Facing Unexpected Events with No Prior Planning
Once again I’ve been away from the blog and I do apologize. I won’t give you excuses. Life unfolds and sometimes we have to make choices. This post will be about some events which have occurred over the past two months and what they’ve meant in my life. Hopefully, you will take this and incorporate some changes in your life, especially when it comes to planning, so that when the dramas of life unfold you are somewhat prepared and can react with a plan rather than haphazardly.
A Young Man
I’d like to tell you a little about a young man. His name was Paul and he is/was my brother. We’ve been estranged for a number of years but I will always hold fond memories of our childhood when he was an impish, fun-loving kid. In his late twenties, or maybe early thirties he was diagnosed with diabetes and soon became dependent on insulin. He was an athlete and kept himself in good condition although I don’t know whether he followed his medical regimen or not.
Last summer he suffered a debilitating stroke and he died seven months later without ever returning to his home. His wife, of course, has had many things to deal with. Paul was only 51 when he died. Was he prepared? Did he have a will, a POA, a health care POA? I don’t know and that’s not the point. He was young, vibrant, and talented yet unexpected events cut his life short and left his wife and step-children with hard decisions and possibly no plan.
An Older Man
Now I want to tell you about an older man. His name is Pete. He’s a good friend and someone I care about deeply as a member of my extended family of friends. At the age of 78 Pete has some health issues, but he’s not one to complain. Six years ago he had a very mild stroke (TIA), but was up within a day and back to his life of gardening and keeping busy with daily tasks. Five years ago he had another stroke and was found lying in the snow by a friend, but after a few days in the hospital with a battery of tests he was once again home and back to his daily tasks. Last month he had another stroke, spent the night in the hospital and was back home again.
Pete lives alone and he has a number of stressful worries on his mind. It’s winter in the northeast; cold, gray, and time for ruminating. Two weeks ago, while ruminating about a business deal that isn’t working out he had severe chest pain that “kicked him out of his chair.” After peeling himself off the ceiling he drove himself to the local ER and spent the night in the hospital. Once again, he’s back home after a short stay with very few answers after an unexpected event.
An Even Older Woman
This story is about a 95-year old woman. I’ll call her Mae. She lives alone in a small town, but has grandchildren living close who check on her once in a while. While shopping with her grandson in November she slipped and fell. We’ll call this Mae’s unexpected event. She said she was fine so went home. A few days later when the bruising had subsided and the aches and pains were tolerable she went on about her business thinking everything was A-OK.
A month later, now December, she started having pain in her legs and back for no reason that she could discern. She had her grandson take her to a local chiropractor she’d been seeing for years. No x-rays were done since she routinely saw this practitioner for structural adjustments, but this time the adjustments caused her severe pain. Not one to complain, she went back home and thought this was just one more thing she’d have to battle through.
In mid-January her family stopped by for a brief visit and found her pulling herself along the floor to get around her house. She’d been doing this for a month and hadn’t wanted to bother anyone. She was on the floor because standing or walking caused her too much pain so she just pulled herself around the house on her belly.
It’s now mid-February. Mae was taken to the hospital when she was found on the floor in January. While in the hospital it was found she had a badly broken pelvis and a fracture in her leg. The doctor and radiologist were able to discern this was a result of her fall in November. She wasn’t able to return home right away as she wished. Instead she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitative therapy. She hates it and wants to go home, but the doctor won’t let her until there is 24-hour care in place for her.
You may be asking: “What do all three of these people have in common? Why is she telling us these stories”
It’s quite simple-three lives of significantly diverse people were impacted severely by an unexpected event.
Not one of these individuals could have stopped the events from occurring, but were they ready?
Did Paul have a will or his POA’s in place?
Did Pete have a plan for a ride to the hospital, his daily care if needed, his will or estate in order?
Did Mae have her end-of life paperwork completed, her wishes known, a plan in place for who would care for her?
I’ll continue this blog tomorrow with some ideas on how there could have been better outcomes for these three individuals.
If you have specific questions or ideas please feel free to comment. I would love to help you avoid the stress and unrest associated with UNEXPECTED EVENTS!