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Hi all, I am brand new here today, and fell in love with everyone's posts from the other discussions.


My FIL just called to say my MIL, who has advanced ALZ, was told by the doctor's that she has 2 weeks to live. She spent the last few days in the hospital due to being difficult to awaken in the AM, finally becoming unresponsive. She is not eating or drinking. Except for a UTI, they could not find anything else wrong with her, and discharged her home. I suspect they are not excessively testing due to her advanced state. As an RN who works in Long Term Care at a NH, I know this is her body saying it's had enough. It is so hard to evaluate since I am not there with her. I hope to get to speak with the Hospice nurse once she is in place. MIL has had ALZ for years and the last few she has needed complete help with her ADL's. She doesn't talk much if at all, but usually follows directions given to her. All care has come from my FIL. They are both 78. It's so hard because we live 700 miles apart, my FIL had no additional information to give us, except that he was told to get Hospice in place. My spouse is really struggling with the Dr saying 2 weeks. I tried to explain from my experience, she most likely couldn't live more than 2 weeks without food and water. Especially since she isn't really swallowing. He didn't like my answers, so I have backed off. We see them once a year because we live so far apart. I know my spouse is sad that this has come out of no where and it is his mom. My FIL has his other son close by so that is good for him. FIL is really upset, but he also knows this has been coming for awhile. He couldn't go anywhere with out her, but she didn't like to leave the house, so he was trapped at home. Good care was hard to find, even though he had enough money to pay for it. I hope at some point, I can lead him to this site. I found it so helpful and I think he would too.


I'm trying to convince my spouse that we need to make a trip to see her, come back and then wait for the phone call to come in. She will be buried near where we live. I've seen enough families in the NH to know that not going to see her now would be a mistake, and we shouldn't wait until she passes.


Our other issue is, we planned a vacation in a few weeks and as far as I know, nothing is refundable. I don't know if the condo owners will refund our money. I know I can change the airline tickets for a fee, but in total it was a lot of money. I know I sound selfish. I apologize. My spouse and I are both 50, and now that our kids are older, we finally have enough money for a nice vacation. I don't even know if we would have fun, especially him. What if she doesn't pass? I welcome any and all feedback. Just throwing my thoughts out there. Thank you for reading this long thread.


Faith

Even if his Mom can’t appreciate his visit, I think his Dad would. I would do it for him.
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Faith343 Mar 21, 2019
Hi,

We made the trip and he was very happy to see us. MIL is hanging in
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Do what you won't regret in the future.
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Faith343 Mar 21, 2019
Great advice!! We made the trip and have no regrets. Vacation can wait.
Thanks,
Faith
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1. See if you can get travel insurance (insuremytrip.com) - death of a parent is usually a covered event.
2. Go now. Do not wait. This sounds like my husband in October when he got the same call about his mom. It is like he just could not process what he was being told by the doctor. So I literally got the plane tickets, packed his bag, put him on the plane that day. I knew he would never live with his self if he didn't do it. In fact (he was flying from China to Atlanta - at best a 24 hour door to door trip) I even made him get an additional ticket that got him to Atlanta sooner when he landed in LA because his original ticket had a layover was so long - and I was right to insist- she passed 3 hours after he arrived at her bedside. You will never regret going - you will regret it you don't go.
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Faith343 Mar 21, 2019
Hi,

Sorry to hear about your MIL. My spouse was the same. He could not process what anyone was saying. It feels good to have no regrets.
Thank you for responding.
Faith
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I lost a good friend last summer to alzheimers. I saw her in the spring. I was very glad I went. Encourage him to go be with his mom and dad and brother. He will never regret going.
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Faith343 Mar 21, 2019
Hi,

Men can be so resistant. We made the trip and very happy we did.

Thank you!
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it is so important to go to support the family members who have been living through her decline. They are at rock bottom.
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Faith343 Mar 21, 2019
Hi,

You are so right. My FIL has been doing this alone for so long. I hate that we live so far away. They made the move 20 years ago and missed most of our kids lives, but I understand they are entitled to their retirement. We made the trip and my FIL was very happy to see us. It's been great to see them both. FIL was able to get some aides to come in and help out so that was really helpful.
Thank you for responding.
Faith
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Go-no excuse is good enough not too! As an RN you must know this is it, and that hearing is the last sense they lose so she will know he is there which any mother at any age would want
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Faith343 Mar 21, 2019
Hi,

You are right, no excuses. I do see death on a regular basis and it is so hard on the families. We made the trip and FIL was very happy to see us. Hubby is more at peace now.

Thank you for responding!
Faith
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Just go. When my father passed of luekemia he had a couple of weeks. One of my sisters didn't understand the concept of visiting now, not waiting. We finally convinced her to come now and enjoy the last of our dad. She is now glad she did. All of us kids where able to stay together and visit with him daily in the rehab center he was in. We brought in a dinner and they let us use the dining room privately, we brought pictures to go through and talk over, even cocktails! For me it was a happy time and I did not feel grief, just happy memories.
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Faith343 Mar 21, 2019
Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your dad. Getting all together and going through pictures sounds great. The brother went home and hasn't returned. DH was very resistant to going, but he did give in. I know the end of life process, but DH doesn't and doesn't really know what I do and go through at work. We did make the trip to see them and FIL was very happy. DH feels at peace with his mom. I gave up and Hospice did an excellent job for me.  She had antibiotics and fluids at the hospital and rallied a little. She came home and Hospice is in place. We are all hanging on waiting to see what will happen next.
It's great that you said good bye to your dad with happy memories and no grief. I hope we can have the same.
Thank you for reaching out to me. Hugs for you and your family.
Faith
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Can your husband get on a plane tomorrow to go see his mom? Is that what he wants?

Call the airline and speak to a supervisor about your MIL's imminent death. Do the same with the condo owners.

I'm sorry that you're going through this. (((((((Hugs))))))))
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Faith343 Mar 21, 2019
Hi,

We made it in time. He was very resistant to the trip, but gave in. The condo owners have been so nice! Working on the airlines now.
Thank you!
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Well *I* think that in retrospect your DH will be glad that he saw his mother before she passed away. I agree with you. And the sooner the better, to give him a chance to see her before the reflex end of life symptoms might kick in, which can be extremely upsetting for people who aren't prepared for them.

And surely your FIL would appreciate the moral support?

But, only your husband can decide what he wants to do. It may be, of course, that he decides he doesn't want to decide and would rather be completely passive. That is a sort of choice, too, and he's free to make it. We might not think it's likely to be the best one, but who are we to say what's right for him?

Perhaps you could ask him what he thinks would be best, and hope to prompt him to open up a bit that way?

You do not sound at all selfish to give practical thought to an expensive, and much anticipated, vacation. No insurance, I assume? I should get proactive about the arrangements, then, and see if you can get any wiggle room on it; if you really can't, then plan to go. The worst that can happen is that in the event neither of you thinks it a good idea and you lose the money. Well - dam'!!! But it's only money.
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jacobsonbob Mar 15, 2019
If they agree to postpone but reschedule the vacation, perhaps the providers would be more sympathetic than they would with a complete cancellation.
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Faith, you are a nursing home nurse. You know the routine. Don't you often see requests from families for a doc's signature on a form to request ticket refund from airlines? Airlines are very lenient on these requests is my own personal experience. When stepdad passed two years ago, I canceled a non-refundable flight and drove since flight was a few days later. I had no trouble getting a refund with a small service fee. If you cancel they may let you reschedule for another time without charging any sort of fee. You know that even with a two week prognosis, that this can vary greatly.

Don't advise FIL to go for feeding tube. I am sure you are very well aware of the pain and discomfort this could cause MIL. You are an expert in elder care. Take ideas and advice that are relevant to your experience that you can use and leave the rest behind.

Thinking of you and your family.
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Faith343 Mar 21, 2019
Hi,

You are right. I am very familiar with the routine at the end of life. We have actually not gotten any requests for letters for airlines, but that could be because I work for a private family owned business and all the residents are private pay. These families are very well off so a plane ticket for them is not a big deal. Prognosis do vary and MIL has rallied a little with fluids and antibiotics. We are not going with a feeding tube. They are never recommended, and her MOLST states not to place one.
We postponed our trip and the condo owners were very nice and refunded all of our money. I am hoping the airlines are as nice.
Thank you for your kind and supporting words. Very much appreciated.
Faith
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