Wednesday, April 07, 2010

San Diego Vacation part 2

Friday was "Mom & Me" day. We headed to La Jolla village for manicure/pedicure time, then to a crepe shop for a lunch. A shopping jaunt was next; Ross rocked for purses, shoes and summer knit tops.

Above: fresh pedicure, and crazy Gladiator shoes that I had to try on for fun.
The shoes actually had a zipper on the back of the heel cup!
Great "sittin' shoes"; I certainly wouldn't have been likely to have been able to do much more than teeter a few steps before sitting down or falling down anyway. Those heels were like six inches high!
This is the second or third time in my life that the Gladiator look has ruled in the shoe ware department. I'm thinking if they make another comeback once I am wheel chair bound I am definitely going to get a pair or two to wear.
Just to let people know that I am still feisty in my old age....
HAD to get the mermaid purse for Laura.
Seriously, how many times have you EVER seen a MERMAID purse???
(I was so glad to get it for her at Ross; the manufacturer's price would have been a deal breaker otherwise).
Mom and I finished up shopping and raced home, Laura raced in from work, I switched outfits and then Laura and I raced off to Olive Garden for her Advanced Directives Party.
Yes, you read that right.
An Advance Directive Party.
You know...the paper work where you declare the people you would want to make medical decisions for you if you couldn't.
She has come up with what I consider to be a brilliant idea: Invite a bunch of friends and acquaintances to go out for dinner together. Pull out advanced directive forms and help everyone read through them, answer questions, and then everyone can witness each others forms.
Why is this such a brilliant idea?
Because when you are feeling just fine, and everyone else around you is feeling just fine and there is good food on the table it is much easier to banter about who you would or wouldn't want to make decisions for you if you were unable to make decisions about your medical care.
Knowing you can change your mind the next day if you want to and just fill out another form makes making those decisions so much easier to do.
Now days paper work for any medical treatment in a hospital seems to include an advanced directive form.
What isn't included is Laura's special touch: Specific Advanced Directives.
It was quite interesting to hear nurses and their friends discuss why they would or would not want various means of life support.
Blood products were particularly interesting: Currently one kind of blood product costs $15,000 a bag.
Patients have been known to receive a bag of blood every four hours for a irreversible medical condition that was the result of a medical treatment.
Quality of life was pretty much zip.
Laura decided to specify that she was willing to receive blood products like that one, but for no more than two weeks.
There were some treatments that she personally felt she would never want to have started.
Other treatments she specified only for a particular time frame.
We talked about the whys and why nots.
There were several pages of "specifics" and I personally didn't get around to deciding about every item.
But now I want to do my research and my thinking so my family will never have to ponder those things in a time of crisis.
Laura and her co-worker have had lots of experience sitting with families who are trying to decide such things as where a very seriously ill family member will live out their final days.

They have watched family members square off into different camps, some wanting "everything" done to sustain any flicker of life, while others are able to compassionately and regretfully decide that it is time to let go.
Not a happy situation in an already difficult time.
I totally admire these young women for what they do, and Laura for stepping up to make having such discussions become an activity that could feel more like a party.
Believe it or not, there was some laughter.
There were some furrowed brows.
Some eyebrows were raised, some heads shook and then papers were signed and resigned by witnesses.
It took a bit of thought to decide and let it be known what was and was not acceptable in advance.
G tube?
Organ transplants?
What are you willing to donate?
OK to have organs shipped out of the country?
Just a few options that were examined.
Better now than later.

PS: A quote from one of my favorite websites oncRN

nurse - 'wait, why are we offering this super difficult treatment to this super old person with super crappy disease?'
doctor - 'because she wants treatment'

i so desperately need a game show buzzer for my pocket....because we're sorry - that is incorrect

i have yet to meet a patient who wants treatment.

patients want an outcome.

big difference.

(Me: A-MEN!!!)


ellen b. said...

I think that's a great thing to do! :0)
When I'm wheel chair bound is the only time I could pull off shoes like that. My calf and leg cramp up just trying to wedge my foot in one of those high heeled shoes let alone walk in them...OYE!

Lovella ♥ said...

I admire this kind of thinking ahead. . .maybe I'll hold a party for me and mine and see whatn they encourage me and mine to sign. This is something we always joke about but when it comes right down to it. . a very important subject and one worth a solid discussion at the very least.

Anonymous said...

Oh man! A Canadian Advanced Directives Party hosted by me and Running Wildly!!! Oh what interesting times could be held!!! ~said daughter

Islandsparrow said...

I'd probably end up in a wheel chair if I tried to wear those heels!

L&D said...

WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA!!!!! This is such a tough topic to broach with people, so well done Laura! Where did she get her forms? Did she make them or where they already made? I'd be super interested in getting a copy.

Judy said...

Some party planner you have there! Smile. Not a bad idea, actually.

As for the shoes...they would be the death of me.

Vicki said...

I think the planning ahead/future-patient education party should be a must for all of us. I know I'm horribly ignorant in things like that.

I quit wearing heels of any height about 20 years ago!

a woman who is said...

Man I was disappointed you didn't get those shoes!

They looked so good on you. My daughter was trying on some in somber black at Nordstrom's.

I don't know with you style for hats...and those shoes...think about it :D