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DebiG 05-24-2006 01:46 PM

How long can someone survive without food?
I hope someone can answer my question - here goes...

My Nanna is very ill and as far as we know doesn't have long left to live. Although she is old and has had an amazing life it's so up setting to see her so thin and unable to do anything for herself.

She hasn't eaten for about 4 weeks now and is only sipping on water. She is also on quite a high dose of morphine for the pain that she is in. She has lost all control of her bowels etc. and spends a lot of the day sleeping.

So, i guess my question to you is, how long can she go on? Every time the doctor comes to see her she (the doctor) says how amazed she is that my nan is still with us.

I hope you can help me with this. I thank you so much for your help with this.

Debi xx

Misty800 05-24-2006 02:04 PM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
Much will depend on your Nanna's will to live and when God thinks it is time to call her home.

A thin person would not last as long as an overweight person, less fat to draw upon for survival.

We can go a long time without food, but, not without water.

My heart goes out to you and your family. God bless your Nanna. It is not easy to watch loved ones in their last days. All we can do is be there for them and let them know we love them. Talk to her, she will hear you even tho she cannot respond.

Titchou 05-24-2006 02:28 PM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
I know that this is a difficult time for you. As the other poster said, everyone is different so it is hard to say. I do know that sometimes the person is waiting for "permission" from their loved ones to pass on. This has happened to several people I know. Not long after they whispered to the loved one that is was OK to go, they slipped away. One friend was holding his mother and told her so. She passed on about 10 minutes later. I know it's hard to lose them but, in my opinion, it's harder to watch them suffer when there is no hope. It certainly was with my father. My very best to you and your family.

DebiG 05-24-2006 02:36 PM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
Thanks very much for your love and prayers.
Nan was very thin as she has had lung disease etc for a long time and was house bound for about 6 years (more through fear of going out).

I'm trying to get my mum to tell Nan that it's ok to go although my sister has already told her. She is an extremely stubborn woman and very nosey!

I know it sounds terrible but i hope it happens soon as seeing her in such an awful state is so bad for us and terrible for her.

Thanks again for your kind words.

Debi xoxoxo

feelbad 05-25-2006 04:19 AM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
Debi,just so you know,what you just said is not 'terrible'it is being grandmother was in a very similar situation,everything was shutting down and she was kind of like in sort of a coma like state.we were there at the end but honestly,I think when we all(her four grandcildren)actually gave her permission to just let go and that it was okay and that we loved her,this is what kind of turned the tide for her.

her docs were just amazed at her was strong and steady and was about the only thing still amazingly running up to just wouldn't let go either.after the four of us talked to her and we just touched her,you know,stroking her hair and touching her face and just whispering to her that it was okay to just say good bye and move onto the next 'journey",about a half an hour later,she finally did.

i think she was just hanging on for us,her family and once we told her that she really needed to do this,and when we told her how much we truely loved her and said out good byes,well she made up her mind then that it was really okay to stop fighting it,

just go into her room ,all of your family or a few at a time,and let her know that you love her,will miss her terribly,but its really okay.when this is done with total love,I do think it really helps just for them to know that its okay to stop fighting and find peace in death.Hopefully,this will help her to move onto the next step of lifes little"cycle".

you do have my most deepest sympathies.hopefully this will be over for you and for her,very soon.please let us know how you are doing,K? **

kerri0500 05-25-2006 06:43 AM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
It is not terrible to hope it is soon. It is very difficult to watch someone go through this. My FIL had pancreatic cancer and all I can tell yo is that in his final days, he would only suck on a popsicle a LITTLE (if you held it for him) and that was it. He passed away about a week after the popsicle things. I hope you are okay after all of this and I will say a prayer for you and your family.

grandma.intense 05-25-2006 10:29 PM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
Is she in the hospital? If she is they may be giving her some kind of intravenous food which prolongs life but the agony of pain is prolonged and death comes slowly.
A hospice will not do that. They keep the patient as comfortable as possible without giving life prolonging treatment.
You can have hospice care at home, with a nurse coming each day to check patient, and to help the family. They take care of talking tothe doctor for prescriptions and take care of insurance.
A person can live a long time without adequate food but not long at all without water. As long as she is getting water she will live... to not have the water would be an agonizing death.

this happened to my father in law. He had pancreatic cancer and could not eat for several weeks. Had he been in hospital they would have kept him alive, much longer, which he did not want. he was ready to go.

Hospice came to the house each day and brought a hospital bed and provided pain meds and we gave him liquids as best we could. he died fairly quickly. hospice does what the [U]patient [/U] wants, not what the family wants. if you know what your grandmother would want you can proceed better with her heart goes out to you...this is an experience one never forgets.

grandma.intense 05-25-2006 10:45 PM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
To Debi g:
You are standing on the shore watching a ship come into port. You wave as others wave to those on board.... your dying loved one gets on the ship and sails away down the river with many others.

you wave to your loved one until the ship goes round a bend and you can no longer see it. Soon it is out of sight. But not really gone, only invisible to YOU>

for you, on shore, the boat has disappeared.
However, for those waiting eagerly at the next port, the boat is coming in...Our dying loved one is being greeted by those who have gone on before---never to be alone again.

Someday [U]you and I[/U] will sail this same ship and our loved ones will stay on Earth's shore and wave goodbye to us. While our passed-on relatives wait eagerly to greet us at the next port. is not to be feared...
I believe the Soul/spirit is very familiar with this routine of life/death and in the last moments of our death---the Soul smiles.

Love to you and your loved one.

arlmon18 05-26-2006 10:26 AM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
I volunteer with seniors who have alzheimers disease. In the latter stages, they stop eating. Sometimes a family member will approve having a feeding tube inserted to give them nourishment. Some families choose not to do this, because they would only be prolonging a life that is sadly coming to an end. I'm sure it must be a very difficult decision.

DebiG 06-12-2006 06:43 AM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
Sorry it's been a while. I really would like to thank you all for your kind words and helpful info regarding my Nan.

I'd just like to let you know that she died on Friday 2nd June at 8am. I think she had finally just had enough. She slipped away very peacefully in her sleep and my mum, autie and Grandad were with her.

We have her funeral tomorrow, so that's the last chapter in my life with Nan, although i do wish her goodnight every night when i go to bed!

Anyway, i'm waffling now! Again, thanks so much for your kind words and support.

DebiG xx

Titchou 06-12-2006 07:10 AM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
DebiG: thank you for letting us know. I know this is a trying time for your family but your grandmother is at peace now and that's what is important to remember. Our prayers are with you all.

Verlinda 06-15-2006 03:50 PM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
My heart goes out to you and your family in this time of grief. I can understand you pain. I recently lost my grandmother. She was quite young actually. She suffered form chronic asthma and another debilitating lung disease witch I canít even spell. She was only breathing with one half of a lung and after being on oxygen for a long time I guess her body gave up one the fight to breath. In the end She had so little oxygen that she was losing feeling in her legs.

I really miss her and hated seeing her in such a state. I try really hard not to think of those last months but instead of the time we spent together when I was young and she would spoil me to no end, and all of the other fun times we had. She is missed but not forgotten.

I hope your able to move on easy and find comfort knowing that she is in a better place and at peace.
God Bless You.


Okay. The other thing to anyone who is reading this post and wondering.

Itís the three rule of three.
* three min. without air.
*three days without water
*three weeks without food.

This is an average time for a healthy person. You may give or take just a little depending on the individuals condition.

DebiG 06-18-2006 12:13 PM

Re: How long can someone survive without food?
Hi All

Just a note to say that we have had yet more tragedy! Today (Fathers Day) my Grandad died. My Mum found him this morning in his chair, just peacefully "asleep".

I guess he couldn't live without Nan but we all thought we'd have a little time with him before this happened. I think he died of a broken heart!

We are all devastated by his death and are in shock with the speed in which it happened ( just 4 days after Nanna's funeral).

I just thought that i'd let you know and wondered if anyone else had had this happen to them.

God Bless...

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