Department of Health

I'll think about it tomorrow

  • Duration: 8:46

Dad probably never written, wrote anything down, but he had spoke about it, not like Mum, Mum would never discuss, but Dad would.

Well, I know that when you’re young you have your parents to care, look after you, bring you up best you can, but when you get older you’ve got to think about yourself.

And then when Mum did pass away, we kept wondering what was going to happen with him: what do you want, Dad?

Do you want to come and live with one of us? “No, no, I’m fine, I’ve got me home here, why would I bother going anywhere else?”

Then I said well I suppose that’s true, I really don’t need to worry about you Dad, you own your own home, you’ve got some money in the bank, you’ve got your pension, you’ve got your health,

you’re still able to drive the car around and things like that, so at this stage we don’t have to worry too much about you,

we’ll always be there for you.

How many of us think, I’ve put down my car keys and don’t know where they are.

We didn’t realise that was the start of his dementia coming.

I went for my regular mammogram and was diagnosed with breast cancer, that was a shock.

About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with epilepsy.

In the period since, it’s had a significant impact on my life.

And I have said to the girls,

I don’t ever want to be in a home where I have to be fed, I have to have someone change my nappy, if you like, I don’t want that. That’s not…To me that’s not quality of life.

If other people can cope with that, that is fine, but I don’t personally want to cope with that.

And I don’t want other people to have to do that for me.

Having someone tell you that you’re going to be on medication for the rest of your life.

And it’s medication that has a significant impact on you both psychologically and physically,

it's difficult to know what that's going to mean for you and how your health is going to be maintained or good health’s going to be maintained.

I am a single person, I belong to the Gay and Lesbian Community,

and there are a lot of people in my world who have limited access to birth families or next of kins or whatever you want to call it.

And so that’s why it’s important to have it down on paper.

Well I think no matter what age you are, you’ve got to think about your future, no good saying there’s always tomorrow.

Now as you get older, what do you want?

What in the way of a funeral, or who do you want to care for, you know, which path do you want to go, in your life.

And I decided, ah I know what I will do, I’ll get an exercise book and write my life in it.

I’ve got two cousins that know all about the book.

But I certainly got a good friend who’s a nurse, diabetic nurse, as well,

who’s said to me “you’ve got to get on to it. You’ve really got to set your mind to it."

I’ve got a will, certainly got that, which needs to be altered, and she said “get it all together and think about your advance care plan done as well.”

Now the concept of advance care planning, what I’ve come to realise is that it’s about taking responsibility for how you want things to be, and not putting people in a position where they have to make decisions that they probably shouldn’t have to make.

And making it as easy for them to come to terms with whatever it is that they might need to rather than have to have the dual worry of is this the right thing to be doing.

After going through this with my mother, and going through with my father, my husband and my plans have been done, to the stage where I won’t have my children going through what I’ve gone through at the moment.

I just would not like have to put them through it again, the way I’ve gone through it, at all.

I first heard of it about four years ago and I did mine three years ago.

The first step to go through something like this, was interesting because it was discussion on lifestyle and it was discussion on life values.

From that interview then, we took my thoughts stronger, into the medical treatment, the medical environment and that took it through into what I would like to be done, how I would like to be treated?

So it was a step by step process and finally we had an advance care directive on paper.

I already did have a medical Power of Attorney, a niece of mine, so I took the directive and I went over it with her, step by step.

Our first impression, mine was, that I don’t really know or care about what’s going to happen,

I won’t be conscious so it doesn’t really matter, but I then discovered in the second process,

that there were aspects that I actually did feel quite strongly about, so it isn’t something that you just don’t jump into, it is something that evolves and I can say with all, total honesty, that it was probably one of the best things that I’ve done.

See a lot of people fear death. And I think that’s an issue.

You know, they don’t want to talk about it because they find it as something scary.

It’s a conversation that has to happen, and, um, I guess as I say a lot of it depends on your relationship.

And I am very fortunate as I have got a very open relationship with my girls.

And there’s never any topic that’s off the table.

It’s very easy to think you’re indestructible when you’re eighteen. Or twenty-one.

I know I did. But, life doesn’t go on forever.

And the sooner you start to have the conversations about it not going on forever, the sooner you understand that life’s more important and you should be living it the best way you can, and to the fullest, sooner rather than later.



Reviewed 06 February 2024