The unthinkableBy Wade Kwon
As Mike walked with me through the cavernous hospital lobby, he went on about DNR requests and patientsâ€™ advocates and insurance papers and drug schedules. His mom was nine floors up, lying in a bed after a driver crossed the interstate median and rammed her in a head-on collision. She survived, but had major injuries and severe pain.
I told him I wasnâ€™t planning on being back in a hospital anytime soon. He said, â€œThat was Momâ€™s plan, too, and you see how thatâ€™s working out.â€
My life has the basic safety measures: good diet and exercise, a savings and retirement plan, health insurance, more insurance, car with seat belts and airbag, etc. But the next steps are still in progress, not quite done: a will, a living will, a concrete bunker hidden in the mountains.
You get the idea.
Taking on a mortgage was a big step toward a long-term commitment. Heck, you could say the same thing about renewing magazines for two years at a stretch.
I usually confront the big things head on. And yet, I have loose threads dangling.
Maybe itâ€™s the folly of (a not-ready-to-call-it-quits) youth. Teenagers donâ€™t think about such things, because theyâ€™re immortal, untouchable. Thirtysomethings donâ€™t think about such things because that veers dangerously close to the realm of personal responsibility.
(Terrific. Two inappropriate vehicular metaphors in two paragraphs. Here comes a third.)
I often invoke the bus-hits-me-tomorrow example. When I worked at the newspaper, I wanted people to know the big plan and how to run things in my absence, in case I got hit by a bus tomorrow. When I justify a mature and safe choice, I follow it up with, â€œOr I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.â€
Again, you get the idea.
So call it a blind spot or two. I can plan ahead, but I havenâ€™t covered everything. A tornado might take my home and I can rebuild, but if the doctor is about to put me on a ventilator â€¦
Yeah, hard to think about. And yet, I must.
Tough choices with no right answers, except for me. Not making a decision is still a decision, one with more than the usual number of unintended consequences.
No one wants the unthinkable to happen to them. Some people plan for it, just in case.
And I need a bit more time to work it out.