Engage With Grace

Earlier in the day, I'd noticed folks twittering about something called Engage With Grace. Being in clinic, I didn't pay much attention. Back home, I found out about the Mumbai attacks. Terrorists launched an unprecedented attack at multiple places in Mumbai, India, killing and wounding several and taking hostages. The news shook me, and this post hit home.

We hardly ever plan to die. Or even fall sick. Sickness and death happen, sometimes when you least expect them to. When I was on consult service, we were regularly consulted for End of LIfe issues. Take an example. A 50 year old man was in the hospital and appointed his son the Medical Power of Attorney. He then went to live with his daughter instead, and told her he wanted to die peacefully at home.  When he was on his death bed, five years later, his daughter and son disagreed on the plan and the son's wishes had to be followed, resulting in a course of treatment (and suffering) the patient probably had not wanted.

This happens ALL the time. And it is completely preventable. Consider this.

  • 73% of Americans would prefer to die at home, but anywhere between 20-50% of Americans die in hospital settings.
  • More than 80% of Californians say their loved ones “know exactly” or have a “good idea” of what their wishes would be if they were in a persistent coma, but only 50% say they've talked to them about their preferences.
  • Eight out of ten people say it is “very” or “somewhat” important to write down EOL wishes, but only 36% actually have written instructions.

Our conversation can make a difference. This Thanksgiving, talk to your loved ones about this.

  • Commit 2 minutes to present The One Slide at your next company meeting
  • Share the slide with loved ones over dinner
  • Be able to answer the questions for yourself and for your loved ones
  • Answer the five questions on this site
  • Encourage others to do the same


Download the slide here.

For more information, go to www.engagewithgrace.org

Create your free online advanced directives here.

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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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10 Responses to Engage With Grace

  1. lauowolf says:

    And if you have already done this.Was it recent?Was it ten years ago?Do you remember what you said.If you designated people, are they who you would choose today?This isn't a one-shot deal – you need to revisit it periodically.

  2. sylph says:

    I wish my mom had done that. I have never stopped wondering how she'd have felt knowing the decisions I had to make to end her life that I was completely not prepared to make. Thanks for this. It's so sad, the things that bring us to these realizations.

  3. Emjay says:

    The attacks in Mumbai were quite shocking. I hope that your family and friends are all safe. My husband and I have talked about what we would like but really we should discuss it also with my children. Death is an uncomfortable conversation but it should be done.

  4. Scott says:

    Oh YEAH. Burden me with Thanksgiving responsibility why don't you. 🙂
    I have been procrastinating about these very tasks. I've even got the WillMaker software that gives you exactly the documents you need to sign. So easy, yet so easy to put off. It is a good thing I have not been hit by a bus (for multiple reasons).
    The mother of one of our kids' friends once lived in one of the Mumbai buildings. Do you have any ties there?

  5. Purplesque says:

    Completely agree. As I filled out mine, I realized there were some options which were likely to change after a few years.

  6. Purplesque says:

    Oh, sylph. I'm sorry. It is a hard place to be, and a place I've seen quite a few people struggling at. I don't believe any of us would want our families to have to deal with such issues knowingly. There is something about thinking, planning about impending death that makes it hard to take it head on.

  7. Purplesque says:

    Everybody that I know is safe, Emjay, thank you. I've been stuck to the laptop since yesterday, following the news mindlessly. It goes away when I turn off the computer, and that seems even worse.Have that conversation with your children. Its the least that we can do.

  8. Purplesque says:

    There is something about having to think of yourself in that situation that makes it hard to fill an advanced directive form. Why else would take me two years to finish something so simple? But now its done, and I assure you, it feels good.I have no family in Mumbai, but several friends and friends' friends. All are safe.

  9. My husband and I have already talked about it and we agreed on the same thing. We will go to the Netherlands and get ourselves euthanized. No children will be in our future so that's taken care of too. Maybe we should inform our parents just in case we died before them? But that's gonna open a giant can of worms. 😛

  10. Purplesque says:

    🙂 I completely understand. Netherlands, eh? Now you're giving me ideas.

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