Written September 30, 2018 by CL Smith (2018 QDHPCA board member)
Part of the series "Notes by a Night Nurse"
It's that time of year again when the QDHPCA present information sessions on Advance Care Planning. I find this is just the tip of the iceberg though. I like specifics when helping people.
Ask yourself a couple questions first.
If I had a life-threatening diagnosis, what would I want the people around me to do?
What would make my life easier while doing battle with a disease?
I'm going to let my OCD tendencies loose a little here and show you what us direct care nurses and healthcare workers love to see. The following is an exercise we did in nursing school to help us think about what our ideal care plan would be. What would your list look like?
1.If you are going to bring me meals so I don’t have to think about meal planning while fighting cancer, thank you. However, don’t bring me anything mixed with tomato sauce. I love noodles dripping with real butter and fresh Parmesan cheese. Treat my aversion to tomato sauces like an allergy.
2.I hate sandwiches. Actually, I really don’t like any breads
3. Oddly enough, I love pizza
4. Don’t paint my finger nails. It feels weird and I’ll pick it off before it’s even dry. You can do my toenails though. As I get older, I have a harder time reaching them so I’m okay with a pretty manicure.
5. I hate popsicles
6. I love ice cream bars. Oh, and cookies. I'd never say no to a cookie or chocolate covered pills
7. I don't like ice in any of my drinks. Room temperature is fine.
8. Bring me a good book (even better, bring me a trashy one)
9. Talk to me like I’m a person, not a disease
10. Don’t wake me up before noon. As a night shift worker, I tend to nap at weird times and don't keep normal sleep patterns. However, I rarely get up before 1pm.
11. Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my afternoon pot of coffee
12. I like one sugar and three creams in my coffee or tea
13. Don’t bring me breakfast. It makes me nauseous
14. Actually, don't feed me anything before I've been awake for 2-3 hours. I'm cranky until my caffeine kicks in
15. Laugh with me. Let’s laugh until we cry
16. Tell me what is scaring you
17. Let me tell you what is scaring me
18. Don’t leave the music channel on when you leave my room. It’s irritating
19. My room, my TV remote
20. Bring me a beautiful journal and a nice pen to write with
21. Let me live like tomorrow is today. If I want to go wheelchair drag racing, that’s my right as a human being.
22. Listen. People know when you’re not listening. I know when you're not listening. I'm sick, not dense.
23. Let me teach you how to listen well.
24. If you’re tired of helping me, tell me. It’s okay to take a break. I’m tired too
Advance care planning isn't just about planning your death, your funeral, and all the nit-picky things that come after you have passed away. It's also about spending the last months, weeks, and days in as normal and comfortable way possible for yourself and your loved ones.