Trauma Is The Best Teacher

I’ve made it 29 years without thinking I’d need advance directives until I was at least in my 60s. I curled into a ball, trembling like a leaf. I’ve never been this terrified of anything in my life. I won’t go into the details of my trauma, but I’ve discovered that if I find myself in a state where I’ve lost my wits or am in a vegetative state, I don’t want to be around.

Morbid as this may sound, I am OK with my loved ones pulling my plug. I’ve told my family and friends quite a few times if I ever got seriously hurt to pull the plug and cremate me. I’m not even sure why this has come up more than once but they know how I feel. Knowing that I could end up in either of those states, I want to ensure they follow through with this.

I’m Only Twenty Why Should I Even Care About Advance Directives

I’m sure most other 20-something year olds haven’t given an advance directive much thought either. I haven’t completed ignored what should happen to me after I die. I’ve setup life insurance and added beneficiaries to all of my accounts. It’s the what should happen if I almost die, but didn’t case I haven’t spend much time preparing for.

I figured I’d eventually need one after my dad had a stroke a few years ago. No one knew what he wanted or what we should even do but, I knew I would respect my mother’s wishes. She’s an extension of my father. The thought of a life directive however, was far away for me because he was in his 60s and I’m in my 20s.

I’ve realized there’s nothing worse that being in a situation you absolutely could’ve prepared for and didn’t. Life can go in any direction it wants to take you. I wouldn’t want to suffer from the consequences of my own lack of preparation. Imagine you go out with your friends and have a bit too many. You come home fall asleep on your back, and vomit while you’re asleep. You don’t have the ability to turn over, so you end up choking while sleeping. Because you were unconscious for too long, you now suffer severe brain damage. This clearly is a hypothetical situation, but not completely far fetched so bare with me. It’s better to be prepared and underwhelmed than unprepared and overwhelmed. That’s where the advance directive comes in and why I’m now considering one.

Types of Advance Directives

The most common types of advance directives are the living will and the durable power of attorney for health care (sometimes known as the medical power of attorney).

Living Will

The living will is a legal document that states certain future health care decisions only when a person becomes unable to make the decisions and choices on their own. A living will is used at the end of life if a person is terminally ill or permanently unconscious. It will describe the type of medical treatment the person would want or not want to receive in these situations. It can describe under what conditions an attempt to prolong life should be started or stopped. This applies to treatments including, but not limited to dialysis, tube feedings, or actual life support (such as the use of breathing machines).

Durable power of attorney for health care/Medical power of attorney

A durable power of attorney for health care, also known as a medical power of attorney, is a legal document in which you name a person to be a proxy (agent) to make all your health care decisions if you become unable to do so. Once a person’s physician certifies that the person is unable to make their own medical decisions, a medical power of attorney can be used to guide medical decisions,

Advance directives give instructions about future medical care should you become unable to make decisions because you are unconscious or too ill to communicate. An advance directive carries out your wishes. Here are some useful forms to get you started, they vary state to state. If you’re in your 20s and have a advance directive or are considering one, I’d love to know what helped with your decision or is stopping you?


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