Sunday, 30 November 2014

I asked my nephews to sign

the "Advanced Care Directive" last night.
This is the document in this state which will give them the right to decide what should happen if I become so seriously ill or disabled that I can no longer make decisions for myself.
I have three nephews and a niece but only the two nephews here are involved in this. One is a doctor and the other has a law degree although he works in another field.
I had asked them to think about it earlier and the response was, "We don't need to think about it Aunty Cat. We'll do it."
But I know they did think about it. They are both aware that I am asking them to take on a potentially huge responsibility.
My doctor nephew asked me several questions about what I wanted. It is interesting when he slips from being my nephew to being a doctor. The questions were sensible and searching and although we both knew what the answers would be he still asked. If anyone asks him in the future he can say he asked.
I'll leave it up to them. I trust them. These are the boys who might have a single glass of alcohol in a week but more than likely won't. They don't smoke and have never tried drugs. They speed - but only around the go-kart track. They care about people and other animals with more than usual concern.
I don't think they are saints. They would not describe themselves as saints. What they are is what I most want - ordinary, decent, caring and loving people who want the best for everyone.
My sister and I had a similar responsibility for our mother - although we discussed decisions with our father and our brother. We have the same responsibility for our father - but again we would discuss decisions with our brother. We all hope we won't have to make those decisions but our father has placed his trust in us to "know". Will we? We know what he wants. He's 91, almost 92.
I have an acquaintance around the corner. He has a terminal lung condition. He is about sixty. They offered him a lung transplant which would extend his life. He refused and asked them to give it to someone younger. Recently he had a couple of nights in intensive care. He asked them not to take extraordinary measures. They didn't. He has recovered and is back doing things.
           "I wasn't meant to go yet," he told me - apparently cheerfully.
We have talked about his end-of-life wishes. His wife knows what he wants but he has asked, "And when the time comes Cat, you will be around for her won't you?"
Of course I will because yes, it's a huge responsibility and I can only admire my nephews having the courage and maturity to agree to take it on.

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