Monday, January 15, 2007

Being sick, especially on one's day off, is not fun. I was at work on Saturday doing the usual flow of the day. Spent a lot of time on one floor where a patient was dying. The family had asked that I do the service and assumed that it would not be long seeing the way the patient was failing. I told the family member that I would be back on Tuesday and she could contact me then about future arrangements. When I went home, I felt slightly nauseous, later with acute onset of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It lasted a little over a day. I have not had symptoms since returning from the doctor's. (Of course, one does not have symptoms... just like when you take the car to the mechanic...) But nonetheless, I have Norovirus Just as I suspected. I had been told by nursing staff that they had a few cases. This is fairly common occurrence in my workplace, happens 1-2 times a year. So as a result, I am not allowed to return to work until 72 hours after the last symptom. Which from what I can tell was earlier this morning. Of course, I haven't really eaten anything either.
So I was "resting" when I remembered that I had not yet called the church re: the memorial service. So I called to find out if I am allowed to have services for non-members, and the time, etc. Called the family member, gave more info, and my home number as I will not be at work tomorrow as previously stated... The patient is still with us.

You know, it is interesting. The dying process. There are certain generalizations and certain elements that are unique to each person. But inevitably, I will hear a question... why is this happening? What happens when it is all over (morgue and funeral protocol) when will this end? How long does this take? It is interesting really. It is different for every person. Some continue to fight/hang on.. while others declare themselves. One of my ladies decided to stop dialysis treatment, shocking many. The pain was too great for her, the quality of life not good, so she decided that enough was enough. I was visiting her on her last days. She asked me to deliver some items to some staff members "when I die tomorrow". Die tomorrow? don't talk like that.. No, she was firm. Tomorrow. And she was right. It is different with everyone. Every case has different issues, but in the end, the results are the same. Whether they were younger (50-60's) or at the end of the life span (80-90s). Life and death are interesting. And in the end, a soul is lost from us to join those who have gone on before.

This morning, my husband and I went to the notary to begin the process of writing our will. We do not yet have children and there aren't too many assets to deal with, but it is better to write it sooner than later. One of the questions is whether a living will is be included. A will is a legal document, a living will is not, and hence a guideline for others to follow in the event that you cannot speak for yourself. My husband said if there is no brain function, than pull the plug, otherwise I want to live. For me, it is not that simple. I work in a hospital and see the various options. I understand the concept of quality of life (QL), and it means different things to different people. One man told me that QL for him was being to do his job... having his mind, another man's idea of QL was being able to go in the outdoors and go hunting.. his possible amputations would not be good QL. Irony is that despite this knowledge I haven't really defined what QL would be for me, nor have I written an advanced Health directive (aka living will), nor have I had a will. But then I'm young...

1 comment:

as life would have it said...

Overall you don't need a living will & remember it can be overturned in court regardless of what you "want" when you have it down. As you said, its a guidline. Overall though, its the private conversations that you will have with your friend being your husband that will stand the most ground when that time comes.