October 9, 2018

It is two months now since I was hospitalized for a heart attack.  Since I did not accept the cardiologist’s recommendation for treatment (angioplasty, stent, plus 5 strong Big Pharma drugs for the rest of my life), I wasn’t given much hope for living much longer.   A few weeks later, when I went to a cardio rehab clinic for advice about exercising and registered 250 for the top blood pressure number even before I started exercising, I was told I was in stroke territory.

And so I hastened even faster to get all my ducks in a row.   I thought I had already taken care of such details, but it turned out that I had to go into high gear to put together a trust instead of the will I had written a year ago, plus give my relatives more information about how to find this and that, and take care of numerous details.

I have been a determined exerciser for many years in spite of not always being enthusiastic about it.  So, I decided to keep up gentle exercising of my own making.  Being a night owl, I chose to walk my gated community’s quiet neighborhood streets after most had gone to bed.

I knew that trees breathe too, taking in what humans exhale, and vice versa.  Although our southern California mostly dry climate was never right for water-thirsty trees, plants, and grass, our community has been growing and watering a woods all around us for more than 50 years.  The trees are tall and strong.  An hour of walking and breathing among them at night is both calming and joyous.

I have also attended two monthly meetings of the Death Cafe, something available in many communities, including Laguna Beach.  It is free to those who want to come together to discuss dying.  While there are some who come regularly, there are always newcomers.  Rather than a therapy group, it is a discussion group led by a facilitator with no particular agenda.

There are various views toward dying expressed by the people who attend, as well as those who just come to listen.  Since I have personally decided to let nature take its course, I talked about the pink POLST  papers (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment).  This is a legal paper of the patient’s wishes, and is more inclusive than the advanced directive people put in wills and trusts.  It includes 4 sections — Resuscitation or No Resuscitation; Medical Interventions for full treatment, selective treatment, comfort-focused treatment; Nutrition (long term artificial nutrition, trial period of artificial nutrition, and no artificial means of nutrition); and information and signatures of a physician or nurse practitioner, and the name and phone number of the person named as Power of Attorney or Health Care Agent.

Doctors, nurses, and paramedics have been trained to save lives, but this POLST paper puts the power of decision into the patient’s wishes.   And I applaud having the legal right to having my wishes followed.

Another goal I accomplished was updating and modernizing my website while continuing my blog.  I want my website and blog to continue after me, and so I have hired my web designer to look after it and paid the host, Lunarpages, for 5 more years.  Welcome to all readers!

Hoping to test out heaven, I stayed overnight in a place as close to heaven as I could imagine.   In one way or another, my life has always intertwined with oceans.  So, I stayed overnight at the Beachcomber Inn in San Clemente.  Because this dates back to 1948 before San Clemente became crowded and cluttered, its location is open and roomy with an unobstructed view of the ocean from each of the 12 rooms.

Instead of doing the many things I thought I would do there, I never tired of just looking at the ocean, watching and listening to the crashing waves, and appreciating everything I could about the ever changing clouds and blue vastness of the sky above, and the salty water  my ashes will follow one day.




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