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Sign of Death with COPD

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Old 11-25-2008, 05:23 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Berlin, NJ, USA
Posts: 2
dalton12399 HB User
Exclamation Sign of Death with COPD

Hi Everyone! I need someones advice out there. My mother-in-law has moved into my home on October 15th because we were told she is in her final stages of COPD. She is bed ridden, has a cathader and a diaper on and can't walk anymore. We originally were going to go with Home Health Care Nurse but they only come out 2 times a week and when they where here they said she needed more care so we went to Hospice. The Hospice nurse came out and took one look at my mother-in-laws legs and said 2 weeks at the most. She mentioned the color of them being the reason on why she only had 2 weeks. Well, 2 weeks have come and gone and my mother-in-law was eating and drinking but not eating very much but my husband would force her to eat because he is in denial. Hopsice nurse said again possibly 2 weeks, well those two weeks have come and gone and now we are going into a month and a 1/2 that she is still here. Well Saturday she slept all day and told us she just felt out of wack. Sunday up for a little bit, had a 1/4 cup of pudding and then slept all day. Monday, ate nothing all day, told my husband she wanted to go to the hospital and he said no because there really isn't anything they can do for her at this time, slept all day and night. Today, slept most of the day was not able to hold an understandable conversation but by the afternoon she was awake and wanted something to eat. We gave her dinner and she ate none of it but kept telling us it was good. I can't stand this emotional rollercoaster my entire family is on and to top is off we have my 8 year old son living in these conditions. Can anyone tell me, is this the sign of her body shutting down with her not eating or drinking that much and sleeping and being incoherant one or two days and then talking the next. It makes no sense to me. Some advice or information on what it happening here would be great!! Thank you!!!

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Old 11-25-2008, 06:14 PM   #2
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Re: Sign of Death with COPD

Her bodily systems are gradually shutting down, but this is not a regular, predictable process. I would say that the nurse's evaluation was based on the signs of her heart not pumping enough blood around to oxygenate her tissues. A person who is in bed can actually get by even with most of the systems 'running on empty'. I am sorry for the stress you are going through, it is a very hard time. Bringing someone into your home to die is a very caring, courageous act. I hope it resolves soon for all your sakes. Sera.

Old 11-26-2008, 03:48 AM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Berlin, NJ, USA
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dalton12399 HB User
Re: Sign of Death with COPD

Thank you very much for answering me. I had a feeling she is shutting down but needed some more convincing. It just amazes me how an 80 year old woman who weights if we are lucky 75 pounds is still fighting to stay alive. She said last night before we went to bed that she can't wait for the nurse to take her cathater out so she can finally walk to the bathroom. She is fighting death and it is making hard on all of us. I just hate to see someone live this way.

Old 11-17-2009, 02:34 PM   #4
Amy Gdala
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Virginia
Posts: 4
Amy Gdala HB User
Re: Sign of Death with COPD

dalton12399, I genuinely understand your questions here. This is exactly what I am going through with my Mother. She can be at death's door for two or three days. You think the end is near, you're making funeral plans, you're preparing yourself. Then the next day she's up and eating and you can't believe it is the same person. This cursed disease is so unpredictable, so maddening for everyone involved. The emotional rollercoaster is a perfect analogy. It is like being tossed and turned every which way and never knowing what to expect.

I sympathize with you and hope you are coping. I know it's a strain on your family. It is good to know I am not the only one thinking these things.

I see your post is a year old. Please post an update.
Stay in touch.

Last edited by Amy Gdala; 11-17-2009 at 02:35 PM. Reason: added text

Old 11-28-2009, 05:17 PM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Sedona, AZ
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Donross HB User
Re: Sign of Death with COPD

In 1996 I moved in with my Mother to care for her in her final days of cancer which had metastasized to her lungs.

I had ten years experience as a Home Health nurse but found the help of the Hospice program tremendous.

Actually I made a career change after my Mother's death and spent seven years working in Hospice.

You are on an emotional roller coaster and the hospice is getting paid each and every day to provide not only personal and medical care for your loved one but also emotional and spiritual support for you.

Hospice is paid to care for the entire family unit. They are required to have social workers and chaplains. It is not charity to use these services. They are paid for.

The reason I go to lengths to describe this and my knowledge of it is that many so called hospice services are provided by for profit organizations or not for profits that spread the income of their services over many areas.

I worked for two hospices;
one "Hospice A" was a standalone hospice only. It was purely nonprofit with the intent to provide hospice care of the highest quality. All the nurses were required to be certified in hospice and palliative care, were encouraged and reimbursed to attend as much continuing educational seminars as they liked etc.

The other was owned by a large non profit medical group of hospitals run by a religious organization. Sound like nice people right.

The difference between these two was like night and day. I was the only nurse certified in Hospice and Palliative care,(including my nurse ,manager/supervisor and the Director of Nurses). This led to no end of controversy and many instances of patients receiving less than state of the art hospice care (not unusual for pain to be undertreated. Nurses were only allowed to attend one educational event a year with a limit of $200.

Hospices get paid by Medicare and most insurance companies by the day, not by the services they provide. They keep what they don't spend. Minimizing Nurse, Social Worker Nursing assistant visits, puts money right into their pocket.

You have a right to request all the help you need.

This is as hard a thing as you'll ever go through.

It is normal to have times when you say "I can't take this much longer hurry up and die!"

I know I did with my Mother and then felt guilty for it. You are only human and there is help for you.

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