top of page

Making End-Of-Life Care Decisions Is About As Real As It Gets

We have seen friends reduced to human vegetables being carted off for more chemotherapy. Why?

By Ann Brenoff

My husband fell seriously ill last May and after a month in the hospital was discharged home to my care. Nothing ― nothing ― has been the same since then. He receives kidney dialysis three times a week as an outpatient and feels exhausted most of the rest of the time. His kidneys are not expected to recover and since he is ineligible for a transplant, dialysis is necessary to keep him alive. It is clearly hard on his body.

Which is how we came to update his advance healthcare directive ― the legal document that sets forth what sorts of medical interventions he wants should he become unable to speak for himself. As responsible adults and parents, we actually already had medical directives signed and on file with our attorney. But when the doctor treating you suggests that they be reviewed to make sure everything is as it should be, they suddenly look different. The abstract just got real.