Facing Death to Take Charge of Life

Facing Death to Take Charge of Life
Michael Gollin

What are the most important questions when we and loved ones face serious illness? The article below sums up the inquiries succinctly.

From The New York Times
Seeking a ‘Beautiful Death’
Before making an advance directive, talk with your doctor and your caregiver about just how far end-of-life care should go at the cost of comfort.
http://nyti.ms/1z01Vn3

The kinds of questions doctors should be asking:

■ What gives your life meaning and joy?

■ What are your biggest fears and concerns?

■ What are you looking forward to?

■ What goals are most important to you now?

■ What trade-offs or sacrifices are you willing to make to achieve those goals?

Everyone can answer these questions although based on personal experience they become more directly relevant and therefore less frightening when you have a serious disease or are older.

The book Being Mortal, by excellent writer and surgeon, Atul Gawande, tackles these issues in a very personal and comprehensible way. Our late in life decisions should be driven by our humanity, not the health industry imperatives. Key questions include the following.
What do you understand about your disease?
What are your priorities for your remaining time?

There was a TV show about this book.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/being-mortal/

I found the book more helpful. For example, I have made it known that I don’t want 911, ambulance, and emergency room treatment. Maybe for a broken bone, but otherwise I can be treated at home for ALS and my ventilation better than at an ER, if treatment is viable, and avoid massive discomfort and dislocation. I have rushed to the doctor in my own wheelchair in our van and returned home the same way to live my life as best as I can. I’m fortunate in that sense.

Everyone will face their health fate however they can. But it helps if a loved one or doctor or nurse asks the right questions.

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One thought on “Facing Death to Take Charge of Life

  1. Michael, reading your blog and your book, by the same title, is teaching me How To Live! Fist bump to you dear friend, neighbor and man! Jill lent me your book, Better, by Atul Gawande, which I am looking forward to digging into and don’t forget that I am available to read aloud. I personally enjoyed reading All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr this summer.
    Giving Thanks for your insights and relevant way of broadcasting….although, when I fish….I am a Broad Casting! XoM

    Reply

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