9. Blue Van Woman

I have had numerous emails from the campsite with clear instructions – makes me wonder how complicated it can be?

My ‘prep’ folder is out and I’m ticking off items as I get them ready.

You might think this is overkill – but for me its all about being prepared and not fretting.

I’ve taken a similar approach to my death.

I know I’m going to die; according to Oliver Burkeman in his book, ‘4000 weeks’ that’s the average life span.  When I first read that I was a bit surprised.  And I did what I bet you are doing right now, I worked out how many weeks I might have left.  Of course, it’s not a definite number but it did remind me of the finitude of life.  I was a palliative care nurse for many years and taught ‘Death and Dying’ at a couple of universities.  (I loved watching people’s faces when I told them what I did for a living – it’s a real conversation killer!) .

I’ve seen a lot of death and I’ve watched many families be wrecked by the whole experience.

I decided that I was going to make sure that I was as ready as I could be for the inevitable.

Right now, all is well as far as I know.  I am fit and well, take no prescribed medication and everything works OK.  But we never know do we?  None of us knows what might happen on any given day.

The proverbial bus might be just around the corner.

I’ve got clear ideas on what I want and what I don’t want, should certain things happen to me.  I’m talking about strokes, heart attacks, cancer.  None of us can demand treatments but we can all say what we don’t want.  I’ve written an Advanced Directive and appointed Lasting Powers of Attorney for both finance and for health and wellbeing.  I’ve planned my funeral and made sure that my children know where all the important documents are (I live on my own so this feels important to me).  I left a copy of my Advanced Directive at my GP practice and within a couple of days the receptionist phoned me and said that my GP had asked if I would come in for a double appointment and talk through my decisions.  She was amazing, she listened and understood.  Together we filled in a ReSPECT form that is on my records and is accepted in all health care settings.  She even linked it to the local ambulance service.

I have such peace of mind – I have done all I can to make my sure that my death is as I want it – now I don’t have to think about it anymore.

It’s like my camping list – there when I want it and nothing to worry about.

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