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Topic: The dying process  (Read 7611 times)

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The dying process
« on: January 22, 2006, 06:08:15 PM »
My grandmother is still hanging in there. She has been under the care of Hospice for a few weeks. They said because she isnt eating or drinking she wont last but two weeks max. She has been nearly comatose. She lays in the fetal position and doesnt communicate at all. Well yesterday my mom went there and was shocked to find her awake and staring at the door waiting for her. Mom sat down and took her hand and decided to try to talk to her. She said "Ariel went in the Army, mother" (Ariel is my neice). My grandmoter smiled and very clearly said "is that right?" Then she asked for some ice cream and a drink which she immediately consumed. After a few min she drifted off to sleep. Her vital signs remain very good. Weird thing is at night the nurses are hearing her speak some sort of foreign language when they pass her room. My grandmother speaks a bit of Yiddish but thats about it. Nobody knows who she is talking to.

I heard that people usually get better before they die. We are all praying for her to release from this world but she keeps holding on.  Anyone have any similar experiences with a loved one they can share?

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Re: The dying process
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2006, 06:15:43 PM »
I'll PM you about the experience I went through with my mother -- but not right now. If I start now, I'll cry! I'm away from home at the moment, but will be back in a few days and will tell you about what I went through -- although I think it would be different for everyone.
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Re: The dying process
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2006, 06:18:29 PM »
I'll PM you about the experience I went through with my mother -- but not right now. If I start now, I'll cry! I'm away from home at the moment, but will be back in a few days and will tell you about what I went through -- although I think it would be different for everyone.
Thank you.  :\\\'(

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Re: The dying process
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2006, 06:51:08 PM »
Ricki hugs to you, I can't imagine how difficult all of this is for you. It's hard to love someone so much you want to let them go for their own sake. I have had similair experiences with my grandpa, and just recently with my grandma.

In the days before my grandpa died, he really came around he was joking and teasing like he always had. Up until then he had been in and out of sleep and not really responsive.  He got to see and talk to all of the family. It was the next day that he passed on. It was like he came around to say goodbye to us all. Right before he died he reached up his hand my grandma says and said the name of my great uncle that had passed before him. With that he was gone.  :\\\'(

My grandma had been in the nursing home and had been ill on and off for months. The nursing home staff told us she was basically shutting down. She ended up in the hospital and within a day they were calling the family in and she requested the minister come read her last rites. The nurses said she was going soon, her vitals were consistent with someone that was dying and the family was there to say goodbye. Funny thing though, my grandma always did things on her own terms. By the time the minister had been woke up and arrived at the hospital, she had come around. Grandma was sitting up and kept interupting the last rites and joking with the minister. The next day she was 100% better!? They kept her one more day in the hospital, then sent her back to the nursing home! It was odd though, grandma was talking to me and kept telling me she was going back there for "three days and that's it". Well, she did. She went back to the nursing home on a Wednesday and was never the same again. That Friday she slipped into a coma and was gone. She never made it through that third day.  :\\\'(

It was terrible to go through all of this, but I think people do tend to "get better" in the end and I think that is so the family can have that memory again of the way the person once was. I think some people also hang on waiting to say goodbye. My grandma knew my Mom was coming from California to visit, and at one point had told my aunt "she better hurry up". My heart goes out to you and your family Ricki. I hope your grandma can find peace and comfort.  [smiley=hug.gif] [smiley=hug.gif] [smiley=hug.gif]

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Re: The dying process
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2006, 06:59:55 PM »
ricki i know what you are going through, hugs to you and josie  [smiley=hug.gif] [smiley=hug.gif]
its a far better thing i do than i have ever done

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Re: The dying process
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2006, 07:28:54 PM »
Ricki - Reading about your grandma talking to your mom or in a strange language... 
My gran got to the point where she was really p*ssed off that she wasn't dead yet (at the age of 104).  She hated being in the nursing home, full stop.  So in the midst of her final illness (I think she had gotten pneumonia again) -- one day she told the nurses, 'Don't talk to me! I'm dead!'

The nurse: 'But Mrs Frisbie, you can't be dead.'

Gran: 'Why not?!'

The nurse: 'Because you're still talking to us.'

And those are the last words my gran ever spoke!  (She died 2-3 days later.)  Well she was nothing, if not a corker -- and at her age, we couldn't be sad really because she'd lived herself into family legend.

I hope that your family finds peace through all of this soon.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in...

- from Anthem, by Leonard Cohen (b 1934)

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Re: The dying process
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2006, 12:16:31 PM »
My grandmother was kept on a respirator for several months...finally my dad and grandfather made the decision to stop her dialysis, so she died of renal poisoning. She lived about 1 1/2 days from the point she stopped. She was a very proud woman, kept her appearance immaculate, and I know that the thought of her unpolished fingernails and not knowing whether or not the whiskers were on her chin was what was really bothering her those months she laid there, unable to speak because of the tube etc! Anyway, I asked her whether she was afraid to die...and once if she were ready to die...and she kept shaking her head that she wanted to be let go, but my grandfather kept hoping that she would come around (her organs completely shut down after an operation and she never recovered) and so it was agonizing to let her go...my dad had so much guilt, especially since they had to stop the dialysis and they were unable to tell him how long that might take and to what extent it would cause pain etc....but while I was hating to have her go, especially under the circumstances, I kept praying that she would have an easy time of it releasing herself.

I'll be keeping your grandmother and you and your family in my thoughts. (((hugs)))

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Re: The dying process
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2006, 11:34:27 PM »
I can't be of much help with your specific situation but I am thinking of you and wishing you and your family peace.  It must be a very tough time for you. 

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Re: The dying process
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2006, 01:03:00 AM »
I am a nurse and have often taken care of people as they are dying.  I have more stories than there is room to post but they are pretty unbelievable.  I guess you could put it down to a dying brain hallucinating.

I have often heard terminal patients say that they are going at so and so time or they say I have 8 days.  It is so weird how they just KNOW.   One of my patients who was terminal (but I didn't think her death was imminent) actually told me she was going to kick off on my shift.  That is exactly what she said.  I told her to knock it off and stop saying things like that.  We were joking around and laughing and I told her not to die on me because I didn't want to deal with the paperwork (sounds sick I know) but that made her laugh.  Lo and behold 5 minutes before my shift ended she died very peacefully. 

There are a couple common occurances I see with actively dying people.

1.  They talk to love ones that have passed as if it is the most natural thing in the world.  I have lost count of the number if times someone has said "oh look here they are" and then died.   I had a elderly lady in her 80's (who was very lucid) start crying with happiness like I have never seen before and saying "Luther, oh look it's Luther, he's in the corner" minutes before she went into cardiac arrest and died (unexpected).  She had been very lethargic but suddenly sat up with the happiest look I had ever seen when she said that.  Later on I heard her family saying "at least she is with Luther now".  So I asked who Luther was.  He was her son that died at age 4 many decades ago.

2.  They often get much better and come around and are very lucid before they die.  This is so hard to deal with because it gives relatives false hope.   

When I patient tells me they sense are going to die or that they are seeing dead loved ones I never laugh it off.  I always take it seriously.   9 times out of 10 when they start saying that stuff something happens.  Scares the shite out of me.   

You would not believe some of the weird stuff you see when you work with the dying.  I could fill this thread with stories. A lot of people think its hallucinations of a dying brain so who knows.
What I do see is most people are very peaceful and happy when the time comes and that is what is important.   They hold on until they know it's okay to go.  I have seen very very sick people hold on until their loved ones tell them that it is okay to go.

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Re: The dying process
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2007, 01:43:57 AM »
My mom, who had been deteriorating for well over a year with Alzheimer's before her final trip to the hospital, at first sat up and knew who everybody was (for a while, in our prior phone calls, she'd thought that me and two of my other five brothers were her siblings, while the other three were her own). She also didn't recognize my dad as being her husband until those final two days before she slipped into a coma. But in her final few days before they put her on a ventilator to help her breathe, I briefly talked to her and begged her to fight, followed by telling her how much I loved her, then she said, "Suzanne, I love you too, my only daughter."

Regardless, we all die. It's just a matter of when.

Deepest condolences,


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Re: The dying process
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2007, 09:27:26 AM »
Your story brings back memories of my grandfather. He died at home with hospice when I was about 16. It was the first time that I had dealt with death at home instead of medicated and in a hospital. About 2 weeks before he passed he stopped recognising anyone. He actually went back to the days when he was in the navy. He was a chief petty officer and kept issuing orders to my grandmother. I clearly remember one time after such an instance she went into the kitchen and laughed so hard she started crying. It was very cathartic for us all. My overall memory of the experience is positive though. If I die after a pro-longed illness I would prefer this to a hospital setting.
Terri P O'Neale

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