FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / In
Our condolences to those who lost loved ones in
the hurricanes of the past two weeks, either in
the tropics or in the Gulf Coast. We are
all grateful that Hurricane Gustav was no
Katrina, but the days after any storm are when
so many lives are lost, so I ask our friends in
the affected areas to remain vigilant and safe.
As I write this column, we in South Florida are
actually “in the cone” of two tropical systems
with two more right behind them. The cone refers
to the area of uncertainty in which a hurricane
is projected to move. We all tend to
follow the line down the middle of this area
when watching the weather maps on T.V., but
hurricanes are seldom so willing to fall in line
until shortly before they land. Having lived
through all but one hurricane in this area since
I was born, including Andrew and Wilma, I know
that even at the last moments before landfall,
hurricanes can have a mind of their own.
Of course all areas of the country have their
natural challenges, from earthquakes to floods
to extreme weather and all of these natural
events demand respect and require preparation.
In order to reduce our own Caregiving Cones
of Uncertainty, I suggest the following:
- It pays to be prepared. If you are
not a caregiver, you never know when you will
get that phone call in the middle of the night
informing you of a loved one’s illness.
When my dad took ill, I remember sitting on
the floor of my parents living room, searching
through boxes of papers, trying to find the ones
I needed. Two weeks earlier he was a
healthy 59 year old retiree, who had always
handled our family’s finances, with no thought
that we would soon be at a loss for what to do
upon his sudden illness.
Like a hurricane, you never know
where the next healthcare challenge will strike.
Do you have all of the Advanced Directives in
place for your loved one? That’s great,
now what about you? Do you have your own
Advanced Directives in place? Who will be
your caregiver, if you should need one?
Have all adults in your family discussed their
end of life wishes with one another?
Like hurricanes, we can’t plan for
everything, even the best of plans do not allow
you to escape all pain, and we can never know
upon whom disaster will next fall. But, having a
plan in place is sure a lot better than
scrambling when healthcare disaster strikes.
Then hopefully, the only cones you have to
think about are connected to scoops of ice