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It took me years and years to finally learn about my sig-other's relatives' life, who had passed on decades ago. All anyone would talk about was the funeral. For years, all I heard was the funeral, who went, who didn't go, what food was served afterwards, the burial site, the funeral home, etc. Yes, death is a milestone, but there were many more wonderful milestone that some how got erased in so many minds.
Hospice is wonderful.
First I am nurse, second I had Melanoma 23 yrs ago. Very familiar with it. He was not taking chemo it does not work for Melanoma. They use immune therapy and radiation. My mom is a nurse and was present through most of the year with him. He was having progress and we both spoke with neurologist and saw the last MRI. He became more disabled from the radiation and his wife did not want him like that. As she said to my face, also Melanoma treatment has come a long way and not a death sentence anymore when it spreads. He had more time and it was not his wish to die without food or water. He wanted to be home with his son. I understand when someone is on their deathbed, he was not.
I don't see this as the fault of Hospice. Maybe by the time they got him he was transitioning. Morphine and other drugs are given for comfort. Water and food is stopped because the body is shutting down. If the family felt there was foal play they should have paid for an autopsy. Melanoma kills. Very few survive it especially when it hits the brain. All chemo was doing was extending his life. Unless u were there 24/7 and were able to talk to the doctors you really have no idea what was going on. Maybe your brother wanted to fight, but chemo no longer was working.
*I* was the one who gave mom the morphine, the Haldol and the Ativan. Hospice only made those drugs available to me for use to give my mother COMFORT at the end.
On the first day I started mom on the EOL comfort meds, I had left her alone for 1/2 an hour to go and take a shower. I asked her before I went "How're you doing mom? You OK if I go to take a shower?" She answered me "Yup, I'm fine. Go take your shower, I won't go anywhere" (she said that last with a smile at me).
In that mere 1/2 an hour time, by the time I got back to her, she had a look of ABJECT TERROR on her face... I asked her "Mom, what's wrong?" She said to me "Something is wrong, I don't feel so good..." She was gasping for breath. I could see her heart pounding against her chest. She was going through oxygen starvation. She was beginning her "transition".
Thank God I had the meds from hospice on hand! I just said to her "Don't worry, mom, hospice gave me the medicine for you for this" and started her on the combination of drugs to calm her and ease her breathing. It only took about 20 minutes for her breathing to calm, and she put her feet up and went to sleep. It was 4 days until she actually passed, but it was peaceful. She never had that horrible look on her face again. Ever.
If you don't want to engage hospice for yourself or your LO, that's fine, but please. Stop spewing this nonsense about "hospice kills". I get when people are in deep grief, they are looking for someone to blame, but enough is enough with this.
I myself would feel far guiltier if I had allowed my mother to suffer needlessly, rather than take the extremely low chance that hospice care - EOL comfort care - might - MIGHT - slightly lessen my mother's life. If I had had to see that look on my mother's face for the duration of those last 96 hours of her life, I would never be able to get it out of my head.
@LivinginTX: Like someone else mentioned, hospice means no more doctors, just comfort. I don't think they should have "stopped" her food if she was fine eating. That part I don't agree with. Also sometimes doctors give a broader time span, they told my father 6 months...it was 6 weeks!! The day we received the news from the oncologist about how bad it was, they told me we should look into hospice. I was like, "he's not ready for that." That was on a Thursday. The following Monday, I had called hospice. It can change at any moment. He had esophageal cancer. It's just a guess. Everyone is different and depending on the type of cancer and the aggressiveness of it. Sounds like she might have had lung cancer mentioning the fluid build up. What I am learning from that is that they give you morphine to help with the cough as well as pain and let nature take its course. Your Aunt I assume is elderly? Age makes a difference too. My mother being 88 yrs old, there was no other option, too old to try anything else. Now with my mother, I am well versed on how it works and take it one day at a time. Tomorrow is never promised.
If you still feel your Aunt was "killed" by hospice, did you call the police? If not, why not?
You mentioned that you would not want hospice for yourself. Please get that in writing, signed and notarized, and let your family members know of your wishes.
My dad was given several months to a year, and once he left the room, I asked the doctor how long did he really have. The answer -- "Maybe a month."
Dad died six weeks to the day after his cancer diagnosis.
Doctors can't predict how fast cancer will move, nor do they know how a person's body will shut down with all the other factors involved. Some of them choose to give a time frame in part to give the patient some hope, while others will be forthright. My dad's doctor chose to give my dad some hope, but I made it clear I wanted the truth because I could handle it and was going to be responsible for caring for him. We were both satisfied with our responses from the doctor.
Your aunt is fortunate that the hospice nurse understood the purpose of morphine better than you do. Imagine the pain she'd have been in without it.
To me it's not about thinking my Aunt was going to improve. She wasn't. She was going to die. But she was still 'with it' and enjoyed life. I know she was scared, but wanted to continue living. She was not in any pain except when they drained her tube. She loved to eat and was able to until hospice showed up and cut off the food.
People can die naturally. They don't have to be hastened into it by people who think they are 'suffering'. I'm pretty certain my Aunt suffered more than had she been able to die naturally.
So I'm saying Hospice does in fact kill. I wasn't expecting my Aunt to live, but I wasn't expecting her to be denied the basic things that kept her alive.
WE don't want to accept that our LO's are dying, and when it seems that as soon as they are on Hospice, they pass, we immediately want to place blame.
I personally do not want to outlive my usefulness here on this earth, and I MOST assuredly don't want to 'hang around' b/c my family doesn't want to 'let go of me'. My kids know what I want at my EOL, and it isn't heroic measures to keep my 'going' when I am done with my life here.
I have seen people do things that are seriously just barbaric to keep a LO alive when they are obviously suffering, and dying from cancer or whatever.
I'm truly sorry for your pain, but your LO was in the active stages of dying. You did them a favor by allowing Hospice to do what they do. When you have worked through the 'anger' stage of grief, I hope you can come to a state of peace.
I know many people feel hospice hastened death. I feel it is often driven by grief as I think it is rare for hospice to intentionally kill someone.
You are grieving and anger comes with that. Really, how involved were you in Moms prognosis? As said stage 4 cancer there is little hope for survival. And the pain! There is no way your Mom didn't feel pain. And who was in charge of Moms care? If she was lucid enough, she was. She determined how much pain meds she needed. Alva, an RN, can confirm this, there comes a time when the body, no matter how much oxygen is given, doesn't absorb it. The cells that are suppose to be carrying it throughout the body just can't do their job anymore. An the antipsychotic drugs, when the brain does not get enough oxygen, it hallucinates and if these hallucinations are causing anxiety, then meds are given.
Hospice has nothing to do with what happens to the body after it dies. What they have is information on the Funeral Home and they call them to pick up the body. Someone in your family had to tell the Funeral Director what they wanted. A regular service or cremation of the body. Hospice nor the AL make burial decisions.
Hospice means comfort care. It means the person wants no extreme measures to save their life. No doctor visits, no hospital visits, no immunology treatments. Just comfort care. And, morphine is given for ease if breathing not just pain. If your Mom was competent then she had to sign off for the care. If not, then her DPOA would have to sign off.
I have a feeling you weren't the one making the decisions for Moms care. I also have a feeling you may not have been told how serious her condition was. Or, you were in denial?
I think your anger is misplaced. Be angry that she died but don't be angry at Hospice because they didn't do what you felt was needed. And don't be angry at the person that had to make the decisions. That person made decisions based on the information they received. Unless Mom was incompetent, she had to make the decision to have Hospice come in and by doing that she new her days were numbered.
My deepest condolences on the loss of your mother. You sound like a person who is in terrible pain. I am so sorry for your suffering.
Your mother must have been a great person to be so sorely grieved and missed.
You say in your profile that she had Stage 4 lung cancer and that disease can be unpredictable. Right in my own family I've seen just how unpredictable. A good day can go fast into a very bad night and then dead. It was her time. No one can live forever and we are all bound for eternity. Hospice was not responsible for cremating her. Someone filled out paperwork with the arrangements for what would be done with your mother's body.
I'm not a person who will much sing the praises of hospice care especially when done in the home, but they did not murder your mother. How much more life do you think she could have had? She couldn't recover from Stage 4 lung cancer. Maybe she could have suffered a few more days or weeks in pain and fear without all the medication. She is beyond all pain and suffering now and has gone to God's peace and mercy.
I hope you can find some peace and comfort for yourself. Maybe a bereavement group for people who have lost loved ones to cancer would be a help to you. God bless you.
The most helpful, compassionate care.
Her Mom, 88, cancer spread and noting but excruciating pain started about a month ago.
Even though hospice was doing everything possible, as they could not get pain under control they transferred her to hospital.
Morphine and other meds did almost nothing at the end, her Mom chose herself to be euthanized, her Mom died peacefully about 3 weeks ago. Point is, good thing she could choose herself.
Sorry for your loss, but your rage is completely misplaced and in reality is grief. Please get grief counseling.