Yesterday, Logan and I did a very adult thing – we went to a lawyer and signed legal documents.
Over the last 10 years, I have been anesthetized at least 10 times. Every time, someone would ask me whether I had a health care proxy, living will, or power of attorney. I would answer ‘no’, and they would move onto the next question. I never really understood what it meant – it seemed obvious to me that those around me would know “what to do” in the off-chance that things went wrong.
Logan and I had planned our paper anniversary to be filling out all the legal documents. That was two years ago, and we never knew who to go to, or how important the papers were. Finally, my employer had a free seminar discussing “Wills, Estates, and Trusts” and their importance. They told us one story, and scared us straight – A wife was in a serious accident and in a coma. The husband went to re-mortgage the house to take out some needed money for the bills that were pouring in from the accident. The bank would not let him do it because the wife also needed to sign, which she couldn’t, OR he needed a power of attorney saying he could sign on her behalf, which he didn’t have. He was out of luck; he and his wife never filled out these very important documents and he was forced to go through the lengthy and expensive process of establishing guardianship through probate court.
On Tuesday, October 29th, we met with the lawyer with all of our paperwork to draft the necessary documents. On the evening of Wednesday the 30th, Logan and I were in the Emergency Room and I was transferred to the ICU early the next morning. They still asked me whether I had a health care proxy, but this time my answer was, “No, but almost.” If I had lost consciousness for an extended period of time during my hospital stay, I don’t know who would have legally been able to make health care decisions, and with HIPAA laws in effect, who would be able to talk to doctors about my condition. I’m glad that things never got to that point.
Logan and I returned to the lawyer’s office yesterday to sign the forms. Finally, I can breathe a small sigh of relief that we’ve planned a little bit better.