Consider the following questions
and steps as you and your loved one evaluate physicians.
Where To Start~Questions
To Ask Your Doctor
Here are tips to help you talk to doctors, loved ones and yourself:
-Know your stuff:
Research your disease and bring a detailed list of questions to your
doctor. If you need support, bring along a friend or family member. Ask to tape record the medical interview so you can remember
all of the details of the conversation.
When you talk to your doctor, nurses, social workers,
clergy, and other care-providers, think of them as colleagues, all interested in the same thing - helping you life your life
to the fullest in the time you have left.
-Learn from others:
Call up a local hospice or hospital to find nearby support groups or educational programs for people facing the same medical
or care-giving challenges.
Get your group - say, church or senior center - to discuss the experiences (good and bad) that members have had with friends
and family who have died recently.
Discuss a treatment
plan for your remaining time with your loved ones. Discuss your medical options (living will and health-care proxy) and desired
funeral arrangements. Give your doctors a copy of your completed directives.
-Don't waste time:
Share with your loved ones what you'd like to do with the
remainder time in your life - travel, getting together with old friends, for example. Be realistic; but set down your plans
in detail and take action.
Think about what the unresolved issues are for you with your family, and what you can do to
achieve some closure. For example, tell someone you forgive them or her for a past conflict. Get closures for the unfinished
parts of your life.
-Tell your story:
Make a video or audiotape for your children or grandchildren,
telling them stories of your life and candidly sharing your feelings with them.
-Write it down:
Think of writing as
a conversation with yourself. Writing about your life in its final stages may not cure your illness, but finding words to
describe what you're feeling can be emotionally comforting and help you find meaning.
-Look for the windows of opportunity:
If your illness worsens and you are trying to balance life-prolonging treatments with your quality of life, it
might be time for you to consider dying as the next stage of your life. The more you talk with others and prepare, the more
likely you will be able to maintain control and dignity and achieve a sense of peacefulness in the
time that remains.
Have your doctor answer these questions: