26 Nov 2023 we have a new member!

It’s a rather chilly morning here in NC, it was 26 d F when I walked our surgery recovering dog. Good thing she doesn’t have to have the cut IV bag put over her paw anymore, makes walking a bit difficult for her. But I saw a deer meandering around in the woods eating acorns, so that was really nice. It’s always amazing to me how well deer blend in the woods this time of year. If the deer hadn’t been moving, I wouldn’t have seen it.

We have one wonderful new member to welcome! @Butterflybob is Down Under in Queensland Australia. Sarah has already had her angiogram which came due to a really bad migraine that she shares should have sent her right to the hospital, but she didn’t go. She did go to the first doctor she could get, who sent her for an MRI. The MRI showed a MCA aneurysm. She was then sent for her angiogram and is waiting for the results. However the surgeon did tell her that the aneurysm is abnormal and bumpy. I wonder if those bumps are daughter sacks? The surgeon would like to do surgery sooner rather than later. Sarah is young to me at 34, has a wonderful husband and beautiful girls! Welcome Sarah!

If you’ve been reading the topics, you know @Tracy is having a rough go of it with Tony. It made me think of the importance of having our wishes known to our loved ones and being prepared legally for anything that comes to us.

Any and everyone with a cerebral aneurysm should know how important it is to be prepared. I live by the old adage of prepare for the worse, but expect the best. In fact, when I had my 3rd repair, we were told that although I wasn’t a good candidate for a craniotomy, I may have to have one.

We went to our elder attorney and updated our wills covering every contingency the three of us could think of. Our Elder Attorney also had looked over our first wills and said they weren’t worth the paper they were written on! It’s really important to have a good attorney. She told us that here in NC with the will we had, anyone of our family members could have just moved in and we couldn’t do a thing about it.

I had never looked at the particulars of the laws here in NC, only the ones dealing with intestate (dying without a will). One of our friend’s dealt with the issue when her husband died of a heart attack and man was she scared! She could have lost a lot as the house she helped to pay for wasn’t in her name and his mother had the right to 50% of his estate.

Please, please know the laws wherever you’re living. Don’t assume you are covered just because you are married. We have a friend whose daughter and husband refuse to discuss having a will and we don’t know why, just that she stops the conversation dead in its tracks. I told her once that the only thing guaranteed from the second we are born is that we will one day die. Why not be prepared? I also reminded her that with four of us having been CPS Social Workers, with well over 100 years together in the field, we could not all count the number of times children came into care because their single parent had passed away for whatever reason and there was no will to state their wishes. Trust me when I say there aren’t many people who want their children in foster care. Make a plan!

@Moltroub Amen to preparing for the end of life. I found the Will was the easiest part, since I knew where my estate was going. And it is on file here with Cumberland County, so no worries about it getting lost.
The most difficult part was the Living Will/Medical Care Directive. Due to an on-going legal issue, it was recently changed, because of my aneurysm, to say keep me alive by whatever means necessary until January 31, 2025. After that, basically palliative care with food, hydration and pain control. No intubation, no feeding tube, or other invasive measures. I like the fact that I can have it on file with the NC Secretary of State, with a user ID/password, so those that need access can get to it.
Now I need to update my financials, so my executor knows where all my accounts are. Where possible, I have Pay on Death/Transfer on Death for my beneficiaries.
I’m 67 and it took several years of deep thinking and research to get it all done. [I hope it’s ALL done!] No dependents, so no guardianship concerns. But there is a lot to be organized; my goal was to make it as easy as possible for my executor.
DON’T have funeral arrangements yet. Want to pre-pay for cremation, but A. will company still be in business down the road?; and B. What if I make a possible relocation to Portugal, or somewhere outside of NC?

You’re just a hop, skip and jump from us, here in Lincoln Co.! Yes, everything taken to the Clerk of Courts and filed. Our lawyer had us tell our executrixes not to move us from the hospital to any rehab or convalescent hospital until they contacted her first. We did prepay for cremation with my parents funeral director, bless him. It’s actually through a different company. I’m unsure that we needed it, but BH’s parents and grandmother had everything prearranged decades prior to their demise and it was very easy as they had their burial plots and their caskets all paid for. We only had to decide on different coffins in the same cost range because they didn’t make the original ones they had chosen.

My Dad wanted to be buried up at the VA cemetery in Black Mountain after cremation, we had to find his DD214 as Mom didn’t remember where it was exactly, so not hard, just a wee bit stressful. Mom was a different story, she wanted her body donated to WF Medical School there in Winston Salem and it took God’s intervention and a lot of phone calls on BH in the middle of the night. Hospice had the card, but the RN had never had anyone in over 20 years donate their remains, we had to explain she needed to call the number on the card. RN found it, made the call and some doctor at the hospital decided Mom “didn’t qualify”. WTHeck? She certainly qualified a couple of months earlier when she filled out the paperwork in their cardiac ICU. BH took over the calling and eventually was told the same thing. I said WTH do they really have cadavers standing in line waiting to get in? It’s a big joke now which is why I remember. The RN at the hospital gave BH another number to call for the office over the donors, but we had to wait until 0800 hours. Robbie, the funeral director was on his legal time clock and his wife called to explain it. I told her to just keep Mom on ice until we could figure it out (another joke now, but not then)

The miracle happened when BH called the number at 0745 and the secretary answered! She told BH she’s never that early, usually about five minutes but all the lights were green and very little traffic. She asked BH to give her a couple of minutes. Apparently she called the Doctor over the department, he called Robbie and Robbie headed to Winston. Robbie was able to get there with just minutes to spare and was sweating it as he said he didn’t want to lose his license. He made it in record time! But they were ready for Mom and took over quickly, paperwork was completed and Robbie had no problems.

The Doctor called us when he got into his office after Mom was delivered and thanked us profusely for what BH had done. He also said that no, they don’t have cadavers standing in line waiting to get in (guess the RN I said that to had told them) in fact cadavers are very hard to come by. He would get to the bottom of it as he was supposed to have been called immediately. A week later, we received a very nice card handwritten by him, thanking us again. He had taken care of the issues we had and it would never happen again. I certainly didn’t want my Mom to haunt me and I thank BH often for getting her final wishes done. My only hesitation with donating my body is I don’t want my Neurosurgeon to have to teach from my brain, odd right? But I think it might upset her and I need to find out, if it would, I might do the paperwork with the forensic medical school up in Virginia. Either way, I want to write a letter and do a where’s Waldo kind of thing with all my scars and metal pieces explaining the history of each. I think I could make it quite hilarious.

My mother has an envelope with all the pertinent info–list of bank accounts/credit cards, DD-214, medical directive, funeral directions, etc. She’s been executrix 5 times(!!)–two husbands, both parents and my older brother. My sister is her alternate. No executor named yet, the lawyer said the court can/will/??? appoint someone to be the executor. I don’t want to burden my family.

I have a bank account with no beneficiary. That is set up to pay for cremation and related expenses. Since I don’t know where I will be living at the end, finding a trustworthy cremation service is the problem. My funeral directions are no autopsy, no body donation, no-frills cremation and no religious ceremony (my mother is a very pious Catholic while I am agnostic). A wake/“celebration of life” is okay.

The case of Terry Shiavo is what spurred me to do the medical form–so many things to consider! My blankety-blank ex died with no will, as did his mother & father. Notified SAG/AFTRA of his death, so his residuals would go to my boys–they aren’t much, but they go on forever.

As I was going through this process, I found many websites with “End of Life” preparation (e.g. my credit union), but none of them seemed to be complete. And I seem to make changes every year or so!

Here’s hoping you, BH and the rest of your family have a very joyous holiday season.

P.S. Was at the eye doctor last week. Based on the aneurysm and other “brain” problems, she referred me to a Neuro-ophthamalogist. Appt. is March at Durham VA/Duke. Will be interesting in what he/she says! Otherwise, no major vision problems.

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Thank you for sharing all you’ve done, I’m sure it will get others to think about what they want to do.

Duke is, as you know, probably the top notch hospital in NC for just about everything. Good luck and please start a new topic under General so we can all learn.