INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Adrianne Opp is a registered nurse who is also dealing with a debilitating illness: multiple sclerosis.
Several years ago, she started a difficult regimen of drugs which put her at risk for a fatal brain infection. It was at that point she decided to make an advanced directive.
“I don’t want to be ventilated. I don’t want to have a feeding tube. If I have to have intensive care in a setting for more than 14 days, I want there to be palliative care,” said Opp.
Furthermore, instead of her husband carrying out her wishes, she has chosen a good friend.
“I know my husband is going to be under extreme duress at the time if anything were to happen,” said Opp. “So he wouldn’t be someone I want physicians or other clinicians coming to, to get those answers.”
It is surprisingly easy to fill out an advanced directive. You don’t need a lawyer, but you need a witness. You can download the appropriate document here.
“This is all about comfort and quality of life,” said Dr. David Mandelbaum, a former surgeon at Franciscan Health, who’s taken the mantle now of urging everyone to fill out an advanced directive.
He’s seen lots of cases where families are confused, angry and argue over a relative’s last wishes. It’s really about care and compassion.
“It’s not about hurrying it along. It’s not about putting someone out of their misery. There’s all kinds of misperceptions out there. It’s about providing comfort,” said Dr. Mandelbaum.
It’s also about peace of mind.
“It absolutely brought me peace of mind, peace of heart, comfort, knowing that I have someone designated who is going to be able to emotionally handle that situation and do the right thing, based on what I want,” said Adrianne Opp.
There are two parts to the advanced directive: a living will and designating a patient representative.