I am not putting this on here because I think I am dying. I am also not putting this on here because I plan to kill myself or anything like that. I do not even want to think about me dying because I'm no where near done living. BUT, I am putting this up here so that it is here if something were to happen. Maybe in the coming years I'll put these in legal writing, talk to family members, get this all laid out. But at this time in my life, as I don't have much at stake if something unfortunate were to happen, I am putting this here so that maybe if I were to pass for some random reason all of the sudden, someone will refer back to this and use it for those decisions. I understand if none of you actually want to read it, that is fine. I'm putting it up here for me.
Here are my 5 wishes, as referred to at agingwithdignity.org. I had to write these up as part of an assignment for my Psychology of Death class and I felt that it should be shared with those that I am closest with since a lot of thought was put into each answer for the part of my life I am in right now. I love you all.
If you don't wish to read on, I understand. It's hard to think about these decisions in life. It goes against our nature.
1. Which person you want to make health care decisions for you when you can’t make them.
At this point in my life, I ask to have health care decisions made by someone who isn't Uncle Dave and Aunt Debbie. I understand that they are my "next of kin" as in my guardians until I was 18 years of age, but I don't think they know me at this point in my life, to carry out the wishes that I detail below.
2. The kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want
This has always been a tough thing for me to think about. Regarding the end of my life, here are several things I would like if I can’t decide for myself:
· I do not want to be in pain, and I understand that if I am given pain medication to ease whatever pain I may be experiencing, it may make me drowsier and I may sleep more than I normally do.
· I don’t want any extraneous life support treatments done. Meaning, if there is not a very good chance that I am going to come out of coma/incapacitation and be able to live a life where I will be free of medical implements (i.e. ventilator, feeding tube, or any kind of device that will impinge on my ability to live a life outside of home, hospital or other medical facility), then I would like life support removed. I do not want to be kept alive in a coma like situation (unless it was induced medically to promote healing) where I am basically stated as brain dead by physicians, I do not wish to continue living and I wish to have life support removed. I wish to have CPR, antibiotics and surgeries only if there is still a chance of full recovery (as in they are able to revive me before too much damage is made to the brain where full recovery is not expected and function returning is doubtful.)
· I would like to be offered food and fluids by mouth, and kept clean and warm.
3. How comfortable you want to be.
For this one, I am just going to copy the bullets out of the 5 wishes that I wish to have (and I may elaborate on each on in my own wants. I’ll add them in (parentheses)
· I do not want to be in pain. I want my doctor to give me enough medicine to make me comfortable. I understand that this may make me drowsier and sleep more. I am okay with that.
· If I show signs of depression, nausea, shortness of breath, or hallucinations, I want my care givers to do whatever they can to help me. (Don’t be afraid to talk to me because even if I can’t respond well, I am listening and want to have some sort of social interaction as long as I can.)
· I wish to have a cool, damp cloth put on my head if I have a fever. (But if I seem to not enjoy this, please remove the cloth.)
· I want my lips and mouth kept moist to stop dryness. (Ice chips are wonderful things! They may help me cool down if I have a fever.)
· I wish to have warm baths often (I understand this is hard, but please try to do it a couple times a week). I wish to be kept fresh and clean at all times.
· I wished to be massaged with warm oils as often as I can be (but only on the arms and legs as allowed by medical implements (IVs, catheters, etc.)
· I wish to have my favorite music played when possible until my time of death. (This is very important to me. I have an iPod for a reason, use it!)
· I wish to have personal care as long as they do not cause me pain or discomfort. (The kind of personal care I wish are: hair brushing, nail clipping, teeth brushing, “freshening up” as much as possible)
· I do (not) wish to have religious readings read aloud when I am near death. (I would enjoy a book if at all possible.)
· (I wish to explore my options for hospice care so that I can have a peaceful death and get support for those family members and friends that may need it at my time of death. Only if this an option)
4. How you want people to treat you
· I wish to have people with me when possible. I want someone to be with me when it seems that death may come at any time. (Unless the individual is uncomfortable with the idea, I wish that they be asked, if that ability to do so is available, if they are comfortable sitting there until death has happened.)
· I wish to have my hand held and to be talk to when possible, even if I don’t seem to respond to voice or touch. (Please don’t forget this. I would like to hear stories of your day, or something that happened. Even if you don’t talk to me, if there are several people in the room, feel free to talk normally amongst yourselves just so I feel included by being there until the end.)
· (If you wish to pray, you may do so by my side whenever you feel like it. If you don’t want to or are uncomfortable with prayer, no worries, I don’t want to obligate you with prayer.)
· I wish to have members of my faith community told that I am sick and asked to pray for me and visit me. (I have many friends who are religious. I ask for you to let them know, even through social networking websites, of my condition and ask for prayers.)
· I wish to be cared for with kindness and cheerfulness, and not sadness. (I understand that this is a hard time in your life to be doing this. I am thankful for everything you do. But please, as I live my life with a hope and optimism for the future (and am known for my smile); please care for me in a similar manner. If I were to care for you in this time, I would do the same.)
· I wish to have pictures of my loved ones in my room, near my bed.
· If I am not able to control my bowel or bladder functions, I wish for my clothes and bed linens to be kept clean, and for them to be changed as soon as they can be if they have been soiled.
· (I would rather not die in my home, I feel as if that would leave a lasting mark on the home and those in it. If I have the choice, I would rather pass in a hospital so that my family and friends don’t have memories of me dying in the home and in a certain room. These memories may become painful later)
· (I would like to add, that at my time of death, I wish to have my friends and family members notified. I have told someone the passwords to my email, facebook and phone so that they may go through the task of letting those who wish to know of my passing.)
5. What you want your loved ones to know
· I wish to have my family and friends know that I love them.
· I wish to be forgiven for the times I have hurt my family, friends, and others. (I wish for them to know that when you are young, you make mistakes and I hope that they will take that into account for all the things that have happened.)
· I wish to have my family, friends, and others know that I forgive them for when they may have hurt me in my life. (To my Uncle Dave and Aunt Debbie: I am thankful for you taking me into your home when my mother passed away. I understand that you were only trying to care for me and protect me. I know that the situation was hard for you and that I was stubborn. I forgive you and I hope that we no longer have any hard feelings.)
· I wish for all of my family members to make peace with each other before my death, if they can.
· I wish for my family and friends to think about what I was like before I became seriously ill (or during the times when I was between illnesses). I want them to remember me in this way after my death.
· I wish for my family, friends, and caregivers to respect my wishes even if they don’t agree with them.
· I wish for my family and friends to look at my dying as a time of personal growth for everyone, including me. This will help me live a meaningful life in my final days.
· I wish for my family and friends to get counseling if they have trouble with my death. I want memories of my life to give them joy, not sorrow.
· After my death, I wish to have a funeral but to be cremated afterwards. (If cremation is decided, I ask for my ashes to be distributed in the way I detail below.)
· My body and remains should be put in the following location: I know that the spreading of ashes is illegal in our state, but I wish for you to break one law one last time for me. I ask for my close friends: Katrina Graebert, Tanisha Maynie, Brittney Bertrand, Molly Proulx and Abijah Green, etc. (and possibly spouse if this shall happen); to get together (this can wait until my death isn’t so new), have a party in my honor, and decide which places to spread my ashes. Make sure to live it up, drink, eat and be merry. I ask for these places to be places that make them think of me, or places that they think I should be. All I ask is for some of my ashes to be laid to rest with my mom. I understand that this is quite a challenge, but as a group, they are all amazing friends and this could be journey to healing that they could remember for the rest of their lives.
· The following person knows my funeral arrangements: I have spoke of my wishes to Tanisha and Abijah. Should the time of my death arise, I hope that they come forward with my wishes.
If anyone asks how I want to be remembered, please say the following about me: I loved life and I am a true optimist.
If there is to be a memorial service, I wish for this service to include the following:
I wish to have my closest friends to share some of their favorite memories (no matter how inappropriate)
I wish to have a celebration of life, feel free to have music, drink, eat and be merry. Yes I may have passed on but I don’t want everybody to be depressed about it. I want to be remembered for the good times, not those that caused pain.
I would really love to have “The Dance” by Garth Brooks played.
If any of my organs are able to be donated to another, I wish for that to happen. I no longer need them and if I can save someone’s life, then I feel that it needs to happen.
I would like memorial contributions to be made foremost, if I have children, to a trust for their care. My mother did this for me when she passed and I am so thankful for that. If I should not be married and/or have children, I wish for donations to be made in my name to the American Cancer Society.