alault3 Asked August 2011

When do I know it’s the right time to withdraw the feeding tube from my mom?

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My mother is 53, and has been suffering with a rare form of MS for almost 15 years. In 2009 after suffering several strokes and being in a coma I made the decision to let the doctors place a PEG tube in my moms stomach. At the time I felt it was the right decision, however now I am questioning it. I am an only child and my mom and I never discussed artificial feeding before, but I didn't want to lose her. Today the doctors have changed her diagnoses from MS to "Failure to Thrive". She is alert, and talks to me, even though sometimes it makes no sense, but when she has one of her good days she tells me she wants to die, and she can't take being in a nursing home anymore. I know the nursing home is my fault as well, but I was not able to give her the specialized care that she neded and after fall after fall when I was not home, I had no choice. The doctors have told me that the only thing keeping her alive is the feeding tube. Other things have already started to shut down. I feel so conflicted because I want to do what is best for her, but at the same time I feel like I would be the one killing her. She is all I have and I know even saying that I want her here when she is telling me she is ready to go is selfish, but I don't know what to do. Do I listen to her request and stop the artifical feeding or do I let them keep feeding her and when it's her time, it's her time...

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katyanne6 Aug 2011
The point of Hpspice is to die with dignity. Dying of starvation is a peaceful death, not a painful one. If they have reached that point that they can't eat they aren't hungry and don't want to eat anyway. Will never forget a friend dying of cancer and her husband was insisting she eat. She finally told him "I can't eat!" He felt awful and had to admit he wanted her to eat to please him, knowing it would not change the eventual outcome. Her tearful reply helped him see how he was making her feel. Your Hospice should have helped you see this was the natural process and not an experiment in torture for your mom. God bless you for your loss.
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NancyH Aug 2011
After losing my mom this last April to cancer and seeing her starve to death, I know what I'd do. It's a terrible thing to watch someone die of starvation. I know that cancer was at fault for that even happening, but it was malnutrition that killed my mom before the cancer did. If she hadn't been in PAIN, or on hospice then we would've put a feeding tube in, in a heartbeat.
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tigerlily Aug 2011
That is something I hope I never have to contend with but I think sometimes it is more merciful to let someone go . Just know that our thoughts are with you and we wish that you find peace in whatever choice you make.
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jeannegibbs Aug 2011
I am certain of one thing, alault3: None of this is your fault. Not the nursing home and not the feeding tube and not the disease. You are making the best decisions you can, in love. She is dying. You have no control over that ultimate outcome. Your decision will only effect the timing, not the outcome. Whatever you decide, you will not be killing her. The disease is doing that.

I know what I would do. I know what I have pledged to do for my husband. I would honor her wishes. But if you decide not to, I would respect that and not question your judgment. This is a highly personal, emotional decision. I am sorry that you are facing it. Do your best and that will be good enough.
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stavieb Aug 2011
There is no way for me to answer your question but I did want to send love and support. It's an impossible decision but look into your heart and maybe the answer will be clearer.
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linda09 Aug 2011
oh dear . that is one hard dessions to make and ure alone in all that .
you said your mom said she s ready to die and u could honor her that . you should not feel like u have killed her , nana ,
my dad has swallowin pblms and the doc did say one day he will have a feeding tube . dad looked at me and said i do not want one . i said ok dad . so he will not have one .
i myself picture myself in thier shoes . oh pluz let me die and live my life peace . i would not want to lay there day after day , night after night , feeling pain and suffering . it is so so sad ,,,
i love my dad so much and i am not ready to see him go off to a better place but it will happen sooner or later . it is hard to let go cuz he is the only parent i have left . life goes on and it keeps a going .
big hugs to u dear . xoxo
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