Plan On a Messy Ending

Posted on June 10, 2012 by


As we all know, we can’t script the end of our lives, choose the time, date or even the disease that will kill us. What we can plan is how much medical intervention is heaved our way in the final days when our families are overcome by grief and possibly confusing and conflicting information. But despite all the available tools to make our wishes known and to skirt futile treatment, we frequently don’t take advantage of them.


It seems that many of us are under the mistaken impression that death will come quickly, be over with in one or two days, or, best case scenario, happen in our sleep. But that is seldom the case. It is just as likely that we will be stricken with a disease that will rob us of our decision-making capacity and we will linger in an intensive care unit, rehab facility or nursing home, unable to speak for ourselves. We need to plan on a “messy” ending, one in which we will be trapped in circumstances we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. We can complete our advanced directives, medical power of attorney and make our end-of-life preferences known to our families and physicians and, hopefully, still have some control in how our lives end.