I’m still plugging away at completing the old advance directive I started way back in February. I know a lot of people say just do it….
Just. Sometimes I hate that word.
Although frankly, I didn’t think it would be that big a deal when I started either. But clearly, my inertia is telling a different story. The hubster and I actually filled out the forms months ago and, as expected, that part really wasn’t a big deal. We educated ourselves, we weighed our choices, we made our decisions, and we wrote it all down.
It’s the next step that’s killing me. All the follow-up conversations I’m supposed to have with loved ones, alternate medical proxies, and anyone else who’s likely to get involved if I ever hit the point where I can’t make medical decisions for myself.
Fear is a powerful, powerful thing.
But finally, last week I sat down with the friend I’ve asked to be my medical proxy in case the hubster can’t do it and we started feeling our way through the labyrinth together. It was a fascinating conversation and helped me to really boil things down to my own bottom line. After some initial flailing and panic while trying to explain, there were a couple of important realizations I came to that helped settle me back down.
A FEW BASIC TRUTHS ABOUT MYSELF:
1) What happens to the hubster and kids during that kind of crisis is as important to me as whatever is happening to me. I love them and I don’t want their needs or wishes disrespected or ignored anymore than mine. Even though it’s not my first choice, I’m absolutely willing to go through some additional suffering and linger for a while longer if they need the extra time.
2) Money is a very big issue for me. I do not…DO NOT…want a massive wealth transfer happening at the very end so that nothing’s left afterwards for the hubster and kids. So don’t anybody feel guilty about considering the financial consequences of any decision. In fact, feel guilty if you don’t.
3) Control is an illusion. All I can do is try and communicate now the best I can. In the end though, whatever is going to happen, will. I need to try and remember that, breathe, and surrender again. (And again and again and again.)
4) The one, single, most important, overriding principle I need everyone to remember and steer by is this: I’m more afraid of being overtreated for dying than I am of dying from it.
So in a choice between erring on the side of choosing too little intervention or choosing too much, always, always, always err on the side of too little. I’ve lived a huge and magical, unexpected life full of wonder, surprises, love, companionship, adventure, learning, and near constant amazement. From a distance, I haven’t really minded the pain all that much. If I was to go tomorrow, I’m so very, very, very good and grateful with it all.
So the bottom line is you don’t have to worry about cutting me short. You can’t. It’s impossible. Honestly? I kind of can’t believe I made it this long. You guys just take whatever time you need…(just again, sometimes I love that word)…to get your hearts wrapped around the whole thing and say your good-byes, and then let me go.
And remember…I love you. I’ve always loved you and I always will. There are some things that can’t be killed.
copyright Dia Osborn 2012