Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hospital Experience #15: Janet and Richard - Preparedness

This is the fifteenth in a series of posts on a recent experience at Ochsner Hospital - having a cardiac catheter ablation procedure to correct a heart arrhythmia. These posts describe and reflect on various aspects of the hospital experience. This fifteenth post will reflect on the willingness of my sister Janet and her husband, Richard, to handle my affairs in case of my death or incapacitation.

One wonderful thing that came out of this hospital experience for me is that I now have a will, a living will, a medical power of attorney document, and a personal statement of my wishes on life and death issues. The reason I can have these documents is that generous people have agreed to take on responsible roles in the case of my death or incapacitation. My sister Janet and her husband, Richard, are co-executors of my will, and Richard is my medical power of attorney person. It gives me wonderful peace of mind to know that this has been taken care of.

These are serious responsibilities, and I thank Janet and Richard for accepting them. Janet and Richard have also kept me in their thoughts and prayers, encouraged me up to and through hospital day, and listened deeply to me.


  1. I did all of that last summer. It took a lot of thought. Still, I second guess the 'final arrangements.' I don't like either option, but you have to choose one!

  2. Deborah, I'm not sure what options you mean, but I do know that you can write out a personal statement of your wishes regarding life and death matters and give it to your loved ones. In other words, whoever is your medical power of attorney person and your back-up medical power of attorney person - to those people and to other involved family members - you give a statement (you write them a letter, so to speak) in which you spell out what you want done and not done, in your own words.

    For example, if you have a horror of being kept alive in the event of serious burns over large areas of the body and would want to just die and not receive treatment in such an event, you state that. Whatever you want to say, you say in this document. You make sure that the one(s) who will be making decisions for you know what you want and are on the same wavelength.

    Since it is a personal statement of your wishes, you say whatever you want to say and make sure your decision makers know.