I have been having a hard time writing lately. I want my writing to be something that is positive, entertaining and honest. I want it to be who I am, who I aspire to be.
Sometimes life gets BIG and we have to deal with it whether we want to or not. That is what has been happening in my world. And it is important for me to remember that what is happening around me is not happening TO me. I can be affected by it all but that doesn’t mean it is happening to me.
Someone that I care about has been hospitalized and the complications of dealing with this are huge and exhausting. I was initially involved because I was named as the emergency contact. After that was sorted out and his family was notified and became involved, I am mostly a support to the family as needed.
I have learned much about the frustrating system that we have to work within. There are so many legal issues that get in the way of what is right it is mind-boggling. There are forms that employers need signed for extended leaves of absence, and other forms that are for employees to donate their paid leave to those in need. (Without paid leave, benefits can be cancelled). Because of the complications of this hospital stay my friend is not able to sign anything at this time.
His family is trying to find out what personal bills are due so that power isn’t disconnected and mortgages are paid. Add to that dealing with the family pets. Without a Power of Attorney most companies will not discuss any information with you; even if you ARE trying to do the right thing.
Because he is not legally separated or divorced, but is absolutely estranged from his legal wife, the next-of-kin issue is foggy. It is difficult to receive information from the hospital because of patient privacy laws, which is understandable. But when decisions need to be made and there is no designated authority it is frustrating.
We cannot change what has happened but I believe in learning from the experience of others. John and I went to get our legal paperwork in order. The importance of this cannot be ignored any longer. We needed to do our wills, power of attorney, living wills and something called a medical surrogate…someone who makes medical decisions for us if we are not capable of doing this. If all this paperwork was in order for my friend we would not have nearly the problems we are experiencing. I don’t want anyone to have to go through this for me so our paperwork is now in order.
My challenge to you is to get your legal paperwork in order; otherwise your wishes may not be able to be honored. The people taking care of your immediate needs may not be able to do much and the person making your decisions might be the “legal” person and not the “right” person. John and I went to a Paralegal and she handled all our issues for around $300.00. It was well worth the money. We both have peace of mind that if anything happens we have made our wishes known, in writing. It feels great. We can’t plan our emergencies but we can plan for them.
One more thing, please tell the people in your life that you love them. Forgive and forget. We all need to be told that we matter.
Thanks for listening.