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Hello everyone, I'm new here. My mother-in-law is 84 and broke her hip six months ago. Despite going through rehab, she has declined dramatically since then and went from 106 lbs. to 81 lbs. She is about 5' 2". We are caring for her at home and she is in hospice. She has been eating and drinking a little bit this past summer but now for the past week, I've noticed there is almost nothing in her diapers. Sorry if this is TMI but I'm only seeing about a half cup of urine in her diaper every other day. Does anyone here have any insight on how long she can survive like this? Thank you for any help or insight.

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Thank you again everyone. I just wanted to check back in to say that my mother-in-law ended up passing away the first week in November. We are taking it one day at a time. She stopped taking any fluids whatsoever about three days before she passed. She was in pain the last two days so we increased her morphine and that is what ended up helping her to let go. A curious thing happened though -- she had a great deal of fluid in her diaper those last several days. The nurse said that it was her body, dumping fluids from her organs. She said it is unusual for that to happen but it does happen in some cases. Just passing this along in case anyone else notices that their loved one is not drinking ANYTHING whatsoever, yet is urinating a great deal. It is a sign the end is very near. Best of luck and best wishes to everyone and God bless.
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My husband , toward the end with lung cancer on top of recurrent lymphoma, got to where he would spit back everything he tried to eat or drink. He was in the hospital; they tried a feeding tube and he pulled it right out. After a week, I came in early in the morning and found them moving him to an observation unit next to ICU because he had become unresponsive; he faded away that evening. We were able to notify family; his siblings came and couldn't take it; we had the room full of our kids and grandkids and a lot of nieces and nephews.
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Just hugs to you as you go through this painful process. Someone from hospice needs to clue your husband in that the end is very near..he needs to start processing it, so if he has anything to say to his mom, he gets it said while she's still here. Hugs...
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I agree. I am waiting to hear back from the hospice nurse!
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Cloudy, you need to talk to the Hospice nurses about ALL of this. And the Hospice SW about the best way to talk to your husband.
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Whoops I hit the "post comment" button too soon. What I meant to say at the end was, I'm afraid that this is going to hit him like a ton of bricks when she passes away. I'm wondering if he is even making the connection between all of those people coming to the house today. They all came at once because, hello, she's down to 71 pounds. Of course that got their attention.
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We had several hospice visits today. The case worker, the nurse, the chaplain, the social worker. I was not here. My husband tells me they just came to check on her and make sure we have everything we need.

I asked him if there was any discussion about putting her in the hospice house or what her prognosis is for life expectancy at this point.

And he said very casually, "No. It's not like her death is imminent or anything. When her time is coming closer, then I'm sure we'll have that discussion."

So I just sat there in stunned silence, because I didn't know how to say to him: "Sweetie. She's 71 POUNDS. What do you mean, 'it's not like her death is imminent or anything'?????"

He has to be in denial. How could you look at a 71 pound woman and make a statement like that?

I am afraid to bring this up with him because I don't want to be the 'bad guy' who tells him that his mother is probably going to die any day now. Yet at the same time I'm worried for him. I don't know if he understands what is happening.

I'm still in shock over how casually he said that, like it was nothing.

I've called the hospice nurse and left a message for her. At the rate I'm going, I'm going to be the one who needs counseling. I feel like I'm losing my marbles!!!!

I don't want to interfere. It's his mother.
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I don't have any experience in this, however, I wonder if your husband really understands what is going on with his mom. It sounds like he may not fully comprehend how near the end she is and that somehow if he continues with this routine of dressing her and taking her to the dining table, that she might continue to live. I'm just speculating. If he fully understood that what he's doing might make him feel better, he may reconsider.

What do the hospice workers say about it?
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Thank you for answering, everyone. This is actually my mother-in-law, my own mother passed away from cancer many years ago. I was not here today when the hospice people came to weigh her. My husband has taken time off from work and he is with her during the day when I go to my part-time job. I checked her diaper pail from when the home health nurse was here this morning to give her a bath. It appeared there was close to 1 cup of urine in the diaper this time, which surprised me. I haven't seen that much urine come out of her in one day since Thursday of last week, basically a week ago. Not to be gross but it is bright, dark brown which I know is a sign of severe dehydration.

It's awful to keep the watch over her like this. Last night when I tucked her in bed I felt like I needed to say good-bye. I didn't say the words because I didn't want to risk upsetting her, or upsetting my husband if he was within earshot. So I gently stroked her hair and kissed her on the cheek. It hurts my heart to see her like this.

I have a question for you all. Since she is now down to 71 pounds and severely dehydrated, should my well meaning husband be taking her out of bed every day and putting her in the wheelchair to take her to the kitchen to see if she wants a sip of water or a bite of soft food such as pudding? She is so tiny and frail now that I am afraid her bones will break if we keep moving her around. I don't want to upset my husband but he is doing the best he can. If it were up to me we would keep her in bed. But it's not my mom, it's his mom, and I'm trying to respect that he is coping with this the best he can. He says we need to put her in the wheelchair so she doesn't get compression sores, but honestly she is just wasting away to nothing.

She is still strong enough to hold her head up while sitting in the wheelchair. But she just sits there and continues to refuse to eat or drink. He keeps offering something to her in case she says yes and eventually she will take a sip or a bite of something.

Just to recap, she's 71 lbs., she's peeing basically about a half cup per day (except today when there was a little more), and she hasn't had a #2 for over two weeks now. Should we stop getting her out of bed at this point?

My husband also wants me to dress her in a T-shirt and pants every day but I've been telling him I think it is too much for her to go through that. He says he needs her to be wearing pants because it gives him something to hold onto when he pulls her out of bed and puts her in the wheelchair.

I think sticking to the old routine is making him feel better, like he's helping his mom by getting her out of bed. But I'm wondering if I should say something to him about it or ask the hospice nurse to speak with him about it. What do you guys think?
I have a quest
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Look for the Good, My brother passed away at home just 2 months ago and I was staying with him when the sent him home on Hospice, as well as a few other family members, just three days before he died we took him out to a car show for about 45 minutes, but I was there with him when hospice finally put him into bed the next day, and once he was in bed he went to sleep, and in 3 days he just stopped breathing. He was diagnosed with throat cancer stage 4. I still have a hard time with this, so it aint easy, Just hang in there it just aint easy…….
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Cloudy you are close, very close. Watch for raspy breathing, it sounds like snoring but it is in the throat, like a wet snore. Urine gets dark like coffee. Call in your angels to guide you. Use the meds, they are her best comfort right now. Go outside and cry. I did.
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I was glad to see your update Cloudyskies, but sorry that you are going through this. You did say your mom is on pain meds, so she must be comfortable.

What do the Hospice workers say? They have so much experience with these situations. Can they offer you any estimate of time?

Prayers for you and your family. I'll be thinking of you.

Where was your mom staying before Hospice was called? Was she in a NH or ALF?
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Hospice came today and weighed her again. She is down to 71 pounds. That means she has lost 10 lbs. just in the past month alone.
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I feel like I am just existing from day today. This morning, almost one cup of fluid in her diaper. She is still lucid, but physically is getting much weaker if that makes any sense. She has a very unhappy expression on her face most of the time. The corners of her mouth are turned down. The expression in her eyes looks painful. We have her on pain meds. In addition we just found out my husband has blockage in his carotid arteries and is going to need surgery and two days in the hospital. When it rains it pours.
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I hope and pray it is not too long.
My experiences with friend's parent this year was about 5 days, they only gave him gelled water (he would choke on any amount of liquid water). Maybe they called it thickened water. Whatever, was all he tolerated.
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Thank you for your comment, hadenough. This morning she had approximately 1/2 cup of fluid in her diaper. Tonight it is bone dry again. She seemed very unhappy when I saw her a few minutes ago. I feel so bad for her. When I rolled her over to change her diaper, she could barely stay on her side. She is so weak.
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We took my father out of the hospital and put on hospice because that was his wish and we did not want to use artificial means of support. We choose not to do IV hydration and offered him sips of fluids every hour. It was about 3 weeks until he passed and I know what you mean about becoming more lucid. The body and brain do strange things towards the end. From my experience once my father was no longer taking fluids it was about 72 hours. He had stopped eating about 2 weeks before he stopped taking fluids. I know how difficult end of life stuff gets and there seems to be no way thru it except one day at a time. The last 2 days of my Fathers life he just slept, then he stopped breathing. It was challenging especially for my Mother but he died peacefully with no one beating on his chest to bring him back for more agony. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time. To me it was like time just was standing still for those weeks and I felt like I was walking around in a fog. That was grief and it did lift after a while and I was just glad we were able to bring him home where he wanted to die.
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Sunflo, it looks like you and I were posting at the same time. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. It is helping me to understand that our time may be shorter than I had realized. I do want to make the most of whatever time we have left. Thank you for your suggestion about the popsicles.
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Thank you for responding, everyone. Yes, we are beyond exhausted and emotionally drained from this whole process.

She was on death's doorstep when she got out of skilled nursing/rehab following the hip break --- very dehydrated,extremely weak. Couldn't even hold her head up. This summer we pampered her and gave her lots of TLC and she seemed to be doing better. She was eating quite well just a month or so ago.

I have been growing more alarmed over the past week, because about a week ago she just started to shut down and all of a sudden I'm not seeing anything in the diaper.

I have a feeling this is "it," but I'm confused as to how long she could continue to survive like this with only about a half cup of fluids every other day or so.

The odd thing is that she seems more lucid these past several days. Again, this confuses me. I would think that lack of food and water would cause her to sleep. Instead she appears wide awake and almost alert. She looks around the room with her eyes open.

If anyone has any insight or experience with this (elderly dehydration and its effects as the patient approaches death), I would love to hear. Thank you.
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My father lasted about 10 days taking a few sips of a drink a day. He stopped eating about 5 days before that. I would take droppers and drop a few drops into his mouth and a wet washcloth or sponge to his lips. His urine tapered off --he had catheter and his urine turned dark and viscuous.

So sorry for you. Offer her Popsicles or those frozen pedialyte sticks. Let her eat whatever she feels like, nutrition doesn't matter at his point. Enjoy time together.
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Once she stops eating and drinking, about a week. Then she will sleep most of the time. Thank you for caring about her.
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I forgot to add, she has dementia and is having a lot of trouble with swallowing. She is still strong enough that most days we are able to get her into the wheelchair and we take her to the kitchen and put different foods in front of her and help her by putting the spoon to her lips. We are not force feeding her but we encourage her to take a bite of something or a sip of something. If she wants it, we help her eat. But she's eating and drinking almost nothing at this point.
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