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Aug 23 Published in death and dying by Telynor
I think if you know what a person believes about death and dying, you'll also know something about what life means to them. For that reason, I offer a copy of an addition I made to my 'Advanced Directive' below. (You can obtain an Advanced Directive form from a local hospital or your primary care physician.)
As one who lives with a chronic, life-changing/threatening disease, death is often on the 'back-burner' of my tmind. I've also been influenced by a time in which I spent four and a half days in a coma, coming close to death - and having a near death experience (NDE) - during my last year in college. That time has deeply shaped my views of death and dying - and is the reason I am so profoundly honored when I have the opportunity to work with someone in process of dying.
Since death will come for all of us somewhere along the way, I highly recommend spending a bit of time creating an Advanced Directive. It allows the medical professionals to know who can speak for you, if you are ever in a situation when you can't relate your wishes for medical care. In American culture, death is still an uncomfortable topic to discuss. I offer this page I added to my Advanced Directive, in hopes that it will give you a starting point to begin thinking about those people and things that truly give your life meaning - to appreciate the life you have, in the here and now - and to spark a conversation with your loved ones..
Surprising to many, to ponder the meaning and mystery of death is to get in touch with the wonder and precious nature of living!
************************************************************************SPECIFIC HEALTHCARE INSTRUCTIONSADDED TO ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE
BARBRA CHRISTEN TELYNOR
STATEMENT OF GUIDING PRINCIPLES
I am grateful for the life I have lived and the medical advances which have made that possible. I believe I am here on this planet to be a channel of Divine Energy - which often comes through the work I do in music and ministry; as well as in day to day gatherings with the people I am fortunate enough to have grace my life. I hope to live many more years, in order to share my gifts and talents and BE the gift, to all I meet along the Journey.
It is my deepest desire to live a meaningful life; defining ‘meaningful' as whether I can tell or understand a joke. I believe death and decay are a part of the process of life, and welcome them when their time is due. Should a medical condition, illness or situation make it unlikely (at best) or impossible (at worst) for me to offer the gift of who I am to others, I wish to leave this world as gently and graciously as possible.
If my condition is such that there is a good chance for recovery and I will be able to live independently with the ability to communicate and interact with life, please choose the appropriate tests, surgeries, drugs and other medical care, which will support my healing.
If recovery seems borderline, allow two to three weeks and then reassess my prognosis using whatever means are appropriate. If after that has been completed, and there seems to be no significant chance for a meaningful life, allow me to die, with palliative comfort care, calling upon hospice.
Should I be deemed ‘brain dead' or in a vegetative state or irreversible coma - unable to think, communicate and interrelate with others in a meaningful way, please remove life support and offer palliative comfort care, allowing me to die naturally; and sing to me and play music to speed my Journey on.
If I've received a terminal diagnosis and it seems I have several days/weeks/months of life left, I'd prefer to spend it in Hospice care at home (or home-like setting) surrounded by friends and my chosen family.
In a situation in which it is unlikely that I could return to a functional state, a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) is appropriate. The refusal of feeding is also appropriate, if I am in a situation of being near death, and palliative care is being offered.
If the treatment will leave me with no more than some ability to think or communicate with others, and the likely risks and burdens of treatment outweigh the expected benefits, please administer palliative comfort care and call in hospice care. Risks, burdens and benefits include consideration of quality of life, length of life, financial costs and my personal dignity and privacy.
At my death, please allow my body to be ceremonially blessed - (and bathed if appropriate); then, if there are organs which could be used for donation, please harvest them in the manner most helpful for transplant. And finally cremate whatever is left of me and scatter my ashes in the ocean.
Thank you for tending me in this manner.