April 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm #60232pamelaParticipant
What an informative post. Thank you so much. It is very tough to think about, but I so believe that knowledge is power. Thanks again for the thoughtful post.
Love, -PamApril 27, 2012 at 1:15 am #60231
Tom did the same thing. He passed on a sunday but on Saturday he was alert and talking. His daughter and her husband were here, putting the lights on the two Christmas trees. He wanted two trees last year, one on each side of the fireplace. He neve got to see them decorated, but he did get to see them with the lights on. That surge of energy lasted most of the day and he was very alert.
The next day was a complete turn around, and as the day progressed I kne hat the end was near. He passed about 3 hours after my daughter Kathie and her husband Kent and their two children arrived. On Saturday he commented, “I can’t go yet, I haven’t see Kathie, Kent, Kaylah and Kole”. he was in a coma like state but I really believe that he knew that they had arrived and that it was OK for him to go to his eternal rest. He knew that I was not alone.
MargaretApril 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm #60230gavinModerator
Thanks so much for your post. Much of what you posted is what my dad went through and I can so remember the part about the 1 -2 days and the surge of energy and wanting to eat something, sit up and see visitors etc. Thanks once again for this.
GavinApril 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm #60229
Thanks Pam and Margaret. When Teddy ‘picked’ it was very slowly and calmly and he was still aware of us around him. He catually started picking about 2 weeks prior.
When you talk about hearing…I’d like to repeat this one:
The day Teddy passed he lay there almost the whole time with his eyes open but blank. I would lean over and tell him I loved him and it was OK to go to his Peace. He would hold his hand up as if to say stop. About an hour before he Passed, I again told him and he put his hands to his ears and plugged them with his fore fingers! He was not ready. Then Robin (my daughter) called the 2 Grandsons who were at home and told them Papa was passing and he called their names but it was ok that they didn’t have to come. 15 minutes later they walked in the door (they were 15 and 17) and Robin said, “Papa, Kyle and Brandon are here”. Teddy passed 3 minutes later. I felt he didn’t want Robin and me to be totally alone and she felt he was always teaching the kids life’s lessons and this was his final lesson to them. It was awesome.April 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm #60228cherbourgParticipant
re: picking at sheets and clothes…
“Terminal restlessness” is the term I’ve heard. From my reading about 80 percent of patients will experience this. Some of it may be due to comfort issues like a full bladder, a bed sore or medication side effects but there may not be any physical reason. In some cases something such as a seditive may be prescribed. We were also given something for the rattling sound which helped.
My Mom followed Margaret’s flow chart exactly. Remember that hearing is one of the last senses to go. I remember whispering in her ear that we would be ok and loved her…..that it was ok to go….. That seemed to calm her and within a few moments she had left our loving arms and moved into her heavenly father’s arms.
These are precious moments you are living…..
Jose, we are all here for you!
PamApril 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm #60227
Lainy: No I do not unless it’s part of the dis-orientation? It did not explain that in my little booklet.April 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm #60226
Margaret, that was a perfect post! Teddy too followed it almost to a T. I hope you keep that and use it on here now and then. Very helpful and to the point. I do have one question, my own curiosity, do you know why the picking of the sheets and clothes?April 26, 2012 at 11:40 am #60225
I am not sure if this is the word. I would say “impressive” in Spanish because this made me think about all of this. I certainly recognise some of these signs during my dad’s death. However, in my sister, what predominates now is a permanent anguish. My mom is also sick, with Alzheimer and I see some of these behaviours, particularly the lack of interest in TV, newspapers, etc and the loss of appetite. Now she has to face what is happening to her daughter which is so unfair. But I have to tell her; I think she has the right to know.
HugsApril 26, 2012 at 5:20 am #60224
This may help and give some insight. I received a little booklet called ‘Gone from my sight, the dying experience’ by Barbara Karnes.
This is only a guideline, nothing is concrete, all is very, very flexible. Death comes in its own time, in its own way. Death is as unique as the individual who is experiencing it.
Changes begin 1 – 3 months before death occurs. The actual dying process begins within the two weeks prior to death. There is a shift that occurs within a person that takes them from a mental processing of death to a tru comprehension and belief in their own mortality. Unfortunately, this understanding is not alway shared with others.
One to two months prior to death: Withdrawal
This is the beginning of seperation, first from the world. No more interest in newspapers or TV, then from people, no more visitors then children, grandchildren and perhaps even those person most loved.
This is becoming a time of withdrawing from everything outside of one’s self and going inside. Inside where there is sorting out, evaluating one’s self and one’s life. But inside there is only room for one.
This processing of one’s life is usually done with the eyes closed, so sleep increases. A morning nap is added to the usual afternoon nap. Staying in bed all day and spending more time asleep than awake becomes the norm. Know that important work is going on inside on a level of which ‘outsiders’ aren’t aware.
With this withdrawal comes less of a need to communicate. Words connect to the physical life that is being left behind. Words lose their importance, touch and wordlessness take on more meaning.
Energizes our bodies, it is the way we keep our body going. We eat to live. When a body is preparing to die, it is perfectly natural that eating should stop. This is one of the hardest concepts for a family to accept.
There is a gradual decrease in eating habits. Nothing tasts good. Cravings come and go. Liquids are preferred to solids. Meats are the first to go, followed by vegetables and other hard to digest foods, until even soft food are no longer eaten.
It is okay not to eat. A different kind of energy is needed now. A spiritual energy, not a physical one, will sustain from here on.
1 – 2 weeks prior to death:
Sleeping is most of the time now. A person can’t seem to keep their eyes open. They can, however, be awakened from that sleep. There is literally one foot in each world. A person often becomes confused, talking to people, and about places and events that are unknown to others. They may see and converse with loved ones who have died before them. There may be picking at the bedclothes and have agitated arm movements. There is a seemiing aimlessness to all physical activity. Focus is changing from this world to the next; thery are losing their grounding to earth.
There are beginning changes that show the physical body is losing its ability to maintain itself.
The blood pressure often lowers
Changes in the pulse beat, either increasing from a normal of 80 to upward of 150 or decreasing anywhere down to zero.
The body temperature fluctuates between fever and cold
Ther is increased perespiration, often with clamminess
The skin color changes: flushed with fever, bluish with cold. A pale yellowish pallor often comes with approaching death. (not jaundice) The nail beds, hands and feet are often pale and bluish because the heart can’t circulate the blood through the body at a normal flow.
Breathing changes also occur. Respiration may increase from a normal 16 – 20 to upwards of 40-50 breaths every minute, or decrease to 9 or even 6 breaths a minute. There can be a puffing, a blowing of the lips on exhaling, or actual stopping of the rhythmic breathing only to resume. This generally occurs during sleep. Congestion can also occur, a rattly sound in the lungs and upper throat. May be coughing, but nothing can be brought up. All breathing changes come and go. One minute, any or all of these symptoms can be present, the next minute, breathing may be clear and even.
One to two days, to hours prior to death:
Sometimes there is a surge of energy. A person my talk clearly and alertly when before there had been disorientation. A favorite meal might be asked for and eaten when nothing had been eaten for days. A person might sit and visit when they hadn’t wanted to be with anyone for quite a while. The spiritual energy for transition from this world to the next has arrived and it is used for a tiime of physical expression before moving on. The surge of energy is not always as noticable as the examples, but in hindsight, it can usually be recognized.
The one to two weeks’ signs that were present earlier become more intense as death approaches.
Restlessness can further increase due to lack of oxygen in the blood.
The breathing patterns become slower and more irregular. Breathing often stops for 10 – 15 and even 30 – 45 seconds before resuming.
Congestion can be very loud. It can be affected by positionin on one side or the other. it still comes and goes.
The eyes may be open or semi-open but not seeing. There is a glassy look to them, often tearing.
The hands and feet now become purplish. The knees, ankles and elbows are blotchy. The underside of the arms, legs, back and buttocks also can be blotchy.
Generally a person becomes non-responsive (unable to respond to their environment) sometime prior to death.
How we approach death is going to depend upon our fear of life, how much we participated in that life, and how willing we are to let go of this unknown expression to venture into a new one. Fear and unfinished business are two big factors in determining how much resistance we put into meeting death.
The seperation becomes complete when breathing stops. What appears to be the last breath is often followed by one or two long spaced breaths and then the physical body is empty. The owner is no longer in need of a heavy, nonfunctioning vehicle.
They have entered a new city, a new life.
Summary of guidelines:
1 – 3 months:
Withdrawal from the world and people
decreased food intake
increase in sleep
going inside self
1 – 2 weeks:
talking with the unseen
picking at clothes
decreased blood pressure
pulse increase or decrease
skin color changes; pale/bluish
sleeping but responding
complaints of body tired and heavy
not eating, taking little fluids
body temperature: hot/cold
Days or hours:
intensification of one to two weeks’ signs
surge of energy
decrease in blood pressure
eyes glassy, tearing, half open
irregular breathing: stop/start
restlessness or no activity
purplish, blothcy knees, feet, hands
pulse weak and hard to find
decreased urine output
may wet or stool the bed
‘fish out of water’ breathing
cannot be awakened
As I look back and reflect on the last days of my husband Tom’s life, all of these things were present, at the times this booklet says they would be. I hope this information can be of some help to those facing the loss of a loved one.
Go with God, Love and Hugs,
MargaretApril 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm #60223
Thanks for your support. I have this list already. I will try at the first chance I have to talk to the doctor. Thanks a lot. It’s very touching. I’ll keep you updated.
JoseApril 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm #60222cherbourgParticipant
Hang in there! I know how it feels to be devastated. Try and jot a list of questions you have for the Doctor. It’s easier to work from a list. Then make sure your questions get answered.
I’m sending hugs and prayers to you! Your sister is very lucky to have you in her corner!
PamApril 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm #60221
Thank you very much… I feel devastated now. Thanks for your support
JoseApril 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm #60220marionsModerator
Jose….the physician mentioned that “fever can” be a sign of imminent passing however; you must await the absolute answer to this. Often time’s elevated temperatures can be caused by other circumstances also. Only the physician will be able to determine this.
As a general rule: a very high fever can occur in the last stages of liver cancer. Additionally I have learned that toward the end a person looses the ability to regulate the body temperature. This pertains to all people in the last stages of life.
You should know real soon. Know that a tidal wave of good wishes is heading your way.
Hugs and love,
MarionApril 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm #60219
Not sure again but the fever could then be from the Chemo. Teddy never had Chemo. I don’t understand why the ONC would make a statement that the fever means she is getting near the end. Why would he then continue chemo?April 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm #60218
Sorry, my previous post is wrong, my syster has received already four cycles of quemo and not one as I said.
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