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Life too short not to do as much as you can

My grandmother introduced me to the card game of Pit. It is based on commodity trading. It is as frenzied a game as the craziness of the commodity floor, with everyone vying to “trade” all at once.

Like life, “trades” or opportunities don’t wait for the floor to clear. We all have to be on our toes, ready to sprint toward our next dream or through our next crisis. It is life. Life is such a precious commodity, more desirable than any pork belly sold in rural America and more coveted than any wheat future.

We fret over a drought’s impact on produce prices. We notice the upward trend of gas costs. We agonize over whether to shop the discount store or be compassionately responsible and pay the higher price for free trade and better working conditions. These are all important economic and social issues that, as a society, we must not ignore. But then comes the autumn of our life and the end of our days. We come to understand we had our chance to make a difference, that it is time for us to pass the baton in our race through life.

As I make this ever-inevitable transition, I find there is one more issue to share and educate about. As I tie up my paperwork, I find that in Nevada, unless a person dies while under the care of a hospice, all deaths at home are considered potential homicides. The police and coroner are called in to make a determination. Absurd this may be, but it is the law.

My medical condition is dicey enough that I was refused by multiple hospices. For months, despite doctors referring me to hospice, my husband and daughter were subject to not only the trauma of my death but then having to justify my death in the course of events.

Thank heavens for doctor and Sen. Joe Hardy, who educated me on the new physician order for life-sustaining treatment law, NRS 449.535-630. While it does not eliminate the need for the coroner visit, it protects the end-of-life wishes of the individual and thus protects the family. It trumps the traditional do not resuscitate form.

Doctors and hospitals are supposed to educate anyone they feel is at risk of dying within five years. Unfortunately, I found most doctors don’t know the new law exists. If this is the case with your doctor, refer them to nevadapolst.org for free training on the law.

There are two parts to the law. NRS 449.630 addresses the physician’s order for life-sustaining treatment and informs paramedics and other medical staff about your wishes. For people with more complicated medical situations, NRS 449.535 is a critical, but less known, component that deals with withholding or withdrawing medical treatment, if you do not want life prolonged.

I still contend it is time for Nevada to pass a right to die law, but until then make sure you have your physician order for life-sustaining treatment form signed by your doctor and posted on your refrigerator, with any withholding or withdrawing treatment statement witnessed and signed.

And so, this is my last article. I have enjoyed writing for the paper and the interaction of our readers. Friends asked what my last writing would address. Besides the nugget about the physician order for life-sustaining treatment, I just want to praise those I have encountered in life. No one passes through our life without leaving a ripple in our psyche. Like the roadrunner who visited my porch this afternoon, it made an impression on my day.

Life is good. There is no way around that. Another day, another opportunity!

Lucille Ball once said, “One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged.”

Danny Kaye resolved that “Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.” Splash it with joyful colors, reflect with pastels, mourn with those earthy hues; but color your life so you remember, and others admire, your work.

Denis Waitley teaches that “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”

Some reason that my projects and causes have been the reason I have lived as long as I have. We each are here for a reason and I believe that reason is to make the world a better place. Maybe it is a big thing you accomplish, maybe it is a smile to a stranger on the street, but every positive thing in this world has an exponential effect on life around us.

Projects remain undone on my table and desk. I have loved every minute of life on this earth. I go reluctantly, and in the words of the Spirit of Christmas Present, “There is never enough time to do or so say all of the things that we would wish. The thing to do is do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember … time is short and suddenly you’re not there anymore.”

Cat Trico has been a resident of Boulder City since 2003 and is a past president of the Senior Center of Boulder City and co-founder of the Decker Lake Wetlands Preserve. As an author and editor, she contributed to “Rights, Responsibilities, and Relationships” for youth. She can be reached at cat.circa1623@gmail.com.

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