|Dodger Stadium & LA Skyline|
There's always something kind of surreal about going home. My mother lives in Southern California in the home where I was raised. I lived there until 1997 when I left for medical school. I go back about 4 times a year. It's both familiar and different every time I return.
Mom and I celebrated her birthday in Laughlin, Nevada. We know the places we like to stop for meals; how far apart the rest stops are. We know the casino layouts as if we were in our own homes. I know, scary.
We spend the first part of the trip on banal things: like gossip.... or shopping. We spend the second half of the trip on serious things: money, health... living wills. I know I've written about the importance of knowing your loved one's wishes ahead of time. So many people come to the Emergency Room with a loved one that can no longer speak for themselves.
Mom and I have very morbid, albeit humorous, conversations on the subject. Mostly about how she doesn't want to give me Power of Attorney for Health Care because she's afraid I'll "pull the plug" just to get the inheritance. I told her since she didn't want a fancy coffin, I was just going to get a refrigerator box from the electronics store; things like that.
But, seriously, it's important to know what your loved one would want; from the clothes they want to be buried in to who gets the ugly turkey platter that gets pulled out every Thanksgiving. In the E.D., I just want to know if they would want to be resuscitated (chest compressions, shocks, etc.) or to have a breathing tube put in and be placed in a ventilator. Mom's already said she doesn't want "an artificial life." I just want to be kept alive if there's a possibility of being an organ donor...
Anyway, it was a successful trip by all accounts. Mom got to gamble and show that's she's the Slot Machine Queen. I got to come home and spend some time in the heat and traffic. We discussed some future plans, some estate plans, some dinner plans. And, now I leave back to my little house on the edge of the wilderness... wild cats, porcupines and bears, oh my!