Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Reminder For Me 3-15-2007

Preparing To Enter Glory (Part Two)
Advanced Care Directives Are Needful


Christian Brothers and Sisters An Advanced Care Directive is Needful! Have You Completed One?

In 1983 I was blessed to be a member of Pinellas Park Presbyterian Church in Pinellas Park Florida with an excellent young pastor the Rev. Joe Easterling. He taught a series in the adult Sunday School class “On Death and Dying” This was perhaps the best class I ever attended. I still have the notes from that class and have used them over the years as I have gone through deaths of family and friends. This class taught what why we die, how we are to approach death, Christ’s conquering death, the need of planning my funeral, etc.Therefore, it is quite natural for me to “pen” this blog in order to remind you to give advanced medical care directives[1] since sickness and death happens. Now, I cannot begin to tell you how important it is that you give your family and medical care professionals your directions for health care in case you lose the ability to communicate. You have the opportunity to give directions now if you just fill out and file a health care advanced directive form. If you don’t make those health care decisions known rest assured someone will make those decisions for you. If someone decides your care it may not be even be what desire. It may even cause excessive stress on your family and could turn into a legal matter. Remember Terri Schiavo?

My desire here is to prompt you to get this done!Now it is understandable that this can be an emotional thing to do. But to make those decisions now is the responsible thing to do. In completing the form brings peace of mind that you will be taken care of in a dignified manner. Fulfilling this responsibility is the best for you, your family and for your medical care professionals.

It is best for you since you know your health care goals, what is important to you and what is in line with your values. It is good for your family and medical care professionals since they are relieved of the extra burden placed upon them.The choices you make are completely yours. You do not need to consult anyone before filling out your advanced care plan. However in most cases, probably all, it is wise and helpful to consult with close family members or others as needed.


So, if you’re uncomfortable and think you need to consult with family, doctor or an attorney it is ok! After all the Bible says “… in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Pro 11:14). Call and set times to meet and discuss your values, needs and set you plan.

I set down many years ago and wrote out my basic desire concerning what I wanted in different medical situations. As simplistic as it is it did help me think through possible issues and circumstances and the role of the church and biblical principles in case of medical extremes. I found writing out what I really wanted helped me in filling out the formal directive form. And I attached it to my form since I have discussed it with both family and my pastor. You may find the following useful as well:



I, (Name)___________________ on (Date) ______________do declare my wants known to my family, church and health care providers who may medically treat any condition of which may be found. I declare my wants and desires in three areas, the first being that of a nature which is found in accident and injury. The second found in the nature of a terminal illness and thirdly the nature of old age and life just drawing to a close.Whereas I believe God is the giver and sustainer of life and reserves the right to take it and that the family has the biblical authority to make final decisions if I am not able make my own and that the church has spiritual oversight for care and counsel I, ask that any and all final decisions be made for me in the proper order by the family[2] and if need be seeking wisdom and counsel from the elders of a Reformed Conservative Presbyterian Church, preferably the one I would be currently attending[3].Believing that death is not the worst thing Christians must concern themselves with and believing that this present life has significance and is to be lived to its fullest and not abandoned because of suffering and death faced with realism and with readiness I desire these wants fulfilled as follows:


A. IN CASE OF ACCIDENT

In case of accident and injury there can be advanced medical technology used to support my life while I am recuperating. If however it is determined that I cannot survive without these extreme measures and I am in a comatose or vegetative state after prayers and anointing of oil[4] by the elders of the church and then without healing I desire that my family have me taken off the extreme devises. Please be advised that under no circumstances am I to be given pain medications that do more than is necessary to reduce pain because as much as possible I desire to see, know and communicate with family and friends.[5].


B. IN CASE OF TERMINAL ILLNESS


In case I am found to be diagnosed as terminally ill I desire to be given medications either by injections or orally. In the case of cancer I will want chemotherapy and radiation treatment and acceptance of any other medical advancement of these types. I want all to know that I want to be with family, friends and church family as much as possible. I desire no pain medications which do more than is necessary to reduce pain because as much as possible I desire to fellowship with, see, know and communicate with family and friends. If such a time comes where I need extreme measures to continue my life for “just a few more days”[6] I want this not to be done since it is clear the Lord is calling me home.


C. ELDERLY END OF LIFEIn coming to the end of life as elderly person I ask that these things be followed. If needed place me on extreme measures only to help in recuperation, but if there is no recuperation I am to be taken off the extreme measures and let God bring my life to a close. I also desire that family, friends and church family be able to be in my company at my last days and hours before death.


Footnotes:

[1] The forms can be obtained at you local doctors office, or nearby hospital. I also point you to the following website for information on advanced care directives and an excellent form http://cbhd.org/.[2] Proper order is immediate family member if possible and a second one as alternate.[3] (Name of Church and Elders) __________________[4] In all cases prayer for healing is expected.[5] In times like these I have seen closure in otherwise stressful relationships accomplished.[6] A “few more days” may translate into more pain and increased burden and cost on the family.

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