We met with the palliative care folks today. They talked a lot about the Advanced Healthcare Directive. The gist of it is, you can change your mind at any point, but if you have decided, for example, that you don’t want to be revived, you put it in your directive, if you become unconscious, your loved ones can just hold it up to the paramedics and say, “No sir, no CPR for him.” If at some point, you change your mind and you would like the paramedics to give you CPR, you must change the directive before you get unconscious.
This is only one of the tough decisions that make up an advanced directive. It is a much bigger task if you have a hard time making decisions and don’t even know your wishes. Maybe I just don’t understand the concept of wishes in the context of dying. Because if I had a wish, I would probably wish not to die, not how to die. I know I’m avoiding the issue, but I have adolescent tendencies even though I’m just past middle age (given old age ends at 120).
One of the arguments in favor of writing a directive in advance and sharing it with those you love is that it takes the pressure away from them. Ok… I’m closer to making one. But I still haven’t decided about my advanced wishes.
Below is a portrait of an imaginary person who does have an advanced directive. I tried to make the eye look upward, but it ended up just looking calm. The mouth on the other hand doesn’t know what’s going on, and is scared.