The kit includes legal and medical documents to write down your wishes so they can be honored when the time comes. Unfortunately, we, and many of our patients cannot choose when, where, or how we will die, but we may change some of the conditions and experiences that will surround that period. I have remote memories of a steady stream of caring people, carrying hot meals and home-baked pies as they came to my grandparent’s house.
In addition, the kit defines terms that are commonly used in the conversation such as: This year, as we gather family and friends for the holidays, invite a conversation about the future, a different future, one that you may not be able to control or predict, but one you want to discuss. When I was young, my Aunt Isabelle once told me about the best way to go, the 3-day death: one day to let everyone know your going, another to let friends come to say goodbye, and the last one to be with your family. There were no hospital beds, oxygen tubes, or suction machines.
Each person is their own best expert on what he/she wants and needs.
Medical and legal people may become a part of the discussion later, but it should begin with you.
, the one that allows us and the people we care about to talk about the last stage of life, while being firmly grounded in today.
It’s not easy to talk about how you want the end of your life to be, even more difficult, to ask others.In the intensive care unit, people are often robbed of the things they want to say and do.They may not be able to be with the people they love most.The end comes with no chance for you to have said goodbye or “it’s OK” or “I’m sorry” or “I love you.” Often at the end of life for our loved ones, we are unsure of what to do, where to be. My friend Joe was close to his last days, battling renal cancer. The details had all been discussed over the last days, as family and friends prepared for the inevitable.As an intensive care unit nurse, I soon realized that a simple death was a gift; not everyone would have an opportunity to be together with family, talking and sharing stories, often mending fences and sharing prayers.Editor in Chief Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing Adjunct Faculty William F.Connell School of Nursing Boston College Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.Dr Atul Gawande tells us, “Spending one’s final days in an ICU because of terminal illness is for most people a kind of failure. You lie on a ventilator, your every organ shutting down, your mind teetering on delirium, and permanently beyond realizing that you will never leave this borrowed, fluorescent place.