When you have had to deal with a major illness the experience itself has a profound impact on not only the individual who has to personally face the situation, but these types of medical experiences impact the family and care givers too. Major illness covering several months of hospital admissions, surgeries, procedures and treatments is exhausting. The experience of keeping up with dates, medications and attempting to manage yourself under these conditions is more than one person can handle.
When we add others individuals into this type of situation the patient now has additional stresses. Even when it is family members that are attempting to give aid by handling household bills, or helping the patient to keep track of their scheduled appointments or treatments is frustrating. I am smiling as I type this sentence because I’m thinking to myself, this is frustrating to the patient and to the care giver too. Frustration on both ends of the spectrum, now that’s a mess.
Handing major illness and sickness challenges everything about us. Being sick with the flu, dealing with shingles, having a pain in your knee or experiencing pain in your back are all challenging? Personally having to use a medication dispenser with morning, noon, evening and bedtime labeling is one sign of the medical situation challenges. In a funny way there are many learning opportunities from such experiences. For example, when I came home from the nursing home my mother had purchased a medication dispenser. This tool we used and I am still using, to keep me on schedule with certain medications at specific times. One thing I’ve learned that is funny to me is the many options available to purchase. That is options on medication dispensers you can buy. I learned about all the options because I had a change in one of the medications I was taking. These new pills are best described as ‘horse pills’. Country folks will know what I mean in describing them this way. For the city folks reading my column ‘horse pills’ is a mountain way of saying the pills are so large they would gag a horse when swallowed.
Challenges are those moments or situations in our lives where we must think objectively, weigh out options and consider consequences. Making decisions with respect to our individual health can be a challenging event. While ultimately we are able to make our own decisions the timing for such moments do not always arrive when we are able to take our time and think our situation through with no rush for judgement. Thankfully prior to being ill or emergency issues we have legal options. These options allow us plenty of time for considering our wishes, preferences and health plans. Everyone needs a ‘Last Will and Testament’. No one wants to talk about dying or death but this is a true reality that must be talked about and planned with preparations. A health ‘Living Will’ is most important too, along with a designated ‘Health Surrogate’. That person is able to make health decisions for us when we are unable to do so. Granting ‘Power of Attorney’ so your personal affairs can be attended to in your absence while you are still alive is an absolute must. These subjects are not easy conversations but they are necessary. Every individual 18 years of age should have at least these four documents signed, notarized, and in a place where those trusted have access to these documents.
Make your health care decisions while you are able. Discuss your thoughts and actions about eternity too. All of these decisions I have squared away. Knowing I have empowered others to act on my behalf was easy for me. Jesus Christ acted on my behalf on a cross at Calvary. Having personally discovered the satisfaction of knowing Jesus and I have eternal matters settled, making these earthly decisions were important too. Leaving behind answers to questions, directions and personal thoughts I believe is a part of God’s plan and a part of His peace that remains once we are gone.
Follow Tim Mills on Twitter @THMills.