Time to Legalize And Let It Go.

The hubster is doing this with me and while we’re at it, I wanted to invite everyone else who hasn’t done their advance directive yet, but wants to (or not) to join us on our little adventure.  I’m going to try and enroll my kids and siblings and their families in the process, too, because I really want to know what they want in case (God forbid!) I wind up having to make decisions for any of them. 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP:  The need for an advance directive knows no age limit, anyone can wind up incapacitated and unable to make decisions at any time.  If you’re 18 or over, this sucker is a good thing to have. 

I’m assuming this process will bring up questions, fears, and insights along the way that we can all help each other with and learn from so IMHO, the more the merrier.

Are you ready to rumble?!!!

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be researching and posting about the who’s, why’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, and how’s of the process, and then in February the hubster and I will take the plunge and do all the concrete steps necessary to make sure that everyone from intimate family members to state agencies are clear on what-we-would-and-would-not-want in the event.

So if you haven’t filled out your advanced directive yet either, feel free to join us.  I figure there’s strength in numbers.

Next post:  Part II: What Is An Advance Directive? (Or Why I’ve Been So Confused.)

copyright Dia Osborn 2011

15 responses

  1. Hi Dia,
    “Unlike the rest of us”…I too find safety in numbers and get more courageous the further back from the front of the line. The photo of the penquins is perfect…looks like you almost have your nose inthe water and I’m making sure no one is left behind, near the end of the line. 🙂
    I trust like other things I have been resistant about in life, this will feel very good, after it is dealt with. Getting started is always the hardest part…downhill from there. Looking forward to jumping in with you and the rest….
    the H’ster.

  2. You haven’t done this yet because, dammit…it’s hard to do. Not physically hard, but emotionally and spiritually hard. I applaud all your coercing. Here’s my question:

    Years ago, St. Lukes was going on and on about Advanced Directives. I had to have minor surgery, so I filled out an advanced directive at the time and if I remember correctly, I was told that this document would be put in a data base to be shared with all other medical facilities. But I wonder? Is that possible? I don’t have anything written here at the house. It seems like this should be available in all the places people would look to find a will. (And that I have placed in several locations, one of which is a safety deposit box, the others are in file folders in my paperwork. What do you think?

    • I wonder how many people are in this position, Linda? It’s standard for hospitals to require people to fill out some kind of advance directive before a surgery, but I didn’t know they’d not only keep it on file, but enter it into the Idaho registry. Most people don’t realize that an advance directive is something you want to revisit periodically to make sure that your circumstances and/or wishes haven’t evolved. It’s like a will, or a retirement account that way. An advance directive should include the equivalent of a living will and a medical power of attorney or medical proxy…and the proxy choice in particular is important to keep an eye on.

      Idaho maintains an advance directive registry at I wonder if this is the database St. Lukes was referring to? Unfortunately, in order to search the registry you have to have a filing number for log-in, so I think you may have to go back to St. Lukes and work your way into the registry system through that point of contact. What a hassle. OR…come to think of it, you could contact the office of the Idaho Secretary of State who maintains the registry and let them know what’s going on. Perhaps they could search the registry for you and then let you set up log-in information through them? If you succeed in chasing it down, will you let me know what worked? I’d like to know just in case anyone else asks.

      Also, here’s another important link: The website is a cornucopia of information and insight on this kind of stuff, and the specific page this link directs you to has download information for Idaho’s specific advance directive forms as well as valuable information on what to do with them after they’re filled out (i.e. give a copy to whoever you choose as your medical proxy, your doctor, particular friends or family members, and keep a copy with your will, etc.) This is all stuff I want to cover as I roll out coverage of our own journey. Like I said, it’s not just scary, it’s confusing. 🙂

      • Well, you’ve certainly raised some pertinent questions. I’m sure my power of attorney has changed since I filled that out. Hmm. Back to the drawing board.
        Thanks for the links.

  3. Dia, you’re doing great work by raising awareness for the need for advance directives. Please check out, a new initiative to encourage people of all ages to decide their end of life wishes and make their families and healthcare providers aware of them. Love the idea of making February National Advance Directives Month!

    • Hi Tom. I’ve been over to your website and nosed around a bit…lots of great information…but I’ve been pretty slammed post-holiday. I’m planning to look around again when I’ve got more time. You’re doing important work. Thanks.

      • Dia, I’d reiterate what Tom Guarriello mentioned to you. If you take some time to look at the MyDirectives service, you’ll quickly see that it’s unlike any other advance medical directives service out there today. It’s an interactive service that leads the user through the process of creating the directive, so you’ll actually have a really good document (as opposed to a rigid paper one), and your directive will be available to medical staff 24/7, anywhere in the world (as opposed to sitting in a safe, a safety deposit box, a shoe box, or some lawyer’s office somewhere). It allows for video/audio messages, let’s you leave messages for your caregivers — really great stuff! This will soon be the new standard.

  4. Dia, and everyone else replying, PLEASE don’t “put pen to paper”! Tom Guarriello has it right – there’s a new service called that is completely electronic – and it’s FREE! MyDirectives leads you through the process of creating your directive so you actually make GOOD, informed decisions, let’s you store and retrieve the directive 24/7 from anywhere in the world, and let’s you communicate with family and friends regarding your wishes. It is light years ahead of anything else out there. Try it!

  5. Oh my, I had this all taken care of when, like rangewriter, I had surgery at Kaiser and had to fill out forms a few years ago. I suppose if I died at Kaiser they might still have the records, but I doubt those documents are transferable to another institution.

  6. Pingback: What Is An Advance Directive? (Or Why I’ve Been So Confused.) | The Odd and Unmentionable

  7. Pingback: Part IV: Advance Directives: Will They Be There When We Need ‘Em? | The Odd and Unmentionable

  8. Hey Dia, Good timing with this post as Anne and I are just beginning the upstream canoe trip of figuring out Living Wills et. al. We bought “Quicken Willmaker” which has a large, and largely confusing, section on advance directives. Sigh. So I am looking forward to following you down the path, leaving breadcrumbs to find my way back….. Jim

    • Upstream canoe trip!! During spring run-off. Figuring this whole thing out is turning out to be a pretty amazing voyage. Cal and I finally figured out the best form for us to use and we’ve just started going through it. We’re learning SO much about who we are and what we want in the process so far…it’s far more illuminating and profound than I ever expected. (I figured it would just be hard, confusing, and suck.)

      Did you see the other posts since this one? So far there’s a part 2, 3, and 4 as well. Those ones were all just research though. Now I’m going to start posting about what we’re actually doing/deciding/learning. I hope some of this might help you guys as you navigate. Feel free to pitch in with anything you guys are learning along the way, too!

      My love to Annie!! Dia

  9. Pingback: Part V: Advance Directives: Best To Wish Carefully With A Genie | The Odd and Unmentionable

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