Lifetime Medical Organizer

Lifetime Medical Organizer

by Sandra J. Yorong

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781434376848
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 05/07/2008
Pages: 104
Product dimensions: 8.25(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.22(d)

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Lifetime Medical Organizer A Simple Guide to Organizing Matters of Life and Health How-To Instructions and Forms Included
By Sandra J. Yorong Richard Schuttler
AuthorHouse
Copyright © 2008 HH Legacy Productions LLC
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4343-7684-8



Chapter One My Story

Introduction

In January 2007, my father died of lung cancer at the age of 82. At the time of his diagnosis, his doctor told him he had between four and six months to live. Unfortunately, that was not the case. He passed away only three short months later. As one can imagine, my family struggled with a tidal wave of emotions during these months. While my father was not young, we did not expect him to pass away so soon. Several months before he was diagnosed, he appeared as healthy as he had ever been.

During that short period of three months, my family was confronted with many issues and concerns about how to manage my father's care and approaching death. We had not dealt with anything like this before, and there was much to manage with my father's appointments, medications, eating habits, legal affairs, medical bills, and other related matters. My siblings and I were challenged with managing the logistics and concerns of everyone involved, but most importantly we had to balance the respect we had for our parents and the decisions that only they could ultimately make. My story, and that of my family, is why and how I created the Lifetime Medical Organizer. This organizer provided our family with much peace of mind during adifficult time; it is my hope it will do the same for you.

My Father

My father, the second oldest of eight siblings, was the patriarch of his entire family, which included four children, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

As a teenager, my father assumed responsibility for his younger siblings when his older brother entered the military. My father dropped out of high school to work and help his parents support the family. He made sure that his four younger brothers stayed out of trouble, as well as protecting and providing for his two younger sisters. Both of his sisters adored him. One of my aunts once told me she was grateful to my father because he helped support her through college.

My father maintained that sense of responsibility until the end of his life. He was the one that everyone looked to for advice and guidance. He always made certain that his brothers provided for their families. If something happened to anyone in the family, one of the first telephone calls would be to my father. Until the end of his life, he remained close to his brothers and sisters and received the highest respect from his nieces and nephews. I remember at a family party, my male cousins were all sitting together having a good time when my father walked in-they all stood up to pay their respect and shook his hand. This is the kind of respect my father received from the family his whole life.

During my father's 82 years he made many friends. Even today, when I see them, they tell me my father "was a good man." Over the years, his friends have expressed how my father always had a kind word to share with them. My father did not do things in a grand way. He was a humble man, and his gestures of friendship were the same. As a father, he was strict, but he was also kind and gentle. He was more emotional than my mother; however, he had a way of balancing love and discipline that made us feel secure. He was our rock-not just to our family, but to the entire Yorong family. During his 82 years, many people turned to my father for love and guidance.

Even when he was in the hospital suffering, he still wanted to be strong for his family. It was understandable that everyone reached out to him and his family during his time of illness. My father was our family's hero!

My Mother

At the time of my father's death, my mother was 75 years old. She had been a homemaker married to my father for nearly 55 years. During these 55 years, she was a traditional Asian wife who managed the domestic duties and always took care of my father. My mother and father were inseparable, a true love story. It was understood that should my father take ill and need care during the marriage, she would be his primary caregiver.

My mother also came from a large family. She was the youngest of 10 children raised by traditional Chinese parents who preferred that she marry someone of the same race. Her father migrated from China to work in Hawaii; while there, he wed my grandmother as part of an arranged marriage. At the time they wed, my grandfather was 40 and my grandmother was 18. When my mother began dating my father, a man of Filipino descent, the relationship was not immediately accepted. It was only after my brother, the oldest sibling and only son in our family, was born that my Chinese grandparents began to accept my father. Over time, they embraced and respected my father for the good provider and husband he was.

My father often told us the story of how he had only 10 cents in his pocket the day he married my mother. Obviously, the relationship was meant to be, because my parents were soul mates and did everything together. For nearly 55 years, my father was the sole provider and my mother was a housewife. They ate breakfast together every morning, talked on the telephone almost every day during my father's lunch break at work, and always ate dinner together nightly. My mother did not drive, so they went everywhere together.

In their younger days, my parents would dance in the living room whenever a favorite song played on the television or radio. I would catch them snuggling on the sofa and even holding hands. After 55 years of marriage, we could still see the enormous love they had for each other. My mother tirelessly cared for my father during his illness. Even with all the pain and suffering my father went through in the hospital, he still managed to tell my mom she looked pretty.

As a small child growing up in Hawaii, my mother suffered an ear infection that was neglected. During that time, money was tight and my grandparents could not afford the necessary medical treatment. Due to the lack of medical care, the infection damaged my mother's eardrum and left her deaf in one ear. At the time of my father's illness, my mother's hearing capacity in her good ear declined to 15%. Although a hearing aid improved my mother's hearing slightly, it was still difficult for her to communicate with the health care providers who were giving my mother advice about my father. There were times when my mother, typically a strong and confident woman, became frustrated and emotionally distressed because of her hearing loss. She had a difficult time understanding the doctor's updates and recommendations. Since every decision about my father's care resided with my mother, communicating often became stressful as she tried to balance the emotions of watching her husband suffer with managing her own disability.

The Children

When my father was diagnosed with cancer, my older sister JoAnn and I lived near my parents. My older brother, Sanford, lived in Washington, and my youngest sister, Suzy, lived in California. When we received the news about our father, we were all busy with our own lives.

Like many families, our parents supported and provided help whenever we needed it. Often they spoiled us by putting our needs before their own. My parents did everything from baby-sitting to running errands, and most importantly they provided unconditional love that is far too immeasurable to describe. We could always count on them for anything without giving it a second thought.

My parents were typical grandparents and doted on their four grandchildren, often attending as many dance recitals and sporting events as they could. Ironically, the dynamics were similar in that my parents had three granddaughters (Mandy, Brandi, and Courtney) and one grandson (Taylor) in the same way they had three daughters and a son. There was never a month that left them without grandchildren visiting or sleeping over. One of my favorite memories of my father is taking out his ukulele and playing his favorite song to engage his grandchildren in song and dance. Great-grandchildren Haylie and Hunter became the absolute joy in my parents' lives. Despite the pain my father suffered during his last few months, he beamed with delight whenever his grandchildren and great-grandchildren visited.

During my father's illness, our family set aside our own needs and focused on what we needed to do as a family to adapt and support the changes that were fast approaching. Suddenly, daily hospital visits, eating on the run, chauffeuring a mother who does not drive, fielding countless telephone calls and e-mails, and attending to our own family matters became the new routine.

When a sudden or terminal illness confronts any family, convenience takes on a whole new meaning. Everyone involved needs to be working proactively and showing unselfish support. It can be easier said than done for some families, but our parents raised us to believe that family always comes first, and we kept the focus of working together to make things easier for them.

Quickly Cancer Takes Over

In April 2006, my mother told me that my father was suffering from the beginning stages of prostate cancer. Since the cancer was in the infancy stages, the doctors prescribed radiation treatments that began in July 2006. The doctors explained that the worst side effect my father would experience would be fatigue. My mother reassured us that this was not a serious threat.

Soon after the radiation treatments began, my father started complaining about pain in his back. With each passing month, the pain became more severe. When my mother asked the doctor to reexamine the pain my father was experiencing, the doctor discounted the pain as common geriatric progression and prescribed rehabilitation therapy. He also advised my father to accept this new stage of his life. Since my father was receiving radiation treatments during his therapy, we assumed that the treatments aggravated the pain, but did not think it was anything more serious.

After three months of witnessing my father's gradual weakening, inconsistent eating habits, more pain, and limited physical movement, my mother insisted that the doctors perform more tests. The doctors did perform another series of tests and said that the results would be available within a few weeks. That was just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

While waiting for the test results, another family tragedy occurred. We received heartbreaking news that my aunt, my mother's sister, who lived in California, had died. As my mother prepared to attend her sister's funeral in California, the doctor's office called to schedule an appointment to discuss the latest test results for my father. My parents decided to delay the appointment another week until after the Thanksgiving weekend and the funeral services for my aunt.

While my mother was out of town for my aunt's funeral, I cared for my father for three days during the Thanksgiving holiday. During that time, my father lost much of his appetite, and his physical movements became severely limited. In front of my father, I consistently expressed the brightest outlook and encouraged his every movement and eating habit. While my father slept, or during short drives to my home to replace personal belongings, I cried at witnessing the devastating decline of my father's health. I sensed that something was severely wrong. I became angry and questioned to myself why my father's doctor could not identify the source of the pain.

When my mother returned from California, during the ride home from the airport, I carefully explained the events that occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday. My siblings and I already discussed the possibility of changing doctors, and my mother agreed. As our family witnessed our father's decline, we felt frustrated and helpless. It was very difficult to believe that what was happening to my father was simply geriatric progression, as explained by his doctor. The following Tuesday we had our father admitted to the hospital under the care of a different doctor. The new doctor ordered tests, and the next day my father was released to await the results.

That evening after work, I stopped to visit my parents. That visit proved to be one of the hardest days of my life. My father was in the bathroom and I was sitting in the family room watching television when suddenly, my mom yelled, "Sandra, come quick. I need you!" My father hung over my mother like a limp tree branch as she struggled to hold him up. After 20 minutes of struggling to guide my father out of the bathroom with my mother, I personally called his new doctor. At that moment, the doctor confirmed that my father suffered from terminal lung cancer and had only a few months to live. The lung cancer was the reason for the pain in his back that had gone undiagnosed for several months.

I sobbed at the realization that my father would die soon-yet my father remained strong in spirit and tried to comfort me with his words. That night, we readmitted my father to the hospital, where he remained for several week before returning home under hospice care until his death. Ironically, my father's former doctor contacted us after discovering a mass from the x-rays, but it was too late-he had failed to detect it sooner, and we did not want anything to do with him.

Communicating to All

As my father's illness progressed, family and friends began to realize how serious the illness was. They became a constant source of love and support; however, with that came the difficult task of balancing my father's declining physical condition and everyone's emotions surrounding the situation. When a loved one's health declines, emotions can become highly charged, sometimes resulting in unintentional, hurtful, or resentful communication.

Where I live in Hawaii, extended families are a large part of the Hawaiian culture. This includes aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Trying to manage my father's health crisis and figuring out the best way of communicating updates to family and friends became a daunting task. Some wanted e-mail communication, others wanted telephone calls, and those who visited in the hospital wanted information from doctors repeated verbally on a daily basis. Communicating became a big concern. It was difficult handling my emotions as well as considering other people's feelings and staying focused on the important decisions that had to be made. Ultimately, every decision rested on my mother's approval.

During that period, my mother confronted many new challenges. For the many years she and my father were married, she always turned to him for help with making decisions. She was now forced to independently make major decisions for both of them. Because of her limited hearing, it was often difficult for my mother to understand the doctor's communications. This added to the stress in making the decisions she had to make. It was difficult for all of us; however, every decision fell upon my mother, and we were closely involved to help her.

Empathetic to my mother's hearing disability and trying to find a way to lessen the burden for her, I reassured her that she did not have to worry about the details of getting everything done. I began a plan to gather information. I wanted it to be in one place and in one concise manner. I wanted to be able to communicate to everyone in a consistent way with the most up-to-date information.

When communication is not managed effectively, lack of communication can lead to assumptions, stir all sorts of conflict, and create doubt, even though the communication is made with the best of intentions. This was the last thing we all wanted or needed during this difficult period, and I was determined to make it easier for all of us.

The Lifetime Medical Organizer Is Born

I needed a tool, a resource that could serve as a conduit to speak with logic and without emotion-or with as little as possible, considering the circumstances. I needed something that was easy to use and that many people could easily relate to about my father's care.

I searched through several retail bookstores and the Internet for an organizer that would be helpful. I expected that there would be many good ones to choose from-after all, people have to deal with these kinds of concerns every day. I found few organizers that would help in this situation, and those available seemed difficult to use. Many of the organizers that I examined appeared to want too much information; I found this intimidating, and it discouraged me from using them. Unless the user is analytical by nature, these types of organizers would mislead one to believe that data gathering is very complex and cumbersome.

So, I decided to create my own organizer that was simple to use, did not require huge amounts of data, and would provide the much-needed structure during our time of crisis. My mother came to rely on her organizer like a security blanket. It was the events leading up to my father's death and the encouragement I received from others that led me to create the Lifetime Medical Organizer.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Lifetime Medical Organizer by Sandra J. Yorong Richard Schuttler Copyright © 2008by HH Legacy Productions LLC.Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents Chapter 1 My Story....................1
Chapter 2 Lifetime Medical Organizer....................8
Chapter 3 Real Stories....................11
Chapter 4 Emergency Telephone Directory Form....................15
Chapter 5 Doctor Directory Form....................21
Chapter 6 Other Important Contacts Form....................27
Chapter 7 Medicine Prescription Record Form....................33
Chapter 8 Daily Medicine Consumption Form....................39
Chapter 9 Next Appointment Form....................45
Chapter 10 Family Medical History Form....................53
Chapter 11 Appointment Notes Form....................59
Chapter 12 Journal Notes Form....................65
Chapter 13 Wills and Trusts....................71
Chapter 14 Durable General Power of Attorney Form....................74
Chapter 15 Advanced Health Care Directives....................76
Chapter 16 Other Important Documents....................78

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