Friday, September 30, 2011

Advanced Directives

I'm going to get up on a soap box right now and tell everyone that they need an advanced directive. Really, get one today. Make your wishes known to your family. I would recommend choosing someone who would be able to carry out your wishes under the emotional stress that may be present in a difficult circumstance.

I'm posting this for several reasons. I am comfortable with my beliefs regarding life after death. We were all made to die. To me, it's a natural part of life, just as it is to be born. Working in healthcare, I've become more concerned with issues such as quality of life. I've seen skeletons of little old ladies unable to speak or eat and lay contracted in their beds, incontinent. Maybe this is what they wanted. But is this what you want for yourself? If you don't, make your wishes known.

Recently at work, we had an experience where a resident had a massive stroke and was found on the floor of their apartment. The paperwork is which the resident stated that they were a DNR (do not resuscitate) was no where to be found. In that case, the resident was rushed to the hospital and placed on a ventilator. The decision then fell on the son, to take the resident off life support? What a difficult decision.

Keep in mind, advanced directives are not only for when you are 95 years old. Heaven forbid that you were in a devastating car crash tomorrow...would that change your wishes? There are many options regarding CPR, ventilators, dialysis, feeding tubes, organ donation, etc. So please, file an advanced directive with your physician and review it with your family.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happiness is a choice

Growing up, I'd heard things like "you can choose your attitude" or "no one can make you mad." I thought this was the kind of garbage you hear from a lame self-help book, but I was also a really unhappy person. Luckily, I had the opportunity to grow and mature and change my outlook on life and I've come to the conclusion that yes, happiness is a choice.

Now I can honestly say that I am a happy person. I like myself and my life. I attribute a lot of this change to this.

In my work and school, I am constantly meeting new people. All kinds of people. And its given me a chance to reflect on this concept which I've decided to blog about. I think some people think I will be happy when _________ (fill in the blank.) Par example:

I will be happy when I get a boyfriend.
I will be happy when I'm married.
I will be happy when I get into nursing school.
Oh wait, I will be happy when I graduate from nursing school!
I will be happy when I buy a house and have children.
I will be happy when my kids are potty trained.
I will be happy when my kids are grown.
I will be happy when I am retired.
Etc. Etc.

You could go your whole life without enjoying a single moment of it! What a waste! Be happy now! Enjoy the stage you are in! Life changes, everyone struggles, but find something to be happy about. I come across many people who are very, very sick or who are very lonely. But some of them are still very cheerful people. Others are cantakerous grouches that no one likes to interact with.

Some people are rich, have family involved in their lives but still can't find satisfaction in life. There is one particular lady at my work who has been struggling with breast cancer and she is a widow, but oh how the room lights up when she enters! She stays busy, makes friends with everyone and goes on cruises with other friends from the retirement community. On the other hand, there is another widow who cries to me often because she is so lonely and unhappy. (Believe me, she has my sympathy and compassion.) What is the difference between these 2 women? Well, one makes an effort to leave her apartment and makes friends. She volunteers. The conclusion that I've come to, is that you must choose to be happy no matter your circumstance. Easier said than done, I'm sure.

My advice: reflect on what you are grateful for. Do something nice for someone else. Life is uncertain. Enjoy your your happy moments. Endure the not so happy moments with a smile and courage, they will not last forever. Someone wise* once said, "Life's what you make it, so let's make it rock!"

(*Please, please note my online sarcasm. However that song illustrates my point beautifully.)