The person in charge of making decisions about my living will is my good friend, Dr. Willyard, who hasn’t in the past refused, or even slowed down, while giving me painful treatments to cure an ailment or to correct one of my stupid mistakes with a saw, a blade, a pet, or a drug.
I believe Doc is better able to say whether or not I would prefer further treatment when the decision should be made, than someone more closely related, or possibly listed as a potential receiver in my will. He didn’t want the responsibility, but I insisted, and at least I am happy. We watched my sister, Frances Irma, linger too long in a nursing home, unable to feed herself, or recognize people who loved her, including myself and Judy, and not always remembering we had spent the morning with her when we returned to her room after lunch.
Her daughter complained about the cost of the nursing home, which I knew was being taken out of my sister’s life savings, and I knew many of the patients in that nursing home never were visited by members of their own family. I know that if one’s life savings are drawn down to less than $2,000, that Medicare currently will take over the nursing and doctor’s costs, and I don’t want that to happen to me, or to the tax payers.
Medicare will pay for hospice service, and I have great respect and feel a debt to the people who provide that service, and have close friends that have chosen Hospice service over other treatment, and I hope that opportunity is still open, and will tell Doc that in writing, witnessed by Judy.
My personal experience with my sister’s stay is that nursing homes costs are at or over $7,000 per month, and extensive medical testing would be in addition to that. I play (not too well, but real loudly!) in several bands, all of whom enjoy bringing their music to retirement and nursing homes, and we get good revues from the staff and many of the residents. Of course, those seriously ill in wheel chairs, are unable to leave on their own, but many of them smile or applaud.
Retirement homes are nicer, cheaper – but, when medical care is needed, the residents are moved to where it is available. My father built a room on our Pennsylvania home for my widowed Grandmother to come and live out her life. I spent a lot of the time in my early years in her presence, and when I was about six, I went into her room and found my first dead person. We all attended her funeral, and when in the neighborhood, we visit my grandparents’ side by side grave sites, and say a few words, and leave flowers. I would prefer that passing to the one I have chosen, to be quietly cremated, and my ashes spread over my six acres of garden, trees, pond, and lawn, but I don’t live in or near Pennsylvania.
Currently, the non-profit hospitals seem to be growing quickly to serve the desires of our population, and of course, everybody wants what they think best, especially if the government will provide it. I do not want to be kept unknowingly or forgetfully alive, I want to live life to the fullest, and when unresponsive, I want Doc to call Hospice, and I hope Judy has enough left to pay for their excellent service, and your taxes aren’t raised.
My children have told me they have purchased or created room available to take care of us, to go there whenever we feel the need, but I believe we would soon hate each other. I have enjoyed an independent life, I have made some decisions I wish I had decided in a different manner, but I am adamant in this – unless Doc Willyard declines my request. . . . good gardening