"The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy." John Galsworthy
My journey of the last three years has taught me a lot about the country, family, friends, my adaptability, and more. There is one lesson I did not expect and it is perhaps the most valuable..."am I ready for the inevitable?"
Somehow we think our lives will go on, right to the end, in just the same fashion they are right now. That we won't need someone else to help us eat, dress, maintain our homes, or watch out for us in the hospital. Well, folks, I hate to break it to you but that time is now! Our ability to be independent can change in a heartbeat! I was 63 when I had my heart attack. My mother was 49 when rheumatoid arthritis hit her and, for a year, she was completely bedridden and unable to care for herself. I know someone who has been a quadriplegic from the age of 18. It is a dangerous world out there and car accidents, viruses, body breakdowns, or recessions can change our world overnight.
Good Grief! What is happening to my usually optimistic self? I know I am not ready for any of the afore mentioned possibilities. Any disaster to me would fall into the lap of one or all three of my children, or to my sisters, and, if I have not laid the groundwork, that would be a real disservice to those I love.
From my brother-in-law, Don, I learned first-hand that hospitals can be very dangerous places and you need a loved one, or a very close friend, to monitor your progress. That person (or persons) needs to have access to all the relevant information--What is the diagnosis? Prognosis? What drugs am I taking? Why are they being given? What are the side effects? Who's the doctor? When and who decides it is time for a second opinion?
With Don I learned that there is something called the Hippa law that says "no one except a spouse or a parent of a minor may get answers to those questions unless their names are written into a medical power of attorney".
But what if the spouse is not in the picture? What if the minor is now old enough to drink--and drive? Folks, it is never too soon to assign someone to do your medical-monitoring--everyone needs a 'designated decider'. And don't name just one lucky person to do the job--two or three friends or family members may be needed to fulfill that task.
Point two--ask each one if they are willing then copy each one with the POA so, in an emergency, they can arrive at the hospital with that valuable document in hand.
I have decided that, if I continue to travel--alone--and in an RV, I had better have a ready Medical Power of Attorney. Do I? Of course not. I do have something legal and stashed away in my storage unit but no one would ever find it in an emergency.
So, this week, I will go to work on a legal form I can keep in the RV as well as send to the people I want to make those decisions for me. You lucky ducks!