I hope this ends my series on healthcare issues with The Grunter for a long while. Or he’ll need to get his own blog.
Disclaimer: Our family has a history of finding humor at inappropriate times. We are aware of this and have no plans to make any changes.
When we went to the pre-op appointment for Everett, we were instructed to go over to the hospital and get paperwork done and meet with the anesthesiologist and blah, blah, blah.
It’s hard to pay attention when they are giving you lots of information you don’t want to process.
I also know there is a lesson to be learned if we pay attention and stay in the moment.
Everett and I would both say we were mildly impressed by the smooth mechanics of the newly remodeled hospital and the registration process.
Then the hospital clerk asked him if he had an advanced directive.
Ding, Ding! Teachable moment.
Granted – it is a teachable moment that most people avoid.
I whispered to him that I gave Grandma a signed copy of my Living Will when I was 19.
I’m a planner, what can I say?
Side note: I later explained to Everett that Grandma (my mother) did not bring my Living Will with her when she flew to Florida when I was in the coma and therefore is no longer allowed to make any of my medical decisions. You need to pick someone who is responsible and trustworthy and obviously that is not Grandma.
The side note is actually not the teachable moment.
I wonder if God saves May 27th just for me to have stressful times? It’s okay, I’m getting used to it now. I’ve learned to keep my expectations low and it seems to be working.
It was probably a good time to explain more about what an advanced directive is and why he should sign one. After all, he is 21 year, 8 months and 18 days old at this moment.
The hospital clerk kindly printed out a copy of an advanced directive he could take home and read, sign and bring back and give to the surgeon on the day of his surgery.
We then went upstairs to meet the anesthesiologist. Except we learned that really meant meet a nurse who might know the anesthesiologist.
Luckily she was well-versed in the hospital procedures and took time to answer all our questions. Because of his finger injury the week before and pain meds he was taking, she stepped out to check about drug interactions and what not.
As she left, she handed him a laminated copy of “My Journey” which had a bold black marker message on the top “Do Not Remove from This Room” because obviously people were stealing their “Journey” instructions. It seems after the multi-million dollar hospital makeover, they could not afford additional copies of “My Journey” to actually give to patients. Or they are saving trees.
She instructed him to read through it motioning with her fingers that his Journey would begin at the top and, with a sweeping U-shape, would end at the top.
Again, a whole lot of information to process but we both skimmed it.
Day of Surgery
As we sat in the waiting room, I spied “My Journey” in a lucite standup frame on an end table. And another one just one couch down. I asked Everett to go over and snap a picture of it so we could better document his “Journey”.
When he refused, I told him I would go remove it from the frame and put it in my bag. He seemed skeptical which I took as a dare.
I casually went over to the table and laid the plastic frame down, slipped it out and picked up two very interesting magazines with “My Journey” sandwiched in between.
Sitting back down and quietly showing him that we now had a copy of our own, we discussed whether the sprinkler heads could actually be small cameras. He said he hoped they didn’t search my bag.
This might be some of that inappropriate behavior that we exhibit as we both quietly laughed in the waiting room. I believe it might be more appropriately labeled a coping mechanism.
Which I think is very healthy.
In recovery in his groggy haze, one of the first things he said is that he told the nurses to check my bag because he was pretty sure I had stolen something from the lobby.
He also told us that the anesthesiologist nor the doctor were in the operating room. Just three nurses.
At this point, I don’t think anyone found our little pumpkin very credible. He was mostly just cussing about needing apple juice immediately.
Back to the advanced directive…
I reminded him several times to complete it early. Please don’t do it the night before surgery at 1:00 a.m. and come ask me questions about it. Work ahead boy.
At 1:30 a.m. the
night before morning of surgery he appeared in our bedroom and asked if PhilBillPaul and I could witness and sign the document. I refused on the grounds of it being too late and that he did exactly what I told him not to do.
Story of my life as a parent.
Furthermore, I didn’t think I should witness the document if he put me down to make medical decisions for him.
PhilBillPaul and Rachel signed it. I took a short nap while the family slept through the night.
On our way to the hospital, he gave me a copy and told me while I was waiting I should read it because he included a little “humor” and I should find that page to pass the time.
I didn’t actually read it until the next day.
He did clarify that the doctor’s copy did not contain his humor.
I then pointed out that page 7 clearly stated that his dad could not be a witness since he is the back-up health care agent so his advanced directive was clearly not valid.
Now we have another summer activity. I’m printing advanced directives for all of us to sign.
The fun mom. That’s me.
P.S. Best online explanation I found on advanced directives when I did a quick search. In spite of our inappropriate humor, I actually do believe these things are really important to discuss before people get sick and not just when you become a senior citizen.