Mom is dying, but she is fighting it and miserable.

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Mom is dying. She is barely eating and drinking and appears to be about 75 pounds now. Her eyes are sunken and just slits. Then she will eat a little, and keep going. They said she is strong, still gets out of bed, they don't know how she is so weak and drugged and with a fractured pelvis. She is mostly out of it, but still talking some, asking odd questions.
Today they moved her to another wing of the NH. I haven't been able to find out why, but my sister said from her observation it looks like people on that wing are really bad off so maybe its the terminal wing?
With her deafness, we can't even talk to her, and she no longer understand what we write on the whiteboard. We can't even tell her we love her, can't tell her its ok to go to be with Daddy.
How long can someone go on in this condition, days, weeks, months as long as she fights so hard, not even being aware of what is going on, where she is? Its horrible to watch her suffer in confusion.

6 Comments

Amy, talk to the DON and get an accurate assessment of your mother's condition, estimated time life, and what can be done to ameliorate her condition. I assume that this new unit isn't a hospice one? You might want to raise that issue.

It seems your mother is a very strong person (good for her!) but that strength is making her current decline more difficult. Hospice might have some suggestions to address her suffering, and I think that would be better than a different wing, unless that unit is a hospice one.
They don't have hospice in that NH (its in the country and I'm guessing Hospice can't staff it way out there. She is on what they call "comfort care" which means no life extending measures, iv's etc. I left a message for them to call me to give me more information. I've been sick today, diverticulitis or IBS, don't know which, but couldn't make the 1 hour drive each way feeling like this.
Amy, I don't mean to sound callous, but if it was my mother I would be asking for that ativan morphine cocktail the hospice haters are always ranting about. It seems to me she would be much better off if sedated and pain free even if it doesn't hasten her end. Are there no doctors and competent nurses at this nursing home? They must have helped hundred to the pearly gates, somebody there should know how to help her even without having a hospice group on site. I'm so sorry. (((HUGS)))
I'm in agreeance with Cwillie, and I Loved my Mom to no end, but freeing her from the dreadful pain she was in was all I was praying for in the end! Let her go in peace! I'm so sorry you are struggling with this, please know that I am thinking and praying for you and your Mom!
So sorry AmyGrace. I do feel for you. These kinds of things are so difficult to figure out. I don't have any first hand knowledge about it.

When I visit the Memory Care facility to see my cousin, I see 2 other residents who are similar to your mother, except they can not sit or get out of bed. One is always asleep. I do not understand how they are alive. It's heartbreaking.

I hope that you and your mom can find some peace.
I just got her drug bill. It appears she is getting C-morphine 2x a day. Also Clonazepam 5mg, and sertraline 50 mg daily. It leaves her pretty dopey and she sleeps a lot. She claims she is not in physical pain. Her suffering is from being agitated because she is bedridden and confused because she has dementia. (She has always been a fidgeter, pacing aimlessly, up and down from the chair, no attention span) From the day she got there, she tried to get out of the bed and wheelchair. I think she puts her legs over and just rolls out because she isn't strong enough to get to her feet and stand up.
Could it be that as long as she is semi lucid and will eat a little and drink a little without choking, so they don't put her out completely? I think they have tried to give her some quality of life and mental stimulation, moving her across from the nurses station to watch people when she is awake. Left in bed she struggles to get up, throws her blankets off, etc.

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