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Dad had heart attack a week ago and has gone downhill fast.Had family members here for 3 days and they kept waking Dad up each time he mumbled or shifted in bed. When he would "grab" at the air they would hold his hand and even if he went to make more "gestures" they didn't let go. They haven't seen him in 17 months. He sleeps with eyes open now and every time they walked in the house they said "good morning!" when he was actually asleep and woke him up. This went on for 3 days and today Dad has been sleeping a long time. He finally went to sleep last night around 730pm and it is now 130pm the next day. He wakes & tries to get out of bed to go to bathroom though he wears adult "diapers" and is in a hospital bed in living room. I can change him and give him more morphine (liquid as he can't swallow pills due to sleepiness) and he goes right back to sleep. His breathing is very shallow and his heart is making a swishing sound, no thumping. I feel sorry for him just lying there and wonder if this is his "time" to take care of his unfinished business. I am going to call Hospice to make sure I am doing what I can for him but I am also checking to see if anyone else has any information that may be helpful.

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My Dad had a stroke two weeks ago. We were supposed to have lunch. I went into the locked house and could tell that he hadn't been up yet. I immediately knew something was wrong. I looked in his bedroom and he wasn't in bed. As I was leaving his room to search for him, I heard a moan. He had fallen out of the other side of his bed. He had a stroke. After a 5 day hospital stay, I brought him to my home to die. He could hear everything that was said. He could squeeze my hand or nod his head until the last two days. I couldn't feed him because he aspirated. He couldn't take water so all I could do is wet his lips. I felt helpless. I felt guilty because my Father was starving to death and dying of thirst. The Hospice Nurse said I was doing just fine, but it doesn't make me feel any better. He died, and was buried exactly two weeks to the day of having the stroke. On the last day he reached upward several times. I didn't know what that meant. His eyes were closed all of the time by then, so I assume he had an inner eye that could see something that I couldn't. When the Hospice Nurse came to pronounce him, I told her about my Father reaching upwards. She told me I was so lucky to witness a miracle. She said she feels he was reaching for an angel or a loved one that was there for him. She said she had witnessed many end of life miracles. It was a true blessing to have my Father spend his last days with me. I got to tell him things that I had never told him before. I know he heard me.
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I haven't been spending much time here on AC. As I was scrolling down the list of Questions and the poster's name, I was surprised that you posted this. So, I clicked on it and realized how so close to the end your father was. DH, I'm so glad that you and your father shared such closeness. And that you were there with him all the way to the end, helping and comforting him. {{HUGS}}
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Thank you for sharing the most intimate details of your life with such grace and love. I know we all hope for such a beautiful ending in our hearts amd to have the strength and courage you have shown. Hopefully you have had the time to rest and the support or space you need to go through the loss of your father yourself. Were still here to listen as its all still the journey of what we are or will be going through one day. Blessings Dadshelper.
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DadsHelper, I just read your post, it was so emotional reading your words. I let go of so many tears, hearing the love in your words for your dear Father. I have just brought my Dad to the state I live in 5 weeks ago..he is doing well. Assisting others in the memory care, pushing a gentleman in a wheel chair, getting a chair for an elderly lady..it's been so surreal seeing my Dad in this place, he's so sweet and more peaceful. It's the first time my Mom & Dad have been apart for 61 yrs as their anniversary will be Oct. 10th. I will be moving Dad next Monday to an Assisted Living Facility very close in our hometown as they have a room available. I have learned so much reading everyone's postings here..especially yours. Each night I'm exhausted still raising kids, but I'm drawn to this site. It's been good knowing I'm not alone. You are an outstanding example of a devoted daughter. Thank you for allowing us to share in this moment, your Dad is smiling upon you.
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To all of you: I am so happy that I was able to help others with their dealings with loved ones and so very glad that the information I shared was helpful. I myself spent endless hours looking up information, asking questions and trying to do the best I could to help Dad. I appreciate all the helpful answers I was given by all of the members on this site and send love and prayers to all and praying for peace for all.
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I was wondering how you and your dad were doing. Thank you for sharing and providing the update. Your story is so touching. You are truly a brave and devoted daughter. You have my deepest condolences. I've learned so much from your posts.
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dad'shelper. You are a wonderful person as must have been your father to raise such a caring and understanding daughter.The pain of grieving is very fresh right now but so is the relief thay dad has been released from the prison his earthly body had become. Take time to rest and let others take care of the practical things that need to be done. Make sure his wishes are followed and be at peace with your own feelings. Blessings
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My sincerest condolences to you. You have shown great love and care for your dad. I hope I will be able to do what you did in his last hours with my dad, as he is in hospice now, and declining. You sound so brave. Thank you for your inspirational posts. I know your dad's spirit is very grateful for having you take such good care of him until it was time to leave this world. :) (((((Hugs)))))
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It is with a sad heart that I let you all know that my Father passed away Thursday night. It was just him and I and believe me, I am so very thankful for that! The family had left last Friday as they had jobs to get to and other family members showed up on Tuesday to say their goodbyes. It was hard for my other sister and her daughter and grandson, as it was for my daughter and son to see my dad in the shape he was in. I was used to it and was prepared for whatever was to come. I understood their not wanting to stay but was thankful they took the time to at least spend a day with Dad. His heart had stopped pumping and was just vibrating. I made sure he had his meds to keep the pain, if any, away and comforted him with words of thankfulness and love. I am so missing him but and so elated that we had that private moment where I was able to help send him off with joy in his heart!
When his time finally came, he had been bathed and hair washed and he looked so much better! I sat for several hours with him making sure he was comfortable and pain free. I made sure he knew I was there and that if he was afraid, I was there to comfort him and ease his fears. I spoke to him as if he understood, which I believe he did as I always let him know what was going on around him at all times. He was used to my voice and felt at ease when I spoke to him addressing the changing of his pants, the meds I was giving him and the activity going on in the house. I was so thankful and proud that it was him and I in those last hours as I felt that I could only gain the peace he and I needed by having those private moments together. When he passed, I held him like he was my newborn son and kept a tight grip on his hand letting him know that he would be okay and that I would be too. It was the most awesome experience I have had in a very long time. I am proud to be his daughter and words cannot express the joy I feel knowing that I helped him move on to his new adventure with ease and love in his heart. I will never forget those last hours with him nor will I ever forget how he always had my back and only wanted the best for me. He is my hero and forever will be. I miss him so much and these past 24 hours have been the hardest yet the most bittersweet that I have experienced ever! RIP Dear Dad...I shall never forget those great time we shared regardless of how stressed I became, you still kept your cool and kept me grounded. I send out loving thoughts to all of you still dealing with issues with parents, children or loved ones and hope and pray you find the solace I found in helping Dad transition from this world to the next. Peace and Love to all of you!!
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My father shed a single tear while I was with him one afternoon - and he was gone the next morning. Someone told me the single tear was 'a sign' that the end was near. I only wished I'd stayed with him through the night. So sorry for your pain & loss.
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clamoring at the air is terminal agitation . the organs are shutting down . we were told to drop liquids morphine and ativan under moms tongue in whatever amounts it took to see that she never awoke again . dont be surprised , if there are any lucid moments , the patient calls out to the most important person who existed in their life 70 yrs ago . all memories have died back to the deeply buried 70 yr old ones . a window fan directed on the patient increases the air pressure and aids breathing as effectively as o2 if not moreso . brace yourself for the discomfort of watching death by respiratory distress because that is the jist of morphine overdose and morphine overdose is the desired end result as crazy as that sounds .
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Coolies lady you and your sister were a true blessing to your mother, she must have been a very special lady.
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As usual everyone has given you good information. This is definitely the hardest thing you have to do. My Mom passed away on Easter Sunday this year. It was my sister & myself caring for her 24/7. We also would tell her alone & together that it was ok to go if she wanted. It seemed like she was waiting for something and we later realized it was for Easter. We not only held her hand, put lotion on her, combed her hair, etc. we would also lay in bed with her. Also, when hospice brought the morphine for her we were able to give it to her every hour. The last few days we opted not to force any meds on her except the Ativan, hydrocodone and the morphine to keep her comfortable. We crushed and mixed that with her favorite ice cream.
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You are a wonderful and loving daughter. God Bless you and your father
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Thank you Veronica! We do have Hospice & a DNR. Dads nurse did come by (have called her at least 3 times since Friday) and said his HR is anywhere from the 30's to the 100's. He is taking drops for the congestion (rattle) and the morphine helps too. Giving him Ativan for breathing and for anxiety and seems to work. Thought about cathether but he is so weak and urine dark that it would just risk infection. I don't think he will pass today however judging by the look in his eyes it will be soon. I am prepared as I have known this is coming. We have his bed raised and his feet with a pillow and right now all we can do is the comfort thing. I talk to him as if he is awake and hold his hand and stroke his head (which he loves!) and I let him know when I leave the room and say I will be right back. He is trying to hang in there and although I have said is it ok to go, he stays. I believe he will let me know when he is ready by a look or a certain movement...we do have a close relationship and that sure helps.
Again I sure do appreciate all your comments and all the great words and thoughts. I will rest when Dad does as this is a temporary situation and I am fine with being sleep deprived.
Love to all of you for all your kindness!!
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Dad's helper as everyone has said Dad is very close to the end. call Hospice in ASAP because it will make dealing with his death simpler. You can continue with the morphine and you should just put it very slowly along the inside of his cheek. It will make him more comfortable. You should try and change his position especially if his breathing begins to sound "bubbly" he will be more comfortable and the pressure on his back will be eased. Also raise the head of the bed a little. Some people think raising of the arms is reaching up towards heaven, Don't try and wake him but continue to speak to him and hold his hand. if you turn him you may find purple blotches on his back, this is normal. His pulse as Pam said will continue to rise and you may no longer be able to feel it at his wrist. Stop taking it and B/P there is no need. Keep his mouth moist for comfort and put vasiline on his lips and round his mouth. You can moisten his mouth with a wash cloth an if he tries to suck on it give him ice chips. Put ice cubes in a tea towel and hit them on the wall or counter to make tiny chips. You are taking the very best care of dad and he will pass very soon. People often do pass on a Sunday and often when there is no one in the room. Take care of yourself and don't be afraid to sleep You are a wonderful caregiver and Dad is lucky to have you with him. Blessings to you and Dad here or in Heaven. This kind of death is never an emergency and if you have Hospice call them when you think he has passed. If not wyou will have to call (11 and have the DNR if he has one available so they don't try CPR. Otherwise wait at least an hour before calling and tell them the time he died. Depending on where you live they will have to take him to the hospital so a Dr can confirm the death. With a DNR they can call the medical Examiner to come to the house and confirm the death. Hopefully hospice can come and save the upset of police and EMTs but you have to be enroled with hosice before they are allowed to send a nurse out. So call now if he is still with you. God bless
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Well Dad has been sleeping in the same position since 5pm yesterday, hands still clenched and hasn't moved at all. He is breathing ok, 02 was 95 w/pulse of 82 then 85/79 and this morning it was 98 w/pulse of 148. He only moaned once about 5am. Tried to adjust his head on pillow last nite but he grimaced so I left him alone. He hasn't wet his pants for 12 hours. Not sure if he is comfortable or if he is "kinked" or sore from being in that same position for so long. When I checked his 02 level he tried to pull his hand back but told him I was checking his oxygen level and he relaxed, so I know he can hear me and is sorta here. I know this process can take days yet it still breaks my heart that I am unable to assist with anything. He hasn't had his morphine or any meds for that matter since 5pm yesterday and doesn't appear to be having any discomfort. This by far is the hardest part of the process......praying for his peace and easy passing.
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My dad 'grabbed at the air' as some have said here for several days before he passed. The family thought he wanted to write something and kept handing him paper and a pen. It became clear soon enough that it was a bodily process rather than any conscious action on his part.

I would fluff and turn mom's pillows to get to "the cool side" for her. I don't know why I did that, except it was a little tiny thing I could do. I didn't move her, only covered her up. Her skin became kind of blotchy. Her little feet became very cool.

I never bothered mom while she was sleeping. I knew there was a process going on, and I didn't want to disturb it. When she passed day-before-yesterday, I went into her room to tend to her about 8 AM. It looked as if she was gone. I didn't touch her, because I knew if she hadn't passed, she was close. Didn't want to 'pull her back' -- if that was even possible. I knew hospice was coming at 9 am. So I just waited. The hospice nurse 'pronounced her' at 9:10 am.

Hang in there. Everything you've said tells us he's about done on this earthly plane, and is beginning a new and glorious journey.

Hang in there. I think he's
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Thank you Pam! Dad has been grabbing at air for days now and because he is sleeping so much today I haven't been able to give him his morphine as it is liquid and I don't want him to choke. The Ativan is dissolvable so that is easy. He barely drank water so not wetting his pants. Should I wake him for the morphine? He looks sorta uncomfortable in his bed and should I move him into a more comfortable position? As for family, they are not here anymore as they live out of state so I have a friend staying with me and has been since the heart attack last Saturday. He hasn't even tried to climb out of the bed since around 230pm today. He looks lifeless but still breathing (and snoring at times), has a mucusy cough at times and goes from cool to warm. I hold his hand for a time then leave him be as I feel he is "busy" making the transition. Again, putting a call into Hospice to check this but would like a "laymans" point of view from our readers/posters. Prayers to everyone out there with the same issue.
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My husband grabbed at the air the day before and the day he died.
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Yes it is very near. I hope you have hospice. Someone suggested "gone from my sight" on you tube by barbara karnes. It was very informative and inspiring. I believe you are very near. Courage, my prayers are with you.
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Pam what does grabbing the air mean? My mom mumbles when she is sleeping and her hands are moving quite a bit, she had them on her face this morning. You told Dadhelper that it is close. Mom has been worse the past several days. Is it getting near?
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Keep the morphine on schedule and use the Haldol if he is delirious, as in mumbling and grabbing the air. You are very close and I hope someone is there with you. If they gave you Ativan, take one as needed/prescribed. If you have an O2 or BP monitor, you will see O2 falling and heart rate picking up. About 6-8 hours near the end it is hard to get a reading at all. Call family to come and stay with you tonight. You hold his hand, but you get someone to hold yours too.
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