As I was thinking of a topic for this blog, an article caught my attention: “Anti-Bucket List for Terminally Ill Patients”. You may have heard of bucket lists – a list of things you would like to accomplish in your lifetime. These lists may include sky diving, bungee jumping or traveling overseas.
These lists became popular after the movie, The Bucket List. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman played two terminally ill cancer patients who decide to break out of a hospital and live their last days to the fullest. If you haven’t seen the movie, it was entertaining.
So, what is an anti-bucket list for the terminally ill patient? It is a list of things one does NOT want, such as:
- Do NOT slip tubes into my body
- Do NOT intubate
- Do NOT force me to eat healthy. In my last days, I want crème donuts, sticky buns, and a porterhouse steak with onion rings! (On the flip side, if I say I don’t want to eat, don’t force me to eat!)
By the time you find yourself taking care of a loved one on hospice, it may be too late to have this conversation. If the person you care for said things to you during their healthier days about how they would want to be cared for at end of life, write them down for others to see. And maybe, this is the chance for you to write down your own anti-bucket list and tuck a couple of copies away where family can find them. [And take advantage of the time to complete your own Advanced Directives documents.]
Live each day to the fullest because tomorrow isn’t promised.
An anti-bucket list allows one to decide priorities at the end of life. Letting their caregivers know what they do not want affords patients the opportunity to focus on things that give them joy and pleasure.
Kimberly Dawn Iverson, a Palliative Care Nurse and founder of The Bucket List Foundation, puts it simply: “Live each day to the fullest because tomorrow isn’t promised.”