Getting Real With Jennifer Poole

We all know as moms how stressful it can be to have decide what the best medical decision for our kids might be. Do we wait out the sore throat for a few days or do we go in right away to see if it is strep?

But what if it is the other way around?

Last week, my biological father had a stroke. He lives alone in the Portland, Oregon area, but luckily, a friend found him right away. My father and I are not close. I haven’t seen or talked to him since the last family reunion 1-1/2 years ago, but I certainly want to know how he is doing and I was getting updates from an aunt.

The next thing I know, the hospital is calling me as next of kin, because my father has not established a medical designee – a healthcare representative. All of a sudden, they are telling me that I will need to fly to Oregon and make decisions about where he will go after they release him because they don’t think he can continue to live alone. My dad has 7 siblings, but by law, I have to make the decisions or release my authority to one of them with a notarized document. I am not comfortable making those decisions for someone I barely know.

Thankfully, my father is doing much, much better and able to make his own medical decisions. One of those decisions will be to designate who he wants to make medical decisions for him if this happens again. Currently, one of his sisters that he is close to is staying with him and keeping me updated on his status.

The moral to this story is that all of us should have a healthcare representative.

Normally, it would be your spouse, but if you are not married, you should download the form online to designate someone who can make decisions for your healthcare if you are incapacitated. Additionally, make sure your parents have designated someone and to let you know if that someone happens to be you so that you are not surprised by it in the middle of a crisis.

None of us want to think about this kind situation but the reality is that we need to be prepared.