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Archive for the ‘Advance Medical Directive’ Category

This is about the new book thing I am writing–the one I mentioned in “Decisions.”

 

There are certain things we consider taboo in life, things we refuse to discuss but we have certain feelings about. Suicide is one of them. Tony Scott, director/producer and brother to Ridley Scott (google them if you don’t know) appears to have jumped from a bridge in Los Angeles on August 19. I have been a fan of the Scott brothers for many years. When reading about Scott’s death someone posted this comment to the article I was reading: 

  • “He committed suicide. I have no sympathy for him but I do for his wife and kids. Suicide is the ultimate form of conceit because you are only thinking of yourself.”

What I am attempting to write has to do with the basis of this statement—that suicide is the ultimate form of conceit because you are only thinking of yourself or actually it is the antithesis of it and how we are fast becoming a society that does not absorb information but gobbles it up and spits it out with relatively little thought.

wikipedia

 

While it might seem suicide is the coward’s way out or that is the ultimate form of conceit as this writer put it, there are people who kill themselves not because they want out of this world but because they do not want to be a burden to their loved ones—usually due to some health issue. This is not always the case, but some could care less if they will suffer; they don’t want their family and friends to watch in agony not being able to do anything about it. That isn’t conceit and it isn’t a coward. This is not an excuse but I think we should try to understand people better. Life is what it is about. Walking in the shoes of others is what we need to do.

 

I understand suicide from both sides and have found that many people who post or talk about their wanting to end their life are craving attention and not really wanting to die. Those who are most at risk in my opinion are the ones who do not say anything about it. So while there are groups on the internet and even in real life for those who do crave attention (and they need attention) there are those who go unnoticed. I am not here to debate these situations–just to say they exist and we need to do more than turn a blind eye.

 

Life and Death–Have you ever watched as an animal that has been hit by a car lay in the road squirming, wriggling from pain, dying from internal bleeding? Living in the country, we had pets and saw animals this happened to. My dad would take a gun, shoot them and then bury them—it was right and humane. Not long after my dad died, one of my cats got hit and was still alive but there was no chance of saving it. I was 21 for reference. I got the gun, took the cat to the field behind our house, was ready to shoot it, but I found myself unable to do so. It was one of the many jobs that had fallen to me. I got a neighbor to do it as I stood there. I remember the scene so vividly. I then buried the cat. There was no stopping to think what I needed to do. I just did it or took care of it. It’s part of life. Death is part of life and we move on—sometimes a little too quickly.

 

Why am I telling this story? Because ever since that moment of realizing I was responsible for certain things—sometimes making really tough decisions and I had no one else to look to—I have acted because these things had to be done. No one else was going to do it. Things kept falling to me. No, this is not a God-like thing; it is a responsible thing. I was not the little sheepish girl one would think from the woman I am today. While others looked around and waited to see what someone else will do, I would do what was needed. Whether it was dealing with animals or people—wildlife, pets, pests, humans or whatever—I acted. It is the survival instinct coupled with the caring and protective one. When someone or something was hurt, I helped them or remained there until help arrived…over and over. I didn’t think about it. I just did it. I was raised to do so. Later, my job required it.  

 

**Before anyone reads between the lines and thinks I am suicidal…I have been but I’ve never been able to do that to myself or to my family. However, I understand how people can get to that place. I have been there. I know what it is like to be at the end of one’s rope and feeling the rope is breaking with no safety net in sight. Many people do not understand how anyone could allow themselves to get to that point, but it is not something one allows to happen. I digress.

 

My mom had a friend/colleague who killed herself. I remember the place she died and thought about her each time I passed the location. People would not talk about it. A few years ago, one of my dad’s best friends and distant cousins shot himself. He was suffering from health issues and had recently lost his wife to cancer—my dad died years before. This man’s death wasn’t discussed or mentioned. It was like it didn’t happen. A few years later, a friend of my husband’s killed himself. Family didn’t want people to know he had died let alone that he committed suicide. There were students the girls knew in high school who killed themselves—tragic—and it was forbidden to discuss it at school almost to the point to acknowledge that they had passed away. I understand not glorifying suicide but to try and forget their life too is not right and I think that is what we are doing. And, we are not discussing suicide and ways to prevent it before people get to that stage. There are so many people who contemplate taking their life and we as a society seem more interested in other things. We think, “So what if they are the ‘weakest link.’ Good riddance.”

 

Why a book about suicide? It is not a writing for people who might want to kill themselves. It is more about awareness. I feel that something is urging me to do this. Sure, we are taught that suicide is taboo, but just saying that it is isn’t enough. As with most things, I think we need to understand and walk in the shoes of others before we pass judgment (we really shouldn’t judge). Things are not always black and white. Most people get to a dark place before they kill themselves. Sure, we are each responsible for what we do but if there is any way to help someone else, should we not try to do something? What if it were you? Would you not want a helping hand or a shoulder or perhaps an ear? What if it were a loved one or family member?

 

When my health began to rapidly decline several years ago, I was telling my neighbor how I was concerned about the girls and my husband having to deal with it all—my not wanting to suffer and knowing that if anything happened, they would have to watch. I knew what it was like several times over to watch as loved ones suffered daily. I suspected then that I was going to have a hard road ahead. She immediately jumped to the conclusion that I wanted to kill myself. I didn’t want to die or kill myself. When I tried to explain, she cut off all communication saying that I was only thinking of myself. What I was trying to say was that I never wanted my family to watch me suffer—never a mention about suicide—just that I was concerned for the future, the future of my family. People jump to conclusions and make judgments far too quickly. I understand wanting to spare the family but what kind of pain will be left if I were to kill myself. It doesn’t balance out because it makes it worse for the family left behind. I would never want to do that.

 

To note:  Earlier this year when I was filling out my advanced medical directive I had to decide on whether to keep a NO DNR order. After my cousin’s car crash last year that broke almost every bone in his body resulting in his death a week later, I changed my mind.  His family had time for closure (to some extent), to say their goodbyes, to ready for his leaving this world. I would want that time to say goodbye if it was my loved one and I would want that for my loved ones, so I changed my mind to let them decide when it is time to let go if that is the case. And, I can’t see myself committing suicide for health reasons because my family needs to say their goodbyes and need me around no matter how difficult it is for them—and me. However, I have had days that I have gotten so frustrated and in so much pain both physical and mental that I can understand people wanting out because of it. I understand it from the person’s point of view and a loved one’s viewpoint. I never want anyone to hurt so much that they want out. We all need a support system.

 

I would hope everyone who ever gets to that point of their life before committing suicide has at least one someone to serve as support. Too often, those who kill themselves do not open up and even some who do, do not feel they are understood. I would venture to say that none are thinking clearly. Many are not trying to find a way to check out because they are conceited but many feel that they cannot deal with what they are going through whether it is health issues, heartache, lack of purpose or what.

 

–>  You have heard that suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem? Understanding ‘temporary’ is most times impossible for someone who is going through a dark depression or a lasting health issue. It is the equivalent of asking someone to find their way out of a room with no windows, no doors, or other means of escape. Oh, and they have been blindfolded with their hands tied behind their back. You cannot explain to someone what temporary means no more than telling someone to think of their family, trying to prevent suicidal thoughts. Adding guilt or trying to get someone to reason things out does not work. We owe it to ourselves to understand people and give help when needed. We owe it to others to take a walk in their shoes and truly understand what it is they are facing.

 

You may have known someone who killed themselves and wondered if there was anything you could have done to stop it. It is an awful feeling to bear such a heavy burden, but it is common to have guilt afterwards. With some people, the guilt causes a pain that never dissipates and is like a pebble in a shoe. For others, they feel that they must distance themselves in order to cope with their feelings. People deal with it as best they can but it is not like a natural death–and we have problems dealing with those to begin with. Suicide is not natural–not really–but preventing it can be if we know how. And, dealing with the pain afterwards can lead to better lives for everyone hopefully preventing it from happening again. 

 

Happy Gardening in all of life! May your gardens be beautiful always and may you sow healthy seeds along the way! 🙂

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I have my appointment with the brain surgeon today. Most people would be at least a little apprehensive about this, but since my husband said he was going with me I was even more so. I think he should be there, but I also think he should be living at home. He said he couldn’t talk to me on the phone last night because his head hurt too bad-he was out of work because of it and I just wanted to hear his voice. We texted and I wanted to know where he fit in my medical directive. I wanted him to be first, but since I cannot depend on him I wanted him to be second. But…I told him I don’t want that if he wants to be with someone else or if he is with someone else. He acts like he doesn’t understand what a big deal this is to me. Where did his heart go? And, why tell me he loves me when he just stomps all over my heart?

Earlier in the week, I talked to him about how difficult this all is because for over 22 years he was my best friend. He said that I was still his best friend. Hey, best friends don’t treat each other like this. They don’t go out and replace the best friend and then still tell the other that they are top in their life. Well, it might happen but it shouldn’t happen in marriage not when it seems that the two love each other so much. I wanted reassurances that he wasn’t in love with anyone else but I got silence last night and to me that speaks volumes. I could be wrong especially through text-there is no emotion. My BP shot up to close to 200. I am a ticking time bomb.

I want him to want to be with me through good and bad because I signed up for both and have been through both. I don’t want him if he is there just as a friend. I’m not that good. This appointment will probably be the hardest thing I have had to do in life so far. Last time I was in a surgeon’s office I was out for information. This time, I need help. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to be paralyzed. I want to be whole and I have been as whole as I could. How can someone treat me like this? I don’t want to be a victim. I have had enough heartache in my life to last several lifetimes. And, I don’t want to suffer without my love of my life with me. I was so full of hope but now I feel like all of my hopes have been dashed completely.

Wish me luck today. I’m still going to the appointment even though I told him I wasn’t. And, to set the record straight, I do not divulge my personal problems so that people will feel sorry for me. I say that because of the hurtful words the other “woman” (girl) said to me and through him-that I am using my health to get to him. Are you insane? For one thing, I wouldn’t be in this predicament if my BP had not been so high for these past few months. This is just the reality of me having to see about surgery so that I might be able to live. I definitely do not want to have it done. And, she thinks I am the one who is crazy? I don’t think so. Take care and may your gardens be blessed today and every day!

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I have an appointment this coming week with the neurosurgeon I have spoken about. To be honest, I am not excited. The office called Friday and said I need to get copies of my scans to take from the various places I have had tests made over the years. Honestly, I am apprehensive. I don’t exactly know what will come of this. This may be the beginning of a road to surgery and it may not. I know that the last time I faced these crossroads I had my husband by my side helping to navigate through the rough waters. Ironically, he is supposed to meet us for the appointment so this may be rather strange.

from wikipedia

What else is happening? I received the paperwork for my advance medical directive. I feel that these documents differ from state to state.  It is a lot like a living will. I need to get that completed and ready. I also must fill out my marriage counseling paperwork and make my appointment with the counselor. My husband is waiting for the doctor to tell him what he needs to do—I was hoping to get his appointment on the books, too, but giving it further thought, he may have to see a psychiatrist. Then there are 10 billion other things I need to do before the end of this week so it will be very busy. I have another doctor appointment and this is the last week of the semester for my daughter. It is almost like, “Hey, we need to get everything accomplished before the end of April!”

At the beginning of the year, I weighed in at a hefty weight for me. I remember the nurse at the doctor’s office as she wrote that terrible number. In fact, I also remember weighing 100 pounds less and at the time I thought that was too much but that was when I was in the initial stages of anorexia nervosa. When my world seemed to fall apart in January 2012, I didn’t eat for a few days. I began to lose weight so I decided I needed to take advantage of this time. I set a goal to lose 24 pounds by April 1. I missed the goal by 2 pounds and pushed the goal line to May 1. I am happy to report that I have lost 25 pounds since the beginning of the year passing my goal by 1 pound so far-and the month is not over. I would really like to lose another 25 pounds by July 1, but I think that might be pushing it a bit-maybe by August 1? And, hey, I would be happy with 20 pounds! My clothes already do not fit.

My oldest daughter and I started walking at the mall this week-broken foot bone and all. It has really helped. I went out with a friend on Friday-she took me to lunch. I haven’t seen her in a few months and she was shocked to see how I looked. I have also cut my hair a few times, so I look pretty decent (compared to my old self)—maybe a bit too much since I had a guy flirt with me yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t ready for that, but it sure helps my ego right now.

Hope you all have a great weekend and a terrific week next week! Happy Gardening in all of your gardens!

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I have decided to continue with my blog to some extent. Unfortunately, it will not always be rosy and upbeat-hasn’t been too much lately. This is about as real as it gets so I apologize ahead of time. I will touch on subjects that many of us do not like to think or talk about but they need to be addressed. Planning for one’s death is not easy, but I need to get as much of this taken care of so that my girls will not be lost after I pass away. Don’t take this the wrong way…I’m not planning on going anywhere any time soon. This is mainly in case this happens sooner than later.

I had a bad episode the other night and my youngest daughter wanted to know what she and her sister needed to do in case…in case I die; in case I become incapacitated; in case the unthinkable happens. After my husband moved out, I started planning for my death—taking small steps. Over the past 22 years, he and I had talked about all of the what ifs– what if I have surgery and things don’t go well or that I die; what if I am comatose; what if – fill in the blank (we did that for him, too). I don’t know about you, but a 20-year old and 21-year old are a little young to bear all of the responsibilities of the family, but that is what happened when my husband left. I have no other family. He washed his hands and said that our daughters could take care of everything since they are now grown. Both are living at home. He had told us that he would still be there for us and would do things around the house but sometimes people do not tell the truth.

In my early teens, my great aunt went through some of those same what ifs with strict instructions about what she wanted. I was 16 when I picked out my first casket (for my great aunt) and I have picked out 2 more since then. Looking back, I have been through quite a bit in my life. I don’t want my children to face the same fate with little to no support. They actually have no other support. Therefore, I am building a network of people that they may call on, or better, that will call on them. This is difficult but necessary. Have you thought about what might happen in the case of death or something else? It is important to communicate these things to your family.

As morbid as this all sounds, this is the right thing to do—to make all the plans and necessary arrangements, and then not plan to go that route until it is absolutely necessary. Do you have plans in place? Have you communicated them with your family? Do you have backup plans?

You might want to check this out:  http://cldds.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/avoiding-a-costly-guardianship/ It talks about having a Power of Attorney and an Advanced Medical Directive. And, this one, http://www.medicinenet.com/advance_medical_directives/article.htm, covers more details about Advance Medical Directives.

Be well and be safe!

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