Are the doctors giving up too early on my mum?

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I moved my mum in with me some weeks ago as she was needing more care, she has Alzheimers, her mobility was declining, but she was ok eating and drinking and sometimes able to wash and dress herself. Anyway on wed 29 th june we brought gp out as she was really struggling to stand up and her left leg was still larger than her right one (she had cellulitis) about 6 weeks ago. gp said everything fine but if the swelling didn't go down by monday 4 th July we should call them out again, anyway on fri 1st july district nurse came and took bloods, we then received a phone call from gp asking us to take mum to a clinic for leg scan as her bloods were raised, we did this but they couldn't find a clot so took mum home, she ate a plateful of shephers pie, peas and gravy followed by fruit salad and condensed milk and cup of tea (all by herself) she then washed up and i dried before settling down to watch tv (with sweets) we were chatting, although sometimes she cant find the right words, got mum settled in bed at around 11 pm. Mum woke to go toilet at 3.10 am and asked me if i would like her to make me a cup of tea, i declined and got mum settled back in bed, i got up at 7 am and made mums breakfast, took it through to her but couldn't wake her up, she was running a fever so i called 999 who rushed her to hospital, she had sepsis, then developed pnuemonia, the doctor also said she had a clot but another leg also didn't reveal anything. she was put on a ward and given fluids and antibiotics. on wed and particularly thurs 7th july she was more her usual self, eating, drinking and laughing and being cheeky to the nurses, we were so happy, but was short lived as on friday we tried with help from a nurse to sit her in a chair but she couldn't weight bear, she has since started to decline rapidly, they did head scan yesterday and have now taken her off drip as she can no longer eat/drink she is aware of our presence and opwened her eyes slightly ansd smiled a little but doctors have said she is just giving up. my question is, is this really the Alzheimers as i think the doctors don't believe what she was like the day before being admitted. One thing we did notice was that my mums tongue was black and this was mentioned to the nurses along with other things, however this morning as the nurse was carrying out oral care she noticed my mums tongue bleeding in the centre was a 10 pence piece size of like an ulcer, could this be why my mum gradually stopped eating on the fri, i may be clutching at straws but i would hate for my mum to die of dehydration when it is just a sore tongue. Desperate

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Caroline, it seems there are a number of issues involved. I think it would help if you could get a copy of the hospital records but just as importantly have frank discussions with the treating physicians, especially those who have treated your mother for longer periods of time.

There are a lot of variables, and it's really gambling to get the kind of information you seek without frank discussions with the physicians. They also need to address these issues with you if they think she's nearing a hospice state so you can get a better idea of your mother's situation.

The doctors need to be upfront with you about your mother's condition and the possibilities for treatment and/or recovery.
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I think my understanding changed when I started reading a lot about terminal conditions like dementia. I learned about how often in the later stages, the body starts having trouble with infections. You might treat it with medication, but it will return to a different place and it continues. You may be able to keep treating aggressively, but it may not be enough.

I agree with the poster above. What did your mom say about how she wanted to be handled medically in a case like this. I'm so glad I had this conversation with my cousin over the years and she did not want to suffer that way, so I know her wishes now that she can no longer say.

Her black tongue could be any number of things. You could seek a diagnosis. It could be a reaction to medication, anemia, cancer, etc. I would try to keep her comfortable. Would you seek treatment for cancer? Treating a dementia patient for cancer can be problematic.

I looked into Palliative Care, which is to keep the patient comfortable. Is that something that they have discussed with you? It sounds like you must be in the UK. ?? I realize it must be so upsetting.
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When the body begins to decline the rate of decline can be very VERY rapid particularly if there are problems. Your Moms body is doing all sorts of things to try to heal itself and it is like us trying to do 20 things at once, you don't do any well.
Her body is trying to keep it self functioning. This means the heart, lungs and brain. Those are the important 3. So anything that takes energy away from that task will be "put on hold" This is why the rate of healing is so very slow in elderly in general but particularly those with dementia. Your Mom's body is trying to deal with a lot and something has to give in or wait. Problem is things get worse as time goes.
I don't think it is the doctors that are giving up I think it is your Mom's body is under a lot of stress and the body is giving up.
At this point keep her as comfortable as she can be, if she is able to heal great. Offer water, ice chips and anything else she can tolerate.
Please resist a feeding tube.
Or if you really want one for a trial period decide how long you will keep it. If your Mom is able to make a decision like this ask her how she feels. If she is unable to make a decision you need to ask yourself..What would she really want.. would she want to live on a machine, what is the quality of her life now and what might it be in a month, 2 months or longer.
Tough decisions.
Think what is best for Mom. "We" can be selfish and we do not want to loose a loved one but what would she want? what would you want if you were in the same position?
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