Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Calling it quits

Let us play pretend for a bit. So you get some bad news from your doctor and you try surgery and chemo and radiation and procedures and all sorts of fun medical adventures. You feel like crap (to use a medical term) and are spending all your time at the hospital. You keep getting more bad news and more fun medical adventures are recommended. You are tired and feel like crap and are spending even more of your time at the hospital. The doctors tell you they can try some more things, you hesitate but agree to more fun medical adventures. Then you find out that the fun stuff is not very successful and your doctors get hesitant, or possibly diligently consulting with colleagues and pouring through medical research to offer you more options. But they tell you they are running out of choices and treatment options. You are stuck in the hospital, not having time to do the things you enjoy. The nurses and doctors know you better than anyone else because you are spending all your time with them. The doctors offer some more options but don't seem as optimistic.

Wait a minute... Isn't it your body and your right to make choices? Yes, it is. Are we medicated to death? Possibly. I read this article and started thinking. Not to be morbid, but I think we need to make our choices ahead of time. Yes I have a health care proxy and my husband and I have had the 'what if' conversation (which is practical and not morbid). But then I realize there is more to calling it quits.

Before the time arrives and you are wrapped up in the emotional mess of bad medical news, isn't it appropriate to think about what you want for quality of life? Do you want to die in a hospital hookedup with tubes and monitors? Or do you want to decide ahead of time that when it gets to a certain stage and you don't have much time left, do you want to spend a last month or week on the ocean with family and friends?

I read the article and now realize I have some more thinking to do. I need to decide when that time happens (in the distant future I assume) where do I want to draw the line and say I'm done with treatment? I'll have to figure this one out but I assume I have a long time to think about this one.

Yesterday was an awful hot day with high humidity. So what did I do? I went for a six mile walk in the sun. It was awful. But we were walking around a lake so we couldn't cut it short. Today I am going to walk and will go for a shorter walk and it won't be as hot so I will be fine.

Yesterday I realized I have 'misplaced' or 'put in a safe place' both my debit card and my Amex card. I called both and neither have been used but I can't find them. I gave up on Amex and requested a new card - which means I will find the old one in another day. I will probably go get another debit card soon... as soon as I run out of cash and need more. Now I am late once again. Grr.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a really good discussion and one that I have been thinking about. I'm sure I will opt for whatever appeals to my emotions at the time (as usual!) but putting some thought into this now is a good idea. I have been trying to decide what to do with my mom's ashes and have headed for the thought of purchasing a spot in a cemetary here for us both. It is where I would like to be myself and I would be happy to have mom there too. Love you!!!

linda said...

I love the month at the beach idea.