This is a very personal blog for me, it is one of the reasons I wanted to fix all the bugs and get it back up and running. This is a very important subject for seniors to understand and discuss with their families before an emergency arises.
I have a very good friend who is one of six children. She is about ten years younger than I, which put her mother in that generation between myself and my parents. I had seen her over the years at holidays and family functions, she was charming and a very connected to her community. She volunteered at her Temple and led a full social life. I am sure she had her fair share of aches and pains, but anytime I saw her she was upbeat and never complained. She was beautiful and vibrant, and never left her house with out full makeup.
Unfortunately, she was rushed to the hospital at the beginning of January. She had septicemia and was in grave condition, I was not present so from here on you are getting this story second-hand. Lila had a DNR and a Durable Power Of Attorney form. Several family members are Attorneys, so we shall assume they were in order. Here is where it gets sticky, three of the children, all in their fifties and sixties, wanted the paperwork honored. The other three did not.
I was unaware that family members could over ride these documents. I have both of these forms, and would come back from the grave to haunt my kids if they interfered with my wishes. My own Mother had carefully filled out all the forms and I was the one who had to tell the hospital to honor her wishes when she suffered a massive heart attack. I have never regretted my choice, my Mother would never have been happy being incapacitated in any way.
That is why I was so surprised when the hospital allowed three of the kids to over ride the paperwork. They subjected their Mother to every possible procedure, for about ten more days until she finally passed. I am not writing this to take sides, but more to tell you to speak to your children, and their spouses, who might be more objective. If you have grown grandchildren include them and most importantly your siblings. Do not wait until you are all heartbroken and not really thinking of anything but how much you just want one more day with a beloved relative. Stop and think what they would have wanted, know your parents. My friend told me her Mother always joked that if she had to have any type of surgery she wanted to come out better, perhaps a new hip thrown in or a tummy tuck. If you knew Lila, you would know she probably could have talked the doctor in to anything.
Instead she suffered for at least ten days unnecessarily, leaving a lasting memory, hard to erase from the minds of her loved ones. So, please all you need to take away from this blog is the incentive to speak to everyone who needs to know and the next time you are all together have some wine and talk about all the fun times you have all had together. Don’t make it a sad or depressing conversation, we all want to think our parents will never die. I would never let my parents tell me about money, because I thought they would always be with me.
Most importantly talk to your siblings, I am afraid for my friend that these six children will never be in the same room together again and that is so, so sad.