Posting your first blog is like trying on bathing suits ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­— you feel vulnerable. Ironically, two minutes after my blog “Let’s Talk about Death Baby” was posted, I got a text from my sister; “Call me now, not about Larry!” Larry is my brother who is currently receiving chemotherapy for Lung Cancer. He is doing very well. He completed his estate plan the day before his cancer surgery.  His wishes are known.

This call was about my brother Jeff who is in the ICU. Jeff is in grave condition and his wishes are unknown.

Advance directives are legal documents written in advance of an illness or medical crisis. They are way to tell your family, friends, and health care professionals what kind of medical care you would want if you are too ill or hurt to express your wishes. They include a Living Will, Healthcare Surrogate, and HIPAA Authorization.

A living will states how you want to be treated if you are dying or permanently unconscious. A durable power of attorney for health care is a document that names someone you trust, your surrogate/proxy, to make health decisions for you when you are unable to do so. HIPAA says who can access your personal health information.

My brother is 55. Nobody can predict the future. You may never face a medical situation where you are unable to speak for yourself and make your wishes known, but having an advance directive will give you and those close to you peace of mind.

After spending this week in the ICU surrounded by families, who like me, are faced with making gut wrenching decisions for their loved ones — one might say, “We’re in a Tight Spot!” These are haunting discussions for all involved including the medical staff. Help everyone who cares for you and make your wishes known in advance and in writing.