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Three times in the past month, I thought I was saying goodbye to my mother. Both times she has bounced back ( at a lower level, but amazingly well). She went into the hospital following an episode where she was unresponsive. She was diagnosed with severe dehydration and failure to thrive (in addition to dementia). Hospice came in because the doctor said that this would not get any better and she returned to the ALF. 2 weeks later, she began vomiting blood (lots of blood). The hospice nurse came. Mom was resting then the vomiting began again. The nurse told me Mom was passing. She had no pulse, but I talked to her as she sat unconscious and bleeding. After about 30 seconds, she opened her eyes and she was back. She then had two falls and a small seizure, but she didn't break anything. Last week when I visited her, she was in bed, totally unresponsive. The aide at the ALF was crying because she was sure this was the end. Mom bounced back again. Now she is using a walker and her speech is different, but she is talking and joking and still getting herself dressed in the mornings. This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. She is down to 75 pounds and eats almost nothing. I am exhausted, but happy to still have her. I just don't know how she keeps "coming back" when it seems to be the end and don't know what to expect from one day to the next. Have you experienced this?

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This must be incredibly hard on you. As you say, you're glad she's alive and doing okay, but this repeated near death situation is dreadful.

My mother-in-law had several near-fatal seizures. Though her recoveries weren't as dramatic as your mother's, she did pull through. One day I got a call and another was in progress. I had the stomach flu and didn't dare go near anybody, so I just hoped this would be another recovery. It wasn't. I still feel bad (if I let myself) that I didn't go up to sit with her.

My point is that one of these times will be your mother's last. She can't physically keep this up. A rally before death is very common, but she seems to be setting records. Keep us posted and try to take care of yourself. It's very possible that she may slip away when you aren't there. If so, please, please don't blame yourself.
Carol
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I don't have an answer to your question, but just a empathetic feeling of how hard this must be for you. The emotional ups and downs are difficult enough when our loved ones are stable and steady, so this near death experience over and over must be excruciating for you to experience. My thoughts are with you and your mom...
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Your experience makes me think that there is something your Mother needs/wants to do. Are there any friends she needs to see? Any relationships that need to be reconciled? Are you clear with her?

My Mom has not had such dramatic experiences like your mom, but one strange thing my Mom has recently done is started talking much more than the past year. Granted her thoughts are random and sentences more often than not don't make sense, but she is trying to communicate and engage. I hold her hand, hug her, and try to converse with her.

Treasure each moment.
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Thanks for all the kind words. The only thing that I know is unreconciled is her desire to go home. She never stops talking about it and planning for when she can go. Her home is 75 miles from me and the ALF that she resides in. This is something that I cannot help her reconcile. In the past few weeks, more people from "home" have been visiting her and she seems to really enjoy seeing them. She often asks about her mother, then remembers that she has passed, which makes her very sad. I just came from visiting her and she was dressed, with makeup on, napping on the couch. She is so frail. I took her three new tops that I had gotten for her and I organized her closet. I try to keep things as normal as possible, but my insides are in a turmoil. She is tough and amazing...I want to be just like her when I grow up :)
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An update on Mom. She continues to have a couple of really good days and then seems to have a traumatic episode. Yesterday, I was called because she was complaining that her hand was hurting and the staff was unsure if she had fallen and whether she had broken anything. They called the Hospice Nurse too. When I arrived, Mom was completely out of it and I couldn't understand anything she was saying. She was hallucinating and kept mumbling about family members who had passed away. When I tried to help her move to her recliner, I almost had to carry her. Keep in mind, just the day before she was walking the hallways without a walker or assistance. When the nurse came, she found no evidence of broken bones. I really believe that she had a stroke of some sort. Today, she is staying in bed (my mom doesn't stay in bed) and I haven't been able to talk to her. I will stop by after work and check on her. This roller coaster ride just continues.
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Boy your mom really hangs in there...I know how hard this is on you. We're here with you...
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Mom fell again yesterday and broke her hip. She is not strong enough for surgery so the only thing is to manage her pain. I have been so strong, but had a mini breakdown today. It is so sad that I can't do anything to make her better. I hate knowing that she is now bed-ridden and may or may not be in intense pain. This is really hard.
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Death is a process. We are all somewhere in it from the day we are born. Evidently your mother has a strong love of life and will to live, but the process is winning. How wonderful she has a daughter like you to be with her. I am truly sad for you.
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abby, sorry to hear about your Mom, can't she have a Spinal to do the surgery and not go under general anesthesia? My Mom had hers done at 86 . If not, just make sure she is on pain meds, someone needs to advocate for her, poor thing, Good Luck! btw my mom is 91 now and they said she would never walk, she sure did, she danced. Now, since her stroke 2+ years ago she cant now, her dementia is taking over.
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Wow...your Mom describes the word "determined", doesn't she? No matter how much we prepare ourselves for the inevitable, it's got to be hard knowing it may (or, in your Mom's case, may not) be around the corner. Hang in there...
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