Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Grown Up Stuff

I worked a few years as in admitting both in the ED (emergency department) and main (main admitting in the hospital). I had to ask every single patient if they had a living will or advance directive, but yet I never had one myself. Will and I finally sat down and got ours done at the legal office on base today. You don't necessarily need a lawyer to fill one out. You can get general documents from your doctor or local hospital. You just need to have it witnessed and notarized. Since we had the legal resources available to us, we took advantage.

Now I know no one likes talking about death and dying. I sure don't. But as painful and awkward as it is, it's good to think about it. Just because you're not a fan of organ donation or life support, doesn't mean your loved ones feel the same. And vice versa of course.

Advance Directive:
If you're not able to make decisions for yourself (ex. you're intubated, sedated, unconscious, not of sound mind, etc), you can appoint someone as your healthcare representative. This is not the same as a general power of attorney. This is a specific permission for healthcare decisions only. It's also known as a durable power of attorney.

Living Will:
What about if you're on your deathbed? What if you're in a coma? What if you have a life threatening illness? What do you think about life support and tube feeding? If you feel one way or the other, you should definitely have a living will. For instance, I don't want life support if it won't help a recovery. If I'm going to die either way and life support is going to prolong that thank you. But that's just my choice. Yours could be entirely different. What if you filled out an advance directive and you chose me as your representative? I could decide to pull the plug and you wanted to be plugged in! So fill one out!

Attached to our advance directive and living will was a disposition of remains. It basically covered organ donation and any funeral requests (like burial or cremation). Will was asked if he wanted military honors at his funeral or not.

 Maybe it's my job training, but I'm big into getting people to fill this stuff out. You just never know when these decisions could be an issue.

If you're military, you can fill out a worksheet online and bring the worksheet number to the legal office to be printed out. Take advantage! They hook you up with everything.


  1. Wow! good for you guys and thanks for sharing…we have to get one done too. You're right…you just never know.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I didn't really know the difference in the two.

    I know we definitely need to look into it since we're parents now, but like you said - it's just awkward and weird. Who wants to talk about it?

    You're awesome!

  3. I hated doing that paperwork when my husband deployed. But, I agree. It is necessary. And as much as I hated it, I knew it had to be done. You gave some really good advice here. :)

  4. Wow, I've never really thought about stuff like this before. I always thought my hubby and I wouldn't worry about a will or anything until we had kids but now I'm thinking maybe we should at least think about it.

  5. I remember last time Carl went overseas we started talking about what his will said while he was gone, we definitely need to do it beforehand this time. Thank you for the friendly reminder, it's very important

  6. Definitely something oyu never want to think about, but so important! I'm sure that caused all kinds of scares asking people that at the hospital.

  7. Angel has talked about these kind of decisions alot, because he feels like all of the time he sees family members who just want their relatives to be kept alive at all costs so they insist on life support for weeks at a time when there is no chance of survival, racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, too--so he's told me all of the things he doesn't want done, but we haven't had any papers to make things really official. Sometimes I wonder about wills too--the kind determining where your possessions go when you die...but I don't know what the benefit of having one is (because my only possession of any value is a 17 year old car.) I would hope that the law says that everything you own automatically goes to next of kin, which would be spouse, but I actually don't know. I guess I'll ask my lawyer (Grandpa) about it on Easter.... You got me thinking really early in the morning!

  8. This is a really important thing, and I wish I could say I have done it. My husband and I don't even have a will, and we just had a daughter in December. We really need to get on that.