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  • My Elderly mom is going to die.

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    Old 09-29-2013, 05:28 PM   #1
    sherryleann's Avatar
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    My Elderly mom is going to die.

    My elderly mom is 94 years old and about two months ago she got a UTI which she refused to acknowledge and it affected her kidneys. Her legs swelled up so bad that she couldn't hardly get out of her chair and finally she agreed to go to the doctors.

    The doctor prescribed her medicine and sent her home and about a week later she got out of bed to use the bathroom and fainted, fell and fractured her hip. She went through surgery and the hospital sent her to a rehab/nursing facility so that they could begin physical therapy on her hip.

    She has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation and she also has a bed sore on her tail bone which makes sitting up so uncomfortable that she does not want to do it.

    She has experienced nausea and vomiting since she has been there and I think it has to do with the opiate they give her for pain. She has dehydrated and was sent to the hospital to rehydrate.

    She has little to no appetite and barely drinks fluids so they have had to rehydrate her three or four times.
    My brother is the one that makes decisions for her and has a DNR in place and has stated that there is to be no feeding tubes and no further IV fluids to be given as he says the nurses have to stick her so many times and it leaves her with huge black bruises all over her.

    My struggle is that if she doesn't drink enough to keep her hydrated then she is going to dehydrate again and then her organs are going to start shutting down and she is going to die.

    The thought of losing my mom is leaves me in utter despair. I am heartbroken at the thought.

    My mom lost a son Feb/2013 and she also had to have her little dog she had for 17 years put to sleep not to long ago and afterwards she just kind of gave up. She lost interest in food and felt she had betrayed her little dog. She said the dog trusted her and she let her down. She felt like she should have never had the dog put to sleep, but the dog was so old and so sick it needed to be done. Though my mom knows this intellectually her heart is broken.

    She sleeps all the time and I think that is due to the medicine as well. They put her on an appetite stimulator and antidepressant, but that was only less then two weeks ago so the antidepressant hasn't had time to work yet.

    I feel that it is so inhumane to stop fluids and just let her dehydrate. I totally dislike the facility she is in because I know for a fact on the weekends they do not check in on their patients for hours at a time. I sat there just waiting to see how long it would take them to come and change my mom and it was over four hours before someone came in and she was there to change the bandages on moms leg and then changed her. If a patient is supposed to be turned every two hours to prevent bedsores or keep the ones they have from getting worse then that is not happening on the weekends.

    I feel they have given up on my mom because of her age and they feel like she is not going to get better so therefore they go about her treatment in such a way.

    The problem is I live all they way in Oregon and she is in Alabama so I am not there to advocate for her and when I call they pretty much dismiss my thougths since my brother is the one that is her sponsor.

    I know with all the medical problems that my mom has some illnesses and that she is elderly, but I feel she would be more awake and have less nausea and vomiting if it were not for the opiates. Then maybe she would eat and drink better. She is reluctant to eat because she doesn't want to throw up. She can barely stay awake long enough to focus on eating or drinking. They just come in and toss the tray of food in front of her and walk out. I know because I went to see her for a few days and watched what went on there.

    Sorry for the long rant, but I am hurting inside. I know my mama's life is winding down, she will soon dehydrate and her organs will shut down and she will pass away. I don't want her to go. I am so not ready for her to go. She shouldn't go that way. The mere thought of losing my mom feels like someone is reaching inside me and pulling out half of me.

    My mom is my best friend. I am so scared I will fall apart when she is gone. I have kids of my own that depend on me and I can't fall apart. I have no one to truly vent these thoughts out to that really understands me. I feel isolated and so alone.

    I want so badly to jump on a plane and go spend whatever time my mom has left with her, but finances won't allow.

    My mom is alert and has moments of confusion, but no one has taken the time to ask her what she wants. How she wants to handle this. Decisions are being made for her without her say. I know my brother only has my moms best interest at heart and he loves her and hates seeing her suffer, but I don't agree with letting her dehydrate. I know he is not looking at it like that, but rather he hates seeing her poked and bruises all over her arms and hands.

    Broken Hearted Daughter

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    Old 10-01-2013, 09:58 PM   #2
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    Re: My Elderly mom is going to die.

    Hi there. Im sorry you are in such distress. My mom and I are also super close and I feel the pain you are in...
    First of all, two things come to mind. I dont know if you work or not, but you may be entitled to family medical leave act, which would pay your income for several weeks while you are "out"- can you look into that? Secondly, nursing homes are notorious for much of what you describe, especially on weekends. Your mom is hospice appropriate. She would qualify and there is no cost to her or your family. Can you talk to your brother about considering a hospice evaluation? Reason being, they provide a private aide to sit with your mom for hours at a time, 5-7 days a week, to give her that extra comfort....and to help turn her and encourage her to eat. If nothing else, they can wet her mouth so she remains moist and comfortable....hospice aides are angels!

    This is a time to try to get closer to your brother- and to discuss options...and hospice would not only help your mom, but help you as well. Even long distance, the nurses stay in touch with families by phone and offer you some comfort when you arent there...

    You also have the right to call the nursing home administrator and discuss the fact that you arent happy with the care. Tell him or her that if your mom isnt going to be seen every hour as the state insists she should be, that you will report them. Watch how many visits she starts getting! Seriously, nursing homes are always understaffed, but they are required by law to provide the care which is mandatory. If what you say is accurate, they arent.

    As for being concerned about the opiates- you have to let that feeling go. Opiates are for pain and if she is getting them, she is likely to sleep more and be less alert, however they are keeping her out of pain...without them, she would have considerable pain...think of it that way. As for the dog- I can put myself in that place too as I sit here and consider what is coming for my family and our elderly pet...but, you have to realize that although her heart is broken, you (she) did do the right thing, which had to be done, and remind her that she will be seeing her dog sad a thought as that is to you, it may bring her comfort.

    With the diseases you have mentioned, when and if your mom totally gives up on eating and drinking, she wont be noticing it. The body shuts down gradually, without pain, and the need for hydration and nutrition diminishes. No, one cannot live long without any substanance; however, its US that get upset about it, not the patient....she is not suffering because she doesnt want to eat or drink....its her way of slowly letting go. Its horrible to witness, but its NOT horrible for her. I hope you understand this. Now is the time to be with your mom and just tell her what you need to say.....its what is necessary at this time, you wont get another chance to do it.

    I feel for you. I honestly do, and wish I could offer more than words of advice, but you need to put away your own fears and be strong for what is coming...and get closer to your brother right now, since he is the one with POA. Youre going to need each other....

    prayers going out to you...
    RRMS- dx 05

    Old 10-01-2013, 10:22 PM   #3
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    Re: My Elderly mom is going to die.

    I'm so sorry you're going through this. My mother also passed from kidney disease, and what your mom is experiencing is normal, the dehydration, the nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, uti, swollen legs. I really doubt the uti caused it, it would have been the kidney disease that led to the uti (common with kidney disease) so you did nothing wrong. It takes a long time for kidneys to get to this point.

    I wonder if you can discuss her treatment better with your brother? I guess I disagree with withholding fluids and feeding if she is still conscious. with my mother, they had to keep increasing her morphine for pain towards the end, and eventually she just slept and then passed away, unaware of what was going on which I was glad of. I suspect the high doses of morphine took her a bit sooner but in a more peaceful way so I guess that's why I feel withholding fluids and feeding is unnecessary until the very end and it may lead to a lot of guilt down the road. she is going to pass away, but perhaps your brother doesn't realise the feeding and iv is just going to keep her more comfortable, but it won't keep her alive for a significant amount of time, her kidneys and other organs are going to shut down anyway in spite of that but with my mother the disease ran it's course on it's own without us having to take any proactive intervention or withholding any treatment.

    The thing I have also found is even in hospital they won't spend time feeding the patients, and a family member needs to be there for meal times to do that and encourage the person to eat and drink. Ideally she would be somewhere where they could just keep an iv line in her and not take it out etc.

    I think if it is at all possible for you to travel and spend some time with her it will help you. she may only be conscious and responsive for a short time and I think it would really help you to prepare for her passing, and the grieving process. It may be your last chance to say goodbye and tell her you love her in person and I think you'll regret it if you don't because once they put the pain meds up to a certain point she will just be sleeping mostly and won't be very aware of things.

    Last edited by captjane; 10-01-2013 at 10:54 PM.

    Old 10-18-2013, 08:38 AM   #4
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    Re: My Elderly mom is going to die.

    Thank you both for your encouraging words.

    Mama passed away on the 11th of this month. I am heartbroken, cry often and have given myself full permission to grieve. I know that time will take the edge off the pain. I sure do and will miss her.

    It is very hard to believe she is no longer here on this earth. However, I do believe in God and heaven and it is there that she resides now and I have no doubt that she is happy.

    Thank you again for your responses.


    Old 10-18-2013, 10:02 AM   #5
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    Re: My Elderly mom is going to die.

    I'm so sorry
    hugs to you at this sad time

    Old 10-24-2013, 03:59 AM   #6
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    Re: My Elderly mom is going to die.

    I am so sorry for your Loss. I just Lost my Mama Monday to a Fatty Liver. Her kidneys just shut down. She was My World! As I'm sure your Mom was yours. I seen my Mama every day & texted her every day. I am so Lost. I can totally understand what you are feeling. I still feel like it's Not Real. Like she's really gone. I Can Only say we have to take it a day at a time. Hour by hour, minute by minute.. Please Know you are in my thoughts and prayers..

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