RE: What matters most to me at the end of my life.
I have been reading and thinking about end-of-life issues lately. I realize how important it is that I communicate my wishes to you and my family.
I know that you are very busy.
You may find it awkward to talk to me about my end-of-life wishes or you may feel that it is too early for me to have this conversation. So I am writing this letter to clarify what matters most to me.
What Matters Most to Me
Examples: Being at home, doing gardening, going to church, playing with my grandchildren
My important future life milestones
Examples: my 10th wedding anniversary, my grandson's high school graduation, birth of my granddaughter
Here is how we prefer to handle bad news in my family
Examples: We talk openly about it, we shield the children from it, we do not like to talk about it, we do not tell the patient
Here is how we make medical decisions in our family
Examples: I make the decision myself, my entire family has to agree on major decisions about me, my daughter who is a nurse makes the decisions etc.
Here is who I want making medical decisions for me when I am not able to make my own decisions
What I DO NOT want at the end of my life
If my heart were to stop beating, do NOT attempt to restart it
I do not want to be on a breathing machine
I do not want artificial liquid feeding
I do not want dialysis
I do not want to spend my last days in a hospital
I do not want to die at home
What I DO WANT at the end of life
I want to be pain free
I want to spend my last days in the hospital
I want you to help me die gently and naturally
I want to die at home
I want hospice care
If my pain and distress are difficult to control, please sedate me (make me sleep with sleep medicines) even if this means that I may die sooner
What to do when my family wants you to do something different than what I want for myself?
I am asking you to show them this letter and guide my family to follow my wishes
I want you to override my wishes as my family knows best