One day hospice... the next week he is better!

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Last week my dad (92 with advanced dementia) came down with aspiration pneumonia. We all thought it was the end. He was on oxygen and antibiotics. We couldn't even wake him up. The nursing home held a 'family meeting' and we agreed it was time for Hospice or comfort care measures.


Fast track to today... 7 days later. I go to the Nursing Home and he is sitting in his wheelchair in the dining room waiting for lunch to be served!! He actually recognized me and asked me if I brought my mother with me. I fed him half his lunch and half his drink. Most I've seen him eat in 7 days. I brought him outside and he commented that it was 'a nice day today'. He fell asleep within about 10 minutes but this was the best I've seen him in months! Usually he is totally confused, distant & doesn't talk or doesn't make sense.


I am shocked by this turnaround. It is such a rollercoaster to one day think it is their last and then the next day they seem almost normal again! This past week has been up and down but today was definitely an UP day. I'm almost afraid that from here it goes down quick again. Every single day I just don't know what to expect.


Don't get me wrong... I'm happy to see him in a good mood and feeling better, but it's just such a shock to the system. I mean...we were discussing end of life last week! Anyone have this happen to their loved one? I'm glad I had a nice visit today but I'm afraid to be happy about this change.

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Today I started applying for hospice care for my 89 year old husband. He was in the hospital for diarrhea and a kidney stone that they discovered in the ER. He was transferred to a nursing home seven days ago for rehab and a chance to get stronger. He sleeps all the time (he slept as long as you would let him at home, too). He has to be roused for PT (I don't yet know what's happening there) and to eat. He is continent. He doesn't want to eat. Drinking goes better, as does fruit. He hates his plate food, so we supplement. I know he wouldn't eat at all if we didn't come to visit at lunch and supper. As soon as he can he asks if he can go back too sleep. His caregiver has gotten a little more action out of him at noon. They even played bingo yesterday. Last night he was very tired and went back to sleep right away. I figured that I had seen the last of any good days and times. Now I won't be so shocked if we suddenly have a good day. Thank you so much!
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I'm so sorry to hear about that. Yes that happens a lot to the elderly. You just have to be ready for the possible outcomes that might happen to him.
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Thank you for all the replies.  It's good to know that I'm not the only one experiencing this.  Not that I want others to go through this, but just comforting that I'm not alone.

My dad isn't eating that much and sleeping a lot.  They put him back on oxygen too.  If I ask him a question he might answer though.  I asked if he was cold and he said No, not cold.   Just never know what to expect when I go to see him.  Either he's in bed or he's in his wheelchair spaced out or sleeping.

It is just such an emotional rollercoaster.   I leave there in tears thinking this is it and then the next day he seems a bit more with it.  I really think we are coming to the end though... esp now that he is eating about 3 small spoons of food at each meal, spaced out, can barely move, doesn't speak unless you ask him a yes or no question, sleeping more...

I can't stand seeing him like this.  It is absolutely heartbreaking.
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Sounds like my dad who just passed away from ALZ just after his 93 birthday. Same thing, seemed like things were terrible, then he rebounded, then bad, then rebounded. I think that's how it goes. Finally he passed, probably thankfully.
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Infections can cause dementia to appear or worsen.

Once the infection is addressed, and proper nutrition restored the elder can improve vastly.

My grandfather lived four years after his first hospice stay. He was released and we used his money for good home health-care aides because he wanted to stay in his home.

Those four years were good for him and he died suddenly while the aides were present in his home.
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Yes, it could be called "The Last Hurrah." I've seen it many times when you witness the very critically ill patient have one last sudden burst of energy before they pass. This didn't happen to either of my parents, though. My dad passed from a sudden coronary attack. My mother had a stroke that left her comatose.
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in June, my mother quit eating, and mostly quit drinking, for eight days. Quit talking. Slept and slept. Dr said to call all family and we put her on hospice. Four days later she got much better, and now she’s eating in dining room at nursing facility three times a day. She smiles a lot! She has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t remember any of it. About once a week or so, she quits eating again for three or four days. I keep telling myself it’s her “rally” but now I believe she’s going to be around a while! She celebrated her 89th bday on July 12th. My out of state brother probably thinks I’m crazy for telling him she was dying! Oh well, he hasn’t traveled the three hours to see her in three years, so I won’t concern myself with him. By the way, our father shares a room with her. He’s 94.
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Its called rallying. My daughter sees this all the time. The patient is at deaths door then they get a boost of energy. Eat well. Then a few days later they pass. Not that the passing will happen with Dad, but just explaining why this happens.
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Yes, we went thru it too with my mom. She was good, she was not. She was up, she was down. In hospital, good back home, oh oh back we go. Some changes were like the flick of a switch.

Like everything else hard in life, take it one day at a time.

You've worried enough for three lifetimes or more I'm sure. As long as you're not in denial give yourself a break.

Good day? Enjoy it!
Laugh, sing, whatever...
You both deserve whatever happiness you can find together.

These moments are precious.
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Enjoy the good days.

My Mother-in-law was diagnosed with liver cancer and only had a few months at most to live.
Everytime the doctor(s) were ready to discharge her, things would turn around and she'd have to stay in the hospital.

I told my husband that I thought she just enjoyed the attention because I was going to the hospital everyday and it was just weird how this would keep happening.

She was diagnosed in July, placed in the hospital on Columbus day weekend, died on Veterans day. This was like 30 years ago.

Just enjoy, celebrate with him on those days. Don't feel guilty about it. Don't question yourself.

It is what it is and you know what is coming. I've read and listened to doctors that this is a normal thing that happens and things will be coming to an end.

It's like they know and want to leave knowing they are making you happy before you have to deal with the next phase.
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