Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Freedom of Choice

A lot has been going on since I last posted.  My dad is in the hospital, and has given us quite a scare.  He hasn't been doing well for a while.  I know that's pretty vague, but that's how it goes.  "Multiple Systems Atrophy"  -- everything is giving out.  (He just turned 88 years old.)  He was hospitalized for pneumonia, but is getting over it.  My mom told me that my dad's words to me, before going on the respirator (in case he didn't come off of the respirator), were for me to keep going to dialysis.  My mom thought it was a little silly, "of course she'll keep going to dialysis".  I think my dad realizes that it's a choice.  Every time I go now, I think of what he said.  I look at some of the people around me and wonder what my choice would be if I were in their shoes.  Some of the people are in really bad shape.  For now, I'm doing well with it, and live a pretty good existence.  Yes, dialysis is a pain in the ass, but a necessary one, and not so bad in the great scheme of things.  Things could always be worse.  Seeing my dad struggle this week has reminded me how short and precious life is, how sweet the time is with those we love, regardless of how they may stress us out sometimes.  It also reminded me of how important choice is in our overall health care.  He and my mom chose for him to go on the respirator on a temporary basis to see if it would help, but not to be on it permanently.  He came off of it today, and it helped him recover.  He could have chosen not to go on it at all.  What he didn't want was to be on it regardless of the outcome.  I'm using this as a reminder to update my living will, and to remind others to do the same.  We all need to decide how we want things to be in these situations.  I think my family would know what to do, but I think it's always best to have it spelled out.  We have choices, and we should let our decisions be known whatever they may be.

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