Is the end near?

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My mom stopped eating. Sometimes she forgets to eat, most of the time she has no appetite and can't feel hunger, last night I took away her food that she thought she ate and liked. When I asked if she was hungry, she said "oh no, that dinner was very filling" she hasn't eaten since. She's eaten maybe 3 things in 5 days or more. She's stopped peeing almost entirely. Sleeps most of the night and a good portion of the day. This is not normal as my mom has serious back issues and usually can't lay down and sleep for more than an hour at a time, but now she seems to have no issue sleeping. She fairly lucid but does forget a great many things almost instantly, other things she remembers fine. Her legs have pretty much given out. some times she can walk, most of the time, if she's in bed, she'll sit on the edge of the bed, be unable to rise to standing and just stay sitting on the edge of the bed for hours in the dark. she's still drinking water but not much. She is cold, very cold. Her hands and fingers are frigid. She has got a terrible headache which has lasted days, hypertensive crisis possibly? And nausea and stomach cramps, lactic acidosis or the beginning of? I am almost certain her kidney's are failing but she refuses to go to the hospital. She lucid enough that even if I called 911, she could and would decline service. I watched my dad pass away with these same symptoms. What seemed like sudden death, I now see what his slowly dying. I am completely lost on what to do. All I can seem to do with my family is sit around and watch this take place, whatever this is. I offer food and water even though I know she will not eat it. I am keeping close tabs on the bathroom so if she does go I can see if there's blood in the urine or it's brown. I don't know what else to do. I know she wants to die at home with me, but I also think she needs to go to the hospital but she won't go. She doesn't seem to be in much pain at all. I was told that the kidney failure will allow her to slip comfortably into sleep without pain. I can't just watch this happen, or....should I. I don't know what to do.

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Honey,
You are not "just letting her die", it is happening and you can't stop it.

Please don't blame yourself. You mother is making choices that she wants to make. It is her right. It is also the normal progression of things that the parents pass on before their children. Unfortunately, that can take time. Sometimes it's drawn out and it taxes our souls.

Since she doesn't want to and won't do anything to help herself, you can only support her in her decline. It sounds like she's depressed but nothing can be done about it if she's unwilling to seek help.

Pray a lot and find a friend to lean on during this time. I'm sorry your siblings have "checked out" of being involved with your mom. They may live to regret that. Not your problem.
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Reply to SueC1957
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Thank you. All good points. My dad had Alzheimer’s as well. I completely understand how terribly hard that is. My dad died in the hospital on comfort care with heavy doses of morphine and Ativan.

You do not sound insensitive at all. You’re right. All of you are. My parents were never easy. 😋 the slight ups are more infuriating than the downs. With my dad, for one brief moment he was lucid and awake. Happy to see his family together at his side. Smiled. He gave me the best smile of all. My dad and I were very close. His smile just for me was a thank you. A thank you for bringing his family together for him. Something that had not happened in years. For those brief moments he didn’t have Alzheimer’s. He died 45 minutes later at peace. That was amazing for him, the hardest thing for me to see however. For us, it would have been easier if didn’t wake up. That small bit of hope no matter how illogical is hard to take in. That same feeling is what I feel now. I know it’s happening, I know I can’t change it. I know as her daughter, her care giver, my job is simply to keep comfortable and at peace. It’s just so hard. My brothers and sister leave these things to me and me alone. Never here, never helping. They’ve been gone for a long time. Hospice would be easier, better for her in my opinion. But, she refuses that care. I feel like I’m just letting her die. But maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do?
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Reply to Cattlei
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I don't know how I would have made it thru my dads passing without hospice. my dad was living in AL which helped a lot regardless.

I don't know if someone already said this. (I know they suggested hospice)

(and I know suggested as least call and talk to hospice.)

I totally agree to at least call hospice.

my dad had alzheimers and was pretty much sleeping 24\7 at the end.

not sure how to write this without being/sounding too insensitive but,

towards the very end. like the last week. my dad ~needed~ hospice.

if he would have died quickly, maybe he wouldn't need hospice.

but the end was slow....

and he needed the morphine. (or whatever the rx was)

I remember my dad struggling to breathe...and breathing hard. I didn't know :(

hospice came and made him comfortable again.

they provided a special bed and air pad and had him all set up.

they stepped in and basically handled what I COULD NOT do, what I didn't know to do.

if hospice comes into your home, they don't have to come out and say I am from "hospice." maybe they can come in as "help" that ~you~ need.

if your mom refuses to speak to them. at least you made contact and then they can return in the future when its closer to that time.
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Reply to wally003
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How old is your mother?
74 yrs old, her side of the family dies in their 70s.

Does your mom have dementia?
No, she spent months in the hospital in 2016, they determined she had urosepsis, kidney failure and delirium at varying times.

Have you tried asking her what she wants to eat?
Yes, she says she’ll get food but doesn’t go. I got home tonight, my daughter got my mom to eat pasta. I assume she ate and didn’t hide it like my dad used to.

Try serving food in a very small bowl as to not overwhelm her.
I have tried that. I’m willing to try again. ☺️

Have you tried feeding her bites off a spoon?
If I tried feeding her, she’d nit let me. She’s too lucid for that.

Have you tried any of the nutrition drinks? (Ensure, Boost, etc.)
I have not. But that’s not a bad idea, although I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t drink it.

Have you tried using a straw?
No I haven’t.

Have you tried eating with her?
Yes, we have family dinners and invite her up to eat with us.

Did you call her doctor and tell him?
I haven’t. Honestly, they’ll say to take her to the hospital. She’s declined to go.

Have you tried foods and liquids that she normally doesn't eat and drink?
No I haven’t.

Often sweets are more accepted than other foods. Milkshakes can have a lot of things added for nutrition.
She does love sweets and usually eats our Sunday donuts. But this week, she skipped it.

Eating is something we can't force a person to do.
Agreed. Which is quite difficult. My husband just tonight said he thinks she wants to die or knows she’s dying but doesn’t want to tell me for fear it’ll hurt me. I think that’s what my dad did and wouldn’t doubt that’s what my mom is doing. I just wish I knew. It’s just me trying to control the situation as if that can make it somehow easier.

God bless you both as you travel this tough journey.

Thank you very much. I really appreciate that.
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Reply to Cattlei
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Cattlei,

How old is your mother?

Does your mom have dementia?

Have you tried asking her what she wants to eat?

Try serving food in a very small bowl as to not overwhelm her.

Have you tried feeding her bites off a spoon?

Have you tried any of the nutrition drinks? (Ensure, Boost, etc.)

Have you tried using a straw?

Have you tried eating with her?

Did you call her doctor and tell him?

Have you tried foods and liquids that she normally doesn't eat and drink?

Often sweets are more accepted than other foods. Milkshakes can have a lot of things added for nutrition.

Eating is something we can't force a person to do.
God bless you both as you travel this tough journey.
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Reply to SueC1957
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I have heard of situations such as this. The patient can be told that it is ok to let go. Of course that would be at the very end. I have been posting here about my mother but i was in this place 8 years ago with my father. We were told once they removed him from medication he would die soon after. All the family gathered around him and told him how much we loved him and how important he had been in our lives. I will never lose the image of those final glances. I hope he knew who he was seeing.
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Reply to Riverdale
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Thank you!

I do believe and I'm sure God is watching over us. My immediate family is my support system right now. Calling hospice, at least to talk about it is a great idea. Thank you! The waiting is agonizing and even if it is curable, she'll stay put. I did try to get he to go to the hospital the other night, citing kidney failure, heart failure, etc. She still refused. Honestly, I really think she knows and is waiting it out herself. I think she is ready to be with my dad. But, how do you ask that question? My biggest fear is not that I find her passed away but that my 16 yr old does.
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Reply to Cattlei
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Hi,

Thank you! If I called hospice she'd probably have a heart attack and then yell at me. I'm 39 yrs old and feel like I'm a kid again at this point. I'm afraid I must wait until I can't wake her to call 911. I'm thinking it might not be too long from now given she's not eating, drinking or going to the bathroom at all. I hate having to wait, but she simply won't go.

I wonder if she knows and that's why she chooses to just stay put. I think my dad knew he was dying but saved us from knowing that as well.

I'm at a complete loss. It seems like her time is coming to an end but how can one be sure?
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Reply to Cattlei
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Thank you for your answer. She's just simply not eating. It's not really refusing to eat so much as just not eating. It's not important any longer. Occasionally she'll still eat something but for the most part it really isn't something all that important any longer. It really doesn't seem to bother her at all.

She will not go to hospice, the same as she won't go to the hospital.  Honestly, I figure I won't get her to the hospital until I can't wake her.  
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Reply to Cattlei
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This is such a tough issue because eating is so closely tied to love and nurturing. Sometimes they aren't eating for reasons that can be remedied by changing the flavour, texture, portion size or frequency of the food, or by treating physical problems like upset stomach or oral issues. When the people at my mom's nursing home get this way they are seated where there is a person who makes sure they remember to eat or who will actually feed them and often that is all they really need. I've observed that once they reach the point that they continually refuse to eat or drink, even with assistance, their time is nearing the end.


Have you spoken to her doctor about your concerns? Would you consider enrolling her in hospice?
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