Mine was a C-3,4,5 fusion somewhere around 1961. Being an (American)
football star (in my mind) sucked. Fortunately, no more horsepital
visits until '05 where I had a 1' colon shortening which was also no fun
at all (except it beat the alternative)!
We did a lot of this a few years ago (about 5 - 6 ) but the needs of
the hospitals and treatment centers have changed so much we still had
to rework every agreement.
I have a friend of mine doing this for my folks, and he said it is
important to have all docs reviewed and rewritten as needed every
three to five years. Not so much wills, but in particular the ones
that deal with medical issues.
If there was one thing that I regret about whole affair, it is not
really pressing them hard to get their affairs in order before now. I
asked them, talked to them about it, even set them up with an attorney
to get it done. They would never do anything other than the most
rudimentary documents, and never took care of all the ancillary docs
that make life easier for all.
I kept DNRs and Medical POAs in larger red folders in their house
hanging near doorways that said: FOR EMS ATTENDANTS in large
letters. The EMS guys loved it.
I thought we were all on the same page of keeping the info updated and
taking care of finances, etc., but one day it all stopped, and they
folks were no longer interested.
I should have kept after them and done all I could to get them to take
care of this stuff earlier.
And as has been pointed out, when you really need these docs, it can
be too late. I am not sure what my father was waiting for, maybe some
kind of signal, but even at 80 he wouldn't go and sit with the
attorney to get his legal and financial affairs in order.
I thought he might be thinking he was facing death, and he assured me
that wasn't it. He just wasn't going to do it, and that was that.
I should never have let up the pressure. The other side of that coin
was that I never, ever, thought it would be me taking care of these
But due to bad attitudes, foul language, raised voices, accusations or
near abuse, and a healthy dose of game playing by my folks, both
sisters pulled out of the project.
For me, that doesn't make this project much different than running a
construction job. And I must say, neither of my parents have seen the
foul tempered, nasty disposition of a job site foreman side of my
personality in person. I don't think they really like it much at
all. But at this stage, all of this has proven too much for my
sisters, so it all falls to me.
And every time we "come to it" all I can think about it how
unnecessary doing all of this now is for both camps.
Once again, I would never have let this go if I though >> I << was
going to be in charge. I would have found a way to have them do this
themselves, and even though it can be depressing and ugly subject
matter, all of it would be behind them, nothing more than an
Too late now, though.
I know that once I get this parent stuff behind me, I am going to work
on updating all of my paperwork as well.
I do feel your pain, Robert. I was lucky in that my sister was
receptive and (as a real estate broker-type) knowledgeable of legal
issues in general. Although, she being in France, me in the US, and our
parents in Holland, it was a phone relay most of the time. I also was
lucky in that my parents did have the DNR-type stuff documented.
Very true stuff. My mother and father-in-law were the first to start
decline. My mother suffered several minor strokes and was finally
diagnosed with Alzheimer's when she was about 80. Her doctor said it
might be the degenerative effects of strokes but the Alzheimer
diagnoses put her in a better care mode with nursing care facilities.
By the time the social folks started talking about durable power of
attorney she was probably beyond the point of reasoning but they,
basically, turned their heads when she signed the directives. Pretty
much similar story with the father-in-law but he only lingered about a
year. Mom went four years in and out of care facilities. We made
sure all of the decisions were laid out and documented with the other
two parents; and after watching their spouses degenerate they were
very supportive....well mostly.
Getting your act together is among the best things you can do for your
offspring. When things are going to hell in a hand-basket is the
wrong time to have to suffer through end-of-life planning and
directives. Some people seem to think that a DNR is a death sentence
for a loved one. Not true. Health care workers are run by lawyers
too. They will not let a person pass just because they have a DNR
order. During my father-in-law's last few months, my wife had to
iterated the family's DNR expectation to nursing home personnel no
less than three separate occasions; and he recovered briefly from two
of the episodes. Not fun for the caregiver but the point is, health
workers aren't going to let someone die from a hangnail because of
Depending on state laws, nursing care financing should be thought out
too. I am not a big supporter of long-term-care insurance because
most people do not outlive the premium they put into a plan. My
mother-in-law would have because she was in independent or nursing
care for six years. My father and father-in-law a combined 1-1/2
years. My point is; before the problems start, take time to
understand costs, your parents assets and how long one of them can
afford to pay for nursing care. Most states allow division of assets
(essentially a financial divorce); and you should have a game plan in
mind regarding the $-point when you visit the SRS folks to get
division started. BTW, in Kansas it took several months, and checks
were being written during the process. Also, regarding long-term care
insurance the insurance companies play scare games that not fully
supportable (We were getting good nursing care for parents for about
$30K/year, not the $60-70K cited by insurance carriers).
Again, getting your health act together can be the best things you do
for your offspring or caregivers.
Also too true to be comfortable for us. During the fifteen or so
years of doctors, hospitals, nursing facilities, lawyers, hospice,
etc.; occasionally it emotionally came down to being a job. We were
managing "stuff". From time-to-time we had to reset our thinker to
realize we were dealing with mom or dad's welfare.
During the fifteen years we also developed a rather offbeat and
irreverent sense of humor regarding the situation. I think it was a
defense mechanism but it got a few odd stares from folks who haven't
dealt with it yet. One one occasion my wife told my daughter "When I
start acting like grandma, just shove me off of a curb in front of the
Daughter wasn't amused.
On Mon, 18 Jan 2010 23:52:28 -0800 (PST), the infamous
I hear ya.
Do that now. Get yours in order and take it to your folks' house to
show them that you, too, need to have them and you have done so now,
before it's too late. It makes a big impression on people to see that
in print because it's scary stuff, reviewing our humanity, our
The greatest fine art of the future will be the making
of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.
I am going through this right now. Both of my parents are 87. My mother
was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer on their 60th wedding anneversary in
December. She haa gone a round of chemo and 1 week later, Saturday night,
went in to the hospital with complications. Not sure if she will come out
again to go home. They both have will's and I talked to them about a living
will as did the doctor. So far they have not made one. Basically they do
not want to think about that at all but there is going to come a time that
they will wish that they had.
Once they reach a certain age you have to initiate and follow through with
every action for and with them it seems.
My parents had already expressed the wish not to have their lives extended
at the cost of only more suffering. My sister and I had to discuss this
for my father's case when I thought the time had come. It wasn't nice, and
I am still wondering at times. I am sure I/we made the right decision, but
there is always that nagging doubt of what if.
I'm very sorry to hear that, Leon. I hope for he best outcome for
her, no matter what that might be. Just no suffering....
And by then, the mole hill has become a mountain. With all the
litigation going on these days, some attorneys want competency
statements and for docs to be notarized in their presence after they
review them with their clients. Imagine what it costs to get your
attorney to spend an hour or two plus travel time to the nursing
I agree. And as a special bonus, my father thinks that when you want
him to do something, you are pushing him around because he is old.
This includes things like reminding him to take his medicine, get
ready for physical therapy, etc. He is sure that at this time in his
life he is victimized and taken advantage of because of his age. He
sees it everywhere.
They haven't lived this comfortably, securely, had less personal
responsibility or eaten this well in YEARS. Almost every aspect of
their lives is being handled now, and they still feel cheated.
After I went to a caregiver's workshop, I realized how normal this all
is for seniors. Now I don't listen that much, and try to focus on
keeping them organized, their bills paid, and their 10,000 doctor's
appts. in order.
Why it was just the other day I told my old white haired pappy (after
30 minutes of solid bitching - my normal personal makeup only
tolerates about two minutes or so then collapses) if he didn't shut up
I was going to tie him in his wheelchair and roll him out into
I felt much better.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 1:25 AM
Subject: Re: Moved the thread about senior care
I have been reminding my sisters that she is 87 and she has smoked most all
her life. Decided to give'm up 3 weeks ago.
I recall her scaring the living day lights out of me when I was 11 years old
when she mentioned that she would rather be dead than to go blind, she was
having detatching retna problems in the mid 60's and spending weeks on end
in a hospital in Houston when we lived in CC TX. Then with hospital visits
she was sure it was her time about 30 years ago and again 20 years ago and
again about 10 years ago with a minor stroke.
Fortunately we have a family lawyer that is a very good friend. My sister
and BIL worked for him for many years util recently but we stay in touch.
Fortuantely my father is still in relatively good health and gets around
pretty darn well on his own considering his age. My mother OTOH has not
driven a car that I know of since 1975.
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