It has become an annual ritual: my Medicare Wellness Visit with my primary care provider. It gives us a chance to update my prevention plan by reviewing my health status and identifying any risk factors – and most importantly a chance for me to grumble about how my body isn’t behaving as it should!
During my last visit I was reminded to complete my Advance Directive which as with much good advice I haven’t followed – yet.
But what is an Advance Directive?
It is the legal document that allows you to express your wishes for medical care and life-sustaining treatments and designate a Health Care Representative to make sure your wishes are followed if you are unable to speak for yourself. It is voluntary and can be revoked at any time. But it is not a medical order. A medical order turns a person’s wishes into action. The Oregon Advance Directive is a form to express your wishes.
But more importantly why should I?
Imagine you have been admitted to the hospital with a life-threatening illness. You are unconscious – completely unaware of what is going on around you. Doctors say you may never regain consciousness, but you can be kept alive indefinitely by a breathing machine. Who would make this decision on your behalf? Would they know what you wanted? And imagine how your loved ones are feeling as they struggle to guess what you would want!
It may not feel comfortable thinking about these situations and hopefully they will never occur. But it is important to have conversations with your loved ones so you can let them know what you want in these difficult situations and eliminate the painful guessing. Your wishes can’t be followed if no one knows what they are.
But the key is to have the conversation.
You can find a copy of the Oregon Advance Directive online at Oregon.gov, but I would recommend ordering or downloading the Advance Directive Booklet from Oregon Health Decisions an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization based in Tualatin, Oregon. You can find their booklet online at Oregon Health Decisions website www.oregonhealthdecisions.org or you can call 503-692-0894.
It does cost $6.00 but includes The Key Conversations Planning Guide which gives you the tools to start a conversation with your loved ones in three easy steps – Step 1: The Conversation Starter; Step 2: Individual Worksheet; and Step 3: Advance Directive – Oregon’s legal form.
Deciding what to do in situations when you can’t speak for yourself should not be taken lightly. And if you still feel uncomfortable having those conversations and completing an Advance Directive, consider it a gift to your loved ones so they won’t have the burden of making those difficult decisions.
Earline Wasser, a past resident of The Dalles, is enjoying her days in Bonaire with her daughter and son-in-law. Recently she sent me a collection of jokes. Here is one I thought was amusing. See if you agree.
“When I was a kid, my parents would always say, ‘Excuse my French’ just after a swear word…I’ll never forget my first day at school when my teacher asked if any of us knew any French.”
In the 1960s television commercial a six year old Maureen McCormick and “Poppin’ Fresh”, the Pillsbury Doughboy, sang “Nothin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven and PILLSBURY says it best”. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Barbara Cadwell, Rhonda Spies, Tina Castanares, Rose Schulz and Donna Mollet, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Patty Burnet.
Go to the Head of the Class, Uncle Wiggly, and Cootie were some of the popular games in the 50s and 60s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the game that began as an adult parlor game in Victorian England and is played on a felt mat with small plastic colored discs where you use a special disc to flip your discs into a pot. Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the December 14th,1962 issue of Life magazine that featured the Harvard team playing this game.
Well, it’s been another week, reminding myself it’s okay to ask for help. Until we meet again, my high school days were so exciting that an evening of fun was going to the airport and watching planes take off and land.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” Thornton Wilder