You Want Me To Do What?

D2F03178-0A8B-414F-8C8B-FD3D38D61648As I prepare to have my head operated on around the end of the month, there are certain steps I’m required to take prior to the surgery. I must have an EKG to ensure, I suppose, that my heart can handle the stress. I have to have a bunch of blood tests, I suppose, to validate that my blood is red, good, and that there are no underlying diseases lingering. And I have to have a pre-operative physical exam from my primary care physician, I suppose, to confirm that I’m of sound mind and body.

I had the physical exam on Thursday and I apparently passed with flying colors. In fact, my doctor said that I’m in great health — for a man my age. I don’t know why she had to add that caveat about a man my age, but whatever.

Then she asked me if I had an advance directive. “A what?” I asked. She gave me a website and suggested I download and complete the advance directive form. “Just to be on the safe side,” she added.

So when I got home I googled “Advance Directive,” and much to my chagrin, this is what I found:

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They give you a way to tell your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals and to avoid confusion later on.

End-of-life care! WTF? My surgery is going to be done in a surgical center on an outpatient basis, not even at a hospital. But my doctor thinks I need to provide legal instructions regarding my medical care “just in case” I am unable to make medical decisions for myself.

Damn. That doesn’t give any warm fuzzies. My doc seems concerned that I might come out of surgery and not be mentally competent to make my own health care decisions. Or maybe even be brain dead!

Up until now, I haven’t been too worried about this surgery. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to it so that my hearing issue will be fixed. But now that my very own doctor has told me to make sure I have a legal document that will give the doctors and my family instructions on what to do in case I come out of surgery in a vegetative state, I’m feeling a bit uneasy.

Thanks a lot, Doc.

35 thoughts on “You Want Me To Do What?

  1. newepicauthor December 6, 2019 / 6:06 pm

    The surgery is usually much safer than the anesthesia, as you never know what will go wrong with that. A few weeks back I wrote about my doctor wanting me to get a living will and I actually started on it. I hope everything works out for you, but it is better to be safe than sorry and you should be able to get your wife to help you with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marilyn Armstrong December 6, 2019 / 6:15 pm

    It’s the anesthesia. Sometimes, it kills people. And dogs and cats and horses too and it’s entirely unpredictable. You should have that directive anyway because my first husband DIDN’T have one and what a tragedy ensued. I think everyone I know IMMEDIATE signed DNRs and directives. No one wanted to go through that. It was awful.

    Also, ask you they think you should get a meningitis vaccination. That goes with the territory too. I know we don’t like to think about this stuff, but you could get hit by a car in the parking lot before you ever GET to surgery. BOTH of us have DNRs. So does my son.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Willowsoul December 6, 2019 / 6:29 pm

    An advanced heath directive is a great idea.
    It’s really important that you have the death talk with your family….

    I have seen simple surgical procedures go very wrong and families have no clue what the loved one wanted because people don’t discuss death….

    On a brighter note I see many more surgeries go as planned as I’m sure yours will.
    The fact that your doctors have done a full work up is very impressive and bodes well for you, your recovery and any future issues.
    Don’t be afraid of the death talk…. it’s part of life it’s inevitable…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. msjadeli December 6, 2019 / 6:43 pm

    Fandango, I’m sorry not to be up to speed on why you need “head surgery” except what you say here about your hearing, but you can always change your mind and say you don’t want it. You are the patient and patients have rights. When I see all of that I don’t blame you for being real nervous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango December 6, 2019 / 9:54 pm

      I have a growth in my middle ear and unless it is removed, I will lose my hearing in that ear entirely. So my choice comes down to have the surgery or go deaf in one ear.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. annieasksyou December 6, 2019 / 6:57 pm

    We’ve had advance directives and health care proxies for years—it’s part of the territory today. Don’t dwell on it—just assume all will be well. I’m sure it will be.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. rugby843 December 6, 2019 / 9:08 pm

    I know the feeling – a bit off putting, but a good idea. I would never want to burden my family with the decision of keeping me on machines, etc or pulling the plug! You’ll be safe there but in case of an unexpected car accident, etc, getting run over by a truck, you know, the usual?🥴. A good idea to have one handy.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sadje December 6, 2019 / 9:28 pm

    You know doctors like to cover all bases, specially al legal aspects. Don’t worry about your surgery, I’m sure it will be fine. It’s an out patient procedure.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Christine Bolton December 6, 2019 / 9:43 pm

    It’s the way of the world these days isn’t it? I think many people have them now. I have one because it makes sense. I’m sure your procedure will be fine anyway. .🙂👍

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jenanita01 December 6, 2019 / 11:24 pm

    Hardly conducive to your fragile state of mind! Maybe he thought you weren’t worrying quite enough…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ruth December 6, 2019 / 11:25 pm

    Sounds like routine preparatory paperwork – you’ll be fine! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Stroke Survivor UK December 7, 2019 / 12:09 am

    I must admit I’m surprised you never thought about all this, years ago. Even if you never made it clear, you must have an idea, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango December 7, 2019 / 9:58 am

      I’ve thought about it, as in a living will, but just haven’t gotten around to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. acflory December 7, 2019 / 2:14 am

    Ugh. I think ‘How not to be empathic and tactful 101’ is part of the medical curriculum. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  13. marlagro December 7, 2019 / 6:51 am

    My experience…Once the documents are in place, one can focus on the human emotions again! Plus, it gets things in order for your loved ones with any medical issues you may not be up to handling in the future. If they need to step in to make decisions like signing a check on your behalf, they can do it quickly versus being tied up at a bank or lawyers office (and not able to be with you.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango December 7, 2019 / 10:05 am

      Yeah, I guess it makes sense, but just hearing it the way I did sort of freaked me out.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. JoAnna December 7, 2019 / 9:28 am

    Your post got me talking with my husband about this. We have no such paperwork. Maybe next year….. I hope your surgery goes great and your hearing stays as good as it can be!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. marlagro December 7, 2019 / 10:52 am

    I hear you. Presentation is everything and if they presented like “Sir, you are getting this minor surgery and we know everything will be fine, but just in case we mess up, please sign these documents stating what to do with your organs.” You are like “What ta heck are you inferring? Holy crapazoid!” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Melanie B Cee December 7, 2019 / 11:04 am

    .Actually the Advance Directive is more for the physician and hospital to CTA (cover their adipose) than as an indication they’re thinking the surgery is really dangerous. I’m no medical professional, so don’t believe me, ask your doctor about it. If the surgery is more dangerous than advertised, well at least you’d know, right? But I’m asked for that thing every time I step foot in the hospital, whether it is for surgery or not. Heck, they even asked me if I had one when I went in for my mammogram. And to my knowledge, a mammogram is uncomfortable, but not lethal. 😐 I don’t have a current one. Take comfort in the fact that you may have motivated a whole raft of us to do theirs already and stop putting it off. Someone wise once told me “A person can die of random shtuff at any time.” Which is true I guess. My hubby didn’t have one, he had no will, and save for the fact that I was the only one who stuck around, and that we were still married, I don’t know what would have happened. He just left his care in the hands of the V.A. Which was stupid. There was a lot of red tape, and it was more complicated than it needed to be to take care of his remains. But honestly? Who wants to think they’re going to die, whatever their age? Nobody. So people put off doing that end of life crap until it’s too late. Don’t worry. I’m fairly certain you’ll be just fine.


    • Fandango December 7, 2019 / 3:48 pm

      “Take comfort in the fact that you may have motivated a whole raft of us to do theirs already and stop putting it off.” Excellent. Maybe I should go back and change the name of my post to “An Important Public Service Announcement.” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Marleen December 7, 2019 / 12:37 pm

    Yeah, I’m thinking about it now.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. leigha66 December 8, 2019 / 11:42 pm

    There is of course risk in any type of surgery and I am sure the doctor just discussed something that is very routine before any type of procedure. I hope you get your hearing back to where it was!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Carol Anne December 18, 2019 / 3:41 pm

    Geepers! Way to scare you! I’d be so freakin terrified! So did you do it? Get the advanced directive? I hope that the surgery goes well for you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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