Recently I found myself with a loved one in the ER. He was having a heart attack and I wasn’t in the ER with him because I was trying to answer 101 questions. What did he want if his heart stopped? Does he want life sustaining measures? Does he have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order? What an overwhelming and stressful time to be answering important questions! We had vaguely spoken about these things but not in detail. I had nothing concrete to go on in making choices for him and my decisions were made with little to do with what he wanted but more on what I thought he needed.
There are many reasons why he had not filled out his advance directives. He did not want to think or talk about death or disability, a very common response. I have often thought of it as an ostrich putting their head in the ground, not wanting to face the choices. Knowing the subject is hard to discuss, I wished I had pushed for answers. I especially wished he would have had Advance Directives so I would be definite on his wishes for life sustaining medical treatment.
Advance directives have been in the health profession for over 50 years. These important papers are usually given to you when you are checking in the hospital. I, for one, believe it is the worse time. It is terrible trying to decide on the rest of your life while staying focused on the present without being anxious. This is such an important step, no matter your age and you need to start now before you need the directives. It is a gift you give to your loved ones at a very stressful time.
We made it through this ER visit and are now working on our choices for the future. I found it was helpful to have others facilitate this conversation because we talked about what was important. The team at Home Hospice provided information and support so our family will know our choices next time. Call them at 903-868-9315 or 940-665-9891 to help you.