So that title may be a vast overstatement but at least one of the things will definitely change your life (or death rather..?) and everyone should have it. The second is just awesome.
The first thing may be a little morbid but it’s something that everyone should have or at least have thought about once. An Advance Directive, also known as a living will, is an important document that allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatment at the end of life. An Advance Directive addresses three things regarding end of life care:
First, a person defines the amount and kind of care he or she might receive under various medical circumstances. Second, a person designates a health care agent to make medical decisions when the person can no longer do so. Third, advance directives may also address other end-of-life care issues including organ donation, whole body donation to medical schools, funeral and burial arrangements, legacy recordings for posterity, and—in 3 states (Oregon, Washington, and Montana)—assisted dying. (1)
The reason I bring this up is because Dr. J just spent many weeks caring for patients in the ICU, many of whom would pass away during their time there. And he’s highly considering a fellowship in Critical Care after residency. Most people (myself included), when given the option, would choose to die in the comfort of their own home rather than in a hospital or nursing home. But more and more people (78% according to the Congressional Research Service) are spending their last days in the hospital or nursing home. No doubt it is scary, unpleasant, a little depressing, and often confusing to think about what you want to happen in your last days. Personally though, I think an advance directive is way easier to complete or at least think about when you are healthy, able to make carefully thought through decisions, and talk through these decisions with your loved ones. No one wants to be the one making decisions about end of life treatment in the traumatic, emotional, and often confusing setting that is a hospital ICU.
The best part about an Advance Directive is that you can always change your mind about what treatment you would or would not want at the end-of-life. It’s not set in stone. It only takes a few minutes to complete and you don’t need a lawyer. So go fill out (or at least look at!) an Advance Directive! The forms for each state are easily found here.
And now for something completely different…
The second thing that will change your life is TOTALLY and completely unrelated. It’s a food, or rather a condiment, that makes almost anything better. What is this magical delicious topping you ask? Pickled Red Onions! I came across the recipe on Pinterest (where else?) a couple weeks ago and use them almost daily (I have made three batches so far). They add acidity to savory things you didn’t know needed a touch of acid! Seriously, make some right now. Your sandwiches and dinners and bagels and mouth and tummy will thank you (over and over again)! Thanks to the blog sharedappetite.com for the recipe because these are the most cherished thing in our fridge right now. Seriously, I’m in love. Get the recipe here.
So get these two things in your life right now!
You’re welcome in advance,
1. Morhaim DK, Pollack KM. End-of-life care issues: a personal, economic, public policy, and public health crisis. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(6):e8-e10.