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Self Care Tips

Have You Had the Talk?

Karen Rowinsky - Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The state of healthcare has be front and center in the news in recent years. Many of us have felt powerless in the face of the complex issues being discussed and all the sound bytes of conflicting information. April 16, 2018 was the ninth annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. Having the talk  is your opportunity to take some control. Any day is a good day to have it.

The talk is about you and your family making practical preparations for end-of-life decisions, including the designation of someone to speak for you when you can no longer speak for yourself. It is one of the most important conversations you will ever have. 

I know the consequences of not having the talk. Almost 24 years ago I had to speak for my first husband as he was in a coma and couldn't speak for himself. While we had "danced" around the what if's during his six year illness, we never had a formal discussion of what he wished if the end of his life was imminent.Caring Conversations  Booklet With close friends and his medical team to advise me, I had to make the most difficult decision any person can make about the life of another. I have been encouraging others to have the talk ever since.

The Center for Practical Bioethics has all the information you need to get started. Be sure to download the booklet, Caring Conversations which will guide you through the process. 

April is also National Donate Life Month. My first husband's life was extended six years because two very generous families donated their loved ones' liver to him. It was literally the gift of life! We all can give the gift of life to others upon our death. If you haven't done so already, talk with your loved ones about this also. 

There are many misconceptions and a lot of misinformation out there about organ and tissue donation. The Midwest Transplant Network can help you and your family with the decision to donate.

Having the talk  is self care for you and your loved ones.

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