If a person has had a stroke and cannot swallow as was noted in a previous post, is that where hospice comes in and makes it bearable (pain free) for the patient to then ride out those last days with no nourishment..(feeding tube) .
We went through the NO feeding tube for my cousin but she was unconcious. She lived another 13 days but felt nothing. We don't regret the decision that was made in that case. But I wonder what it is like for the patient if they are aware and unable to swallow but because of their current stage of AZ no heroic measures are implemented.
(took me all day to get into the site. I got my user name and password all mixed up. I had to clear out my "cookies" or something technical like that and had to sign back in)
Meg, that is exactly what happened to my FIL. He broke his neck about three years ago and was in rehabilitation with a halo brace for months. The dementia progressed and he had several strokes afterward. The last stroke he had paralyzed his ability to swallow and took away his ability to speak. He would not leave the medical tubes (IV etc) alone so they knew a feeding tube would not be appropriate. The first time I went to the Hospice house to see him he was alert enough to let us know that he wanted the hunting show left on the TV and I am sure he recognized us. It was not an easy decision but I also knew he would not want to be in yet another care facility hooked up to tubes with his hands restrained. That to me is not dying with dignity. It was 10 days between his admission to Hospice house and his death. Difficult? YES!! But when you look through their eyes instead of your own there is a different understanding. The way I look at it... if medical procedures will give you a better quality of life then it is good... if it just prolongs the inevitable it's not what I want. That is why I also have a signed medical directive.
My sister's MIL is in this situation right now. She's 91, multiple strokes (mostly TIAs), cannot swallow properly as a result. She can barely get a little water and applesauce down with special feeding techniques. They've taken her off all meds except morphine and Atavin. So, she's pain free and comfortable. Hospice has told us probably less than 2 weeks before she passes. Very sad to see her like this but we know there is no hope for healing and making her comfortable during what time she has left is what should be done. I went by to see her Friday and just sat a while. Held her hand a bit and she barely even stirred.
Deb...was your FIL sedated so that he was in no pain?
Titchou, pain free and comfortable. That is what I was wondering about.
My mom isn't there yet but I'm aware it could happen anyday if she had another stroke...there is no residual effect right now from the last and only TIA she has had.
She is always clearing her throat. I leave her hard candies to suck on. So I wonder if that is the beginning of not being able to swallow. She still is able to get out and about but I notice that one thing. That throat thing.
FIL was given what he needed for pain Meg. At first he was "awake" and there was some recognition but that later went away. There was not furrowed brow or wincing which is two of the pain signs they look for. He just drifted further and further away, sleeping more and more, until his time came. He did have more pain meds than Dad did but he lasted for about 10 days.
Dad had the pain meds available but didn't use but two doses that last five days and those were when he was cleaned, changed, and repositioned. He had nothing the last 18 hours.
Each is different and I found that the Hospice nurses are very aware of non verbal pain indications. I have also found that they don't over medicate. In both cases I couldn't as for better treatment of my loved one. And I am yet to go through this with Mom.
Constant clearing of throat could be a side affect of some medication. My girlfriend takes something for her illness and it causes her to clear her throat. Another one that she takes has a side affect of making her cough