This is nothing like experience to help you understand a situation. I had the unenviable experience of a hospital stay recently and I found myself questioning a lot of things. My own personal health is one thing; however I’m sure I am like a lot of people and think about how what happens to me will affect the people around me. In sharing my experience, perhaps I can help someone else be better prepared if they are faced with a similar occurrence.

The first thing that comes to mind is what if I die? It’s one thing to be positive; it’s another to face the reality that we are all mortal. I’m going to a hospital for a reason; not thinking about death is ridiculous. I was reminded about this during my stay when I heard “code blue” several times that day. I’m ignorant; I did not know what it meant so I ask the nursing assistant that was in my room at the time, “what does code blue mean”? She was young and didn’t have a lot of tact. She said, “It means somebody kicked the bucket”. She went on to tell me that was the third one that day and one of them happened when a wife was checking her husband out and he “kicked the bucket” in the lobby! My wife had gone to get the car, should I have been worried?

Before I went for surgery, the first thing that came to mind “is my will update”? It was twenty-five years old, the answer was no. So I logged onto and for about $150 I had an updated will within about an hour. I think that going to a lawyer is a good thing, but it was Friday night. So the internet was the next best thing. FYI, when you are married, your spouse needs to have a separate will. Most of the time it is identical, so I did my wife’s will too. I also did a healthcare directive or living will. I did not want to leave my family with the decision of when to pull the plug if need be, so I covered that in the healthcare directive too. If you are one of my relatives reading this, I’m not dying yet. I just wanted to do the right planning. Additionally, so someone could sign on my business accounts and other financial accounts, I did a “power of attorney” document as well.

I went over my life insurance too. I have been selling life insurance for over twenty-eight years, so you’d think this would be up to date. I’m like the cobbler whose children had no shoes; I needed to update my life insurance beneficiaries too.  I bought my life insurance over twenty-five years ago, at the time, I thought I bought enough. If I die sooner than expected, it will make things a lot easier for my family, I am sure of that. But I would like to have more. I’m looking forward to recovery and I am sure I can get more for not too much money. So I’ll be optimistic and plan for a year from now.

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Most people, including family, try to be optimistic during a hospital stay. It’s the right thing to do, but if you are the one who is responsible for making sure the bills are paid on time, you need to talk to your spouse. We sat down and she made a list of everything that was paid, not paid, to pay, etc. The most important thing to share is how to log into the online accounts. I use a program called Splash Data ID. I have all my passwords on my IPhone and on the computer at home. All my wife needs to know is the password to get into that app and everything is in one place.

I have a second hospital stay coming up in about three weeks; however I expect to be in full swing before too long. But just in case, we talked about taxes too. If I can’t do the taxes on time, I filled out the form for an extension. All she needs to do is mail it if necessary. I take the responsibility of insurance, wills, taxes and I do not expect my wife to have to worry about that stuff. But if the unexpected happens, I gave her a list of people we trust that will help her if she needed.

I am humbled by the fact that God has blessed me with the family I have. I want to do the right thing and take care of them if I am not here. I have created an infographic to go along with this post to share this information. I hope that sharing my knowledge and experiences will give others the incentive to think about how they can care for their loved ones too.  I have a new website that can help with some of your planning:

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Thank you for reading, please feel free to share this post and the following infographic.

Van Richards