A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

‘What would Gramma want?’ A family’s experience on advance directives

Ten years ago, Ashley Kozicki’s step-grandmother suffered a life-altering medical event that not only changed her life completely but continues to greatly impact her whole family.

Kozicki tells us that her Gramma, Deb Adrian, lived a simple, frugal country life. Petite, spunky, feisty, hard-working, independent, fun and beautiful are words that described her back when. She loved her convertible, her horses and hobby farm where she lived alone near Pittsville, drove forklift for a living and helped anyone who needed her, especially her grandchildren who she spoiled terribly.

Then headaches came.

She sometimes self-medicated with alcohol and that seemed to relieve the pain, sometimes, but then it became too much.

She was admitted to Marshfield Medical Center where surgery was done to repair a bulging aneurysm. It went well. But, while in the Intensive Care Unit, Adrian suffered a debilitating stroke and could not talk, write, express herself or share her wishes. After a short time, she was deemed incapacitated and as a ward of the state others would make life decisions for her.

What followed was excruciating for her family because what would Gramma really want? She had not ever shared her wishes in the event of such a health crisis, because, as Kozicki said, “Gramma was only 51.”

Watch this moving and poignant story about this family’s journey, a life they could not have predicted and the importance of having caring conversations or discussing advance directives.

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