11. Customize your living will.
There's no one-size-fits-all living will. If things should take a particularly unhappy course and you can't speak up for yourself, you can tell hospital staffers ahead of time which measures you do or do not want to receive, such as:
Artificial breathing. No, not via the services of one of the more attractive hospital staff members, we're afraid. Instead, you're placed on the machine called a ventilator, which pumps air into your lungs.
Artificial feeding. If you're unable to eat, you can be given nutrients through an IV or a tube that's inserted into your stomach. Some of our more industrious friends have asked if they could have this procedure done just as a matter of convenience, but we tell them to slow down, take a break and eat a real meal.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). You know, the organized theatrics you've seen in TV shows and movies, when a hospital team tries to revive you after your heart stops beating or you stop breathing -- unless you request a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR). Unlike on television, however, there is not a 99.9% chance that you will be revived successfully and to full consciousness within five seconds by a tanned actor, but we'll try our best.
'YOU: THE SMART PATIENT,' COPYRIGHT © 2006 BY MICHAEL F. ROIZEN, M.D., AND OZ WORKS LLC, F/S/O MEHMET C. OZ, M.D., AND JOINT COMMISSION RESOURCES, IS PUBLISHED IN PAPERBACK AT $14.95 BY FREE PRESS, 1240 AVE. OF THE AMERICAS, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10020