Archive for February, 2005
What do we mean by “Death with Dignity”?
Many people do not understand what this means. It seems to be a phrase that only those who have watched loved ones die, or those of us that work in the medical field truly understand. I know, that prior to my eye opening experiencesâ€¦I would have had no clue.
Iâ€™ve heard it said way too often, that we treat animals with more respect when it comes to end of life care than we treat humans. Unfortunately, there are times when I think this is true. The exceptions might include when one is fortunate enough to be involved with a hospice program, have their pain under control, are not just lingering, and be able to exert personal choice in the matter.
Though the citizens in the state of Oregon have voted for the Death with Dignity actâ€¦TWICE, it is now being challenged by the Bush administration, who has asked the courts to overturn this voter approved law.
Regardless of how you feel about Death with Dignityâ€¦know thisâ€¦we all die. Think about it before hand. Draw up a Advanced Directive, assign a trusted person as your Health Care Power of Attorney, and make any other arrangements now. It may be the only choice you will have regarding the end of you life.
Barbara C. Phillips, MN, NP
I saw this quote this morning and wanted to share it. Being a friend is not always the easiest thing that we do, but it is definitely among our most important roles in life. Without true friendships, our live would be very poor indeed.
“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go… And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.”
What â€œtimeâ€ is it with your best friend right now?
Barbara C Phillips
Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in women over the age of 50. Cardiovascular disease is largely preventable with a healthy lifestyle. However, there is evidence that low dose aspirin can also help prevent heart attacks and strokes in women at risk.
Since in some women (and men) the use of aspirin can be contraindicated, it’s in your best interests to discuss regular aspirin use with your health care provider.
Barbara C. Phillips, MN, NP
Though completely off topic…I absolutely love what happens in the Universe!
Barbara C. Phillips
Advanced health care directives are written instructions that communicate your wishes regarding care and treatment should you no longer be able to make your own health care decisions. Some directives are broken down into two parts - a Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney. The exact language and type of document will vary depending upon the laws in your location.
Basically a Living Will allows certain treatments to be withheld or withdrawn if using them will only prolong your dying process; or if you are unconscious ( and in a vegetative state) and there is no hope for recovery. An example of treatment may include feeding tubes or resuscitation if you heart stops working.
If you are unable to make health care decisions, either temporarily or permanently, a HCPOA allows you to appointment someone to make them on your behalf. It is in your best interest to choose someone to who understand thoroughly your desires and is willing to honor your requests. Should you not designate a decision making person(s), generally your legal next of kin will be looked for to make that decision for you. Caution; please note that it is your “legal” next of kin who will be making decisions, and not necessarily your significant other of 25 years. In today’s world, this is another very important reason to have these documents in place.
From the standpoint of a health care provider who has worked from intensive care to hospice to primary care, I cannot stress enough the importance of having these documents completed…NOW. One never knows when one will have need of them, and these documents will save you and those that love you much grief and suffering.
In many cases, you can obtain forms from your health care provider. Forms are also readily available online. A simple online search using “Advanced Health Care Directive” on google pulled up 680,000 pages. You can break that down further by including your state/country.
Once you have these forms filled out, signed, witnesses, and perhaps even notarized, make several copies and put the original in a safe place. Make sure that the person/persons whom you have designated as your decision make have a copy of the document, as well as your health care provider, hospital, and anyone else who needs one. Please make sure that everyone involved knows your wishes.
And remember, should you change your mind..just fill out a new form. The most current form is always the valid one.
Do It Today!
*Legal information does not constitute legal advice. Please check the laws in your location, and consult with an attorney as indicated.
Â© 2004 Barbara C. Phillips, MN, NP
Simply stated, menopause is a biological event that marks the end of a womanâ€™s menses and hence her natural reproductive cycle. Perimenopause is defined as the period beginning with the signs of approaching menopause and ending about 12 months after â€œthe menopauseâ€.
Worldwide, menopause has as a variety of meanings. Each and every womanâ€™s experience is based on her physical and emotional well being as well as her social and cultural environments. While some view menopause as a decline in status, others see it as a rite of passage. In other words, there are huge physical, emotional and social influences involved in your experience of menopause and aging.
That said, what you really want to know is â€“ â€œWhat will I experienceâ€?
This is tricky, as the answer is different for every woman. Some women barely notice a warm flush, while others have an intense reaction. So as you read some of the more common occurrences, please keep in mind â€“ you will do your own thing.
- Power Surges, night sweats (they can be all day!) and chills
- Insomnia, and/or poor quality of sleep
- Urinary frequency, discomfort and sometimes leakiness
- Vaginal dryness, irritation and possibly discomfort with sexual activity
- Moodiness. Perhaps some irritation, nervousness, anxiety and depression.
- Diminished libido (sexual desire)
- Memory issues! Some women call this â€œthe pauseâ€ (among other things).
- Joint pain and stiffness
In case you think all the reactions are negative, take a look at some of the more positive and more important changes that happen to women.
- Greater sense of Creativity
- A sense of peace that has not been previously been present.
- Wisdom that only comes to those with time and conscious living.
Just as there are many responses to the onset of menopause, there are many approaches you can take to meet these changes. As with anything, you must weigh any risk against the benefit (this is especially true when you consider hormone therapy), your belief system, and finally, you must find something that works for you.
Most approaches are common sense and actions we need to take daily. Others are meant to challenge your thinking and open your mind. Possible ways to approach menopause include:
- Healthy food and fluid intake
- Nutriceuticals such as vitamins and herbal supplements
- Exercise at least 30 minutes daily
- Traditional Chinese Medicine such has acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Qi Gong and Tai Chi
- Adjust your attitude! Laugh and have fun. Hang out with your girlfriends and delight in NOT being 25 again!
- Meditation, visualization and biofeedback
- Natural, Bio-identical and pharmaceutical grade hormone therapy
This is a time of your life where you can count on change, and the growth that comes from it. As the power surges through our bodies, we grow into the women we are meant to be. We fulfill our goals and move on to make new ones. While our focus is inward, our outward gaze sharpens and our dreams are manifested for all to celebrate. It really is a magnificent time.
In the coming months, OlderWiserWomen will explore these areas in greater detail, so stay tuned.
Â©2005 Barbara C. Phillips, MN, NP
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