6/16/11: Why I’m not a survivor

It’s a small bracelet, possibly you can’t even read the DNR inscription on it. I’m wearing it these days. I’ve written the following excerpt into my living will. I like being very explicit. And now you know.

Excerpt:

My purpose is to provide guidance as to my desires in the event of my death or disability such that I become unable to manage my affairs or make known my desires and wishes for myself. To the extent possible, I assign durable power of attorney to make medical decisions on my behalf to [Misha Denham].[ Misha ] has indicated that he will faithfully follow my preferences regarding advanced directives, which are that no artificial measures be taken to prolong my life in the event of end-stage chronic illness or a cardiovascular event, serious accident, or other life-threatening situation. In particular, I have no desire to survive a stroke. To this list, I would add that in no circumstances would I wish any artificial means of prolonging my life in the event of a brain injury, traumatic or otherwise. I would not want any procedure, medical intervention, or artificial form of feeding or hydration to prolong my life. I would not want blood products, antibiotics or medications that are not needed for my comfort. I request appropriate comfort measures without regard to the possibility that such measure may hasten my death. If it is possible, I would much prefer to die in my own home with hospice care. However, I do not wish for my end of life care to cause undue distress for my family; therefore, I If it is not practical for me to die at my home, I would like hospice care in whatever setting that I am being cared for. In addition, I accept that it is reasonable to prolong my life temporarily if doing so would allow those who love me to have a sense of closure regarding my life.

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3 Responses to 6/16/11: Why I’m not a survivor

  1. So, what if you had a stroke, brain aneurysm or head trauma and the brain was swelling which made it heard for the physicians to interpret the damage, would you want any life support provided until it was clear what the damage was to your head? What seems hard for families is to determine if they have done their due diligence to determine the amount and severity of damage. Do you think it is worth specifying how to handle certain medical conditions where there may be ambiguity about outcome?

  2. Joyce, my point is that I would not want “a trial of ambiguity” either for my own sake, nor for my family’s sake. I would not want the resources spent on my body in that way. I am not a survivor in that way. I would not want any of it. That’s my point. I’ve certainly given this plenty of thought. These are just my true wishes, as best as I can state them. They may be selfish wishes, but so be it.

  3. Thank you for this guidance. About you, and as a model for us, if we so choose.

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