Brett Favre, Advance Directives & Me
Posted November 1, 2009on:
Here’s to you, Andy, my brother who would never have thought his little sister would be writing about football on a Sunday morning. But this is the day of the big return of a man named Brett Favre to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Or will it be?
Until he actually plays, he might retire. Who knows? He’s suggested he might retire a few times, but he has to really think about whether he might retire. It’s not whether he actually will retire one day; it’s whether he is actually going to consider seriously thinking about whether he will retire some day. Possibly. Maybe. Conceivably.
(Thanks, Andy, for help with those last few lines, now it will be back to me.)
What in the world is Brett Favre doing in my breast cancer blog? I should feel strongly in support of him considering I was told on my first day of chemotherapy that I was getting the very same treatment plan as Deanna Favre had and she certainly looks very healthy years later cheering her husband in a Minnesota Vikings uniform.
I doubt, however, Deanna will want to exchange athlete’s feet and constipation remedies with me if she should ever read this blog. However, there is no indication whether she or Brett are regular readers of this serious discussion of breast cancer and its complications. J
My original intention today was to write about loyalty, Brett Favre & me. I am nothing if not creative in writing this blog in this time when I’m supposed to have chemo brain. Or at least I am amusing myself.
Let me say this: I developed my loyalty to the Green Bay Packers at about 4 a.m. one Monday morning when my daughter arrived home with the Logan High School marching band after playing at half time in Lambeau combined with the other La Crosse high school band. It was very cool, although, it wasn’t shown on TV.
Maggie was excited because “the Packers were so nice to us.” Brett Favre even ran into her friend Betsy, also a band member, who was sitting in seats with them along the sideline. What a wonderful man to do that, although I suspect he already was pretty sweaty at the time.
The fact that the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl that year made me very loyal to the Packers (I was loyal to my children from birth.)
(One other sidelight: when the marching band visited the Packers Hall of Fame, Maggie posed with a cutout of safety LeRoy Butler. I didn’t remember that until after I had been the ghostwriter for his memoirs several years later and discovered the photo with him in the album.)
When I become a Packers fan, I really become a fan including, apparently fighting cancer with the star – make that superstar quarterback’s wife. Yes, Brett Favre was a wonderful quarterback who will enter the Hall of Fame. I loved watching him. I still love watching him because he is like a kid with his enthusiasm and love of the game.
But I also see a man who cannot make a decision. And not making a decision has an impact on an entire team; its fans and what had been a very grateful state of Wisconsin.
There is the issue of loyalty, something that I believe in. I have had a couple heated discussions with friends about this, women who speak passionately about football something unheard of a generation ago.
These friends believe the issue was the Packers – especially General Manger Ted Thompson and Coach Mike McCarthy – were not loyal to Brett. I believe the waffling and mind changing of even one of the greatest players were enough already. The team had to plan for its future, especially when his decision to return came later and later each year. (August for the Vikings)
And I really like Aaron Rodgers, who has been holding Brett’s cleats for a long time. This young man deserves a chance to play and to prove himself. And he is.
I’ve also just learned that my brother, Andy, saw him as a kid playing on his son’s Little League baseball team in Oregon, where he apparently lived before moving to California.
Of course, I don’t really have the Inside Lambeau story, as they say in the pregame football analysis world.
And now to Brett and advance directives, which are expressions of end of life planning sometimes are called living wills.
With a breast cancer diagnosis I was asked to participate in creating an advanced advance directive as part of a program on PBS called Now.
I will mention this loyalty thing only once (more) because it bothered me that the program did not indicate that I was a patient at Franciscan Skemp, the other medical center in town, when the focus was on Gundersen Lutheran. I was told that it would complicate the story; I told them I felt a loyalty to Franciscan Skemp. It was not a battle I won. It sill bothers me.
Enough already of this, too.
But it did get me thinking of those delightful Sears commercials in which Brett, who art in Minneapolis playing for the Packers’ arch enemy, is trying to make a bloomin’ decision about buying a TV. I love that he’s willing to make fun of himself and his waffling – for a price of course.
This morning I woke up thinking about how Brett Favre would create a living will Would he? Could he? Will he? He’ll have to think about it and then not be sure, but get back to us when he made up his mind.
And reserve the right to change his mind.
Mostly, a living will is about whether you would want extraordinary measures at the end of life to prolong it if you have no chance of returning to a meaningful life.
Here’s how Brett’s thought pattern might go for his career’s advance directive:
“I want everything they can give me. No wait, maybe I shouldn’t. I definitely should have the bifocals. I need the Corrrectol. Or maybe the Metamucil. No liniment, or maybe a little Ben Gay. Heating pads, definitely. But I reserve the right to change my mind.”
The son of a friend of mine wrote it best some months back on Twitter, saying something like, “Brett, I accepted it when you went to the New York Jets. But the Minnesota Vikings? Brett, you go to the Vikings, you are dead to me.”
Brett, you are not dead to me because I share your enthusiasm for life. When you throw a touchdown – but none today please – you have absolute joy on your face. That’s wonderful to see.
I know that joy of life, a reason that I keep fighting through these less than fun days of chemotherapy.
But really, Brett, the Vikings?
And will we have this soap opera when this season is over of “will he or won’t he?”
A grateful nation – and state of Wisconsin – is just plain tired of it.