Topic: Expected end of life symptoms?
posted 02-19-2008 12:15 PM
My mom has squamous cell lung cancer, and I have hospice here at home for her. She had the upper lobe of her left lung removed a year ago August, but since then, the cancer has returned and grown at a lymph node beneath the surgery site. I'm wondering if any of you can tell me if agitation is a common occurrence at the end life stage of this disease? Especially at night, she gets figety, and tries to crawl over the bed rails of her hospital bed. Can someone please talk to me about this?
posted 02-19-2008 10:38 PM
I think everyone is different really... It may be a person's state of mind at the time. I know with my father, he was pretty peaceful. But then he was always a fairly calm person.
I would say that if hospice has been called in, then it could be any time. Stay close and give your mother lots of love. This is a very hard time and we are here for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you Jeanne.
posted 02-21-2008 08:41 AM
If hospice is here, ask one of the nurses.
she should be able to give you some insight as to what the end will be like.
As far as hospice being there at the end, my Mom had hospice for over a year before she passed away.
They were very good and tried to give me lots of info to better help me in the end.
posted 02-28-2008 08:08 AM
Hello Jeanne and welcome.
I am sorry I didn't respond sooner.. When an individual is in end of life stages, their bodily functions slowly begin to close down.
From what loved ones and Hospice explained to me is that the flailing is not abnormal... many patients throw their arms up and down... some of it is from a restless response... were you able to find out more from Hospice?
Please let us know how you and your mom are doing.
posted 02-28-2008 09:49 AM
Thank you for your replies. They were very helpful. Hospice is here with mom, but haven't really been able to give me more than just general answers to my questions. I started mom on morphine two nights ago, and she's more comfortable now. Her eyes are always half closed - even when sleeping, her legs and arms are usually cold - but the rest of her body is warm. She doesn't speak, stand, walk or feed herself, and is completely incontinent. Her vital signs are stable: regular pulse and moderately low blood pressure. I'm hoping that this information will be familiar to one of you, so you can guide me to know what is next?
Thank you so much for your help.
posted 02-29-2008 12:36 AM
I am glad your mother is resting more peacefully...
We have a number of excellent articles in the caregiving articles section of the site under death & dying. You can also read about others and what they have shared here at the boards under death & dying as well.
this first two articles answers many questions you may be having:
I am not sure if you are ready to go there, but if you believe that the soul lives on, there are also many wonderful articles to help you help both your mother and yourself on these levels to heal as she moves closer to her transition.
Reading books on death and dying can inform you further of the processes.. how to be fully present with your mom and at peace with her... creating a loving environment even though she may not seem alert. Her soul is aware of all that is happening...
If you need more information, you can read into the other articles here at the site or perhaps research some of the books that may strike you at the suggested reading area here at the site at:
please keep us posted.. we are here for you.. blessings
posted 02-29-2008 05:20 PM
My mom also had cancer which started in her colon and spread throughout her body to other organs. She passed away last November. I had hospice care from last September until she passed. She too was unable to stand or walk and was completely incontinent. I was her primary caregiver for 11 months. On the day my mom passed away, the hospice nurse gave me a book called "Gone From My Sight". I wish I had gotten a copy of that book sooner. It tells you what signs to look for toward the end of life. If you would like a copy of it, I would be more than happy to send it to you. You may email me privately if you want. Towards the end, my mom stayed in one position, could not feed herself or even drink from a straw. She could not even lift a plastic spoon. She was seeing my grandmother in the bedroom (my grandmother passed away in 1999). She would talk to people she saw in the bedroom and see things that weren't there. When I questioned hospice about these things, they told me it was probably side effects from her medication. I now know these are signs of the coming of the end. She would cry out in pain when she had to be moved to be changed or washed. The hospice nurse said she was having muscle spasms in her legs and that was what was causing the pain. My mom was taking a lot of different medications towards the end including valium, liquid oxycodone and a few others. I knew it was time the day my mom passed. She was very restless and her breathing was very erratic. At 4:00 AM that day she was having a lot of trouble breathing. At 8:00 AM she was still breathing erratic but was unresponsive to me at that point. I hope your mom is resting comfortably and that you are doing ok. Please let me know if you would like a copy of the book I mentioned.
This website is a tremendous help - even though I don't post often - just reading through the posts lets you know you are not alone and a lot of people are going through the same thing and many share the same feelings.
posted 03-01-2008 06:33 PM
I am sorry to hear of the loss of your mother... it is good to know that you have found support here at the site... support is still so vitally important after our loved ones transition... richest blessings
posted 03-01-2008 07:33 PM
I am writing to say thank you to all of you for your kind replies. Mom is now in a coma, and my sister is here with me. This truly is the saddest time of my life, as I'm one of those life time singles who chose to remain home with parents, to be here to take care of them. I lost my dad seven years ago, and now mom is about to leave too. And so, at least for now, I seem lost and wondering how I'm ever going to go on. But I will - a day at a time.
Thank you again for all of your replies to my original posting, and I'll keep in touch.
posted 03-01-2008 08:09 PM
Sending lots of loving prayers your way for a gentle healing and for your mom to transition peacefully... Just talk to her gently and tell her everything you may not have told her... her soul will know you are present and she will know...
I am pleased to hear that your sister is with you as well.
It's very healing to talk with her.. telling her of all the wonderful and dear things you remember and cherish.. to share any thoughts if necessary of forgiveness.. and telling her it is okay for her to let go...
I truly understand the lost feelings.. it was and still is like being orphaned as an adult.. and while it may be difficult to comprehend.. your life will move forward.. and if there are lessons we learn from our loved ones, it's to make sure we choose to live our lives more fully...
Please keep us posted... blessings...