What signs are there that the end is near?
My mom is in hospice right now because she has an artery closing up. She has congestive heart failure and two aneurysms that are inoperable. She is 89 years-old. Are there symptoms of the closing to look for? Every time she has a stomach ache or a pain, my first thought is of the two aneurysms. What will be signs that the end is near? Thank You.
Frequently, families ask what to expect when the end is near for their loved one. You mention that your mother has congestive heart disease, a condition that is defined as the inability of the heart to supply adequate pressure and volume to important organs of the body, the most important being the heart itself. While this disease begins in either the right or left side of the heart, eventually both sides will become affected.
Usually, there is a lot of fluid retention that can cause swelling of the lower extremeties, or in the lungs. There can be difficulty breathing, much fatigue, as well as numerous other signs and symptoms. Since, your mother has other conditions such as the aneurysms, I will address the things we see as people near death that can be applied to the dying process in general.
Physical signs that death is near include changes in the mental status like increased periods of sleeping, decreased consciousness, and physical withdrawal. The urine can become more concentrated, the skin may feel cool, breathing becomes more difficult, and the person becomes incontinent of urine and/or bowels.
Breathing changes can occur; regular breathing may become irregular with periods of shallow breaths and also periods of 5 to 30 seconds of no breathing, up to 1 minute, which is known as Cheyne-Stokes breathing. You may hear wet, noisy breathing which can be alliviated by repositioning and by special medications that help decrease the secretions. Usually apnea, which is defined as no breathing, occurs for short periods and becomes longer as death approaches.
If your mother is not having pain at this time, she may not experience pain as death draws near. If she is having pain, her medications to help relieve it should be continued. Overall, managing her symptoms, and pain if present, should be the goal now.
Trying to enjoy this time with your mother, concentrating on what she can still do, is most important now. The hospice team will assist you in caring for her and keeping her comfortable. That is what we mean by comfort care. Our entire philosophy centers around a peaceful life closure with dignity and respect.
I have been witness to my Father's death at age 53 and to my 12 year old son's death. In both cases the doctors who were caring for them were taken by surprise! My son's doctor wanted me to transfer him to another Hospital where they had a treatment that might help him. I was told they wouldn't have a bed for 3 days but, said his Onclologist, he's not about to die. He died that afternoon! When I questioned my Pediatrician he just shrugged his shoulders.
My Dad died of cancer about 2 years ago and then my mother died just last November. About 24 to 48 hours before they died the feet and hands started to darken and then the back and tailbone later on. Someone said that it was the blood pooling as the organs or the body is shutting down. After I witnessed my dads death, and then when my mother died I pretty much knew when my moms hands and veins started turning almost a black that she only had a couple of days left. I didn't want her to be alone when she died and I stayed with her for 3 nights and on the morning of the 3rd night she just stopped breathing. I hope this might help you but I'm not sure with the congestive heart failure. My deepest sympathy and my heart goes out to you and your family!
God wanted your Son,you can't go by these Doctors/ Just know that your Son is Proud of you and loves you very much and is watching over you. Not that ,that is any comfort to you but I always want my Husband to be Proud of the way I am carring on knowing he is right beside me. My Husband passed away 7 months ago. Know that your Son is with your Dad andf with Jesus. Get the book Glimpses of Heaven by Trudy Harris its a Beautiful book and she was a hospice Nurse for 22 years and an RN for 50 . The true Stories in that book are of the people that were passing ,its Beautiful Blessing to you stay strong Peggy
My Mom died of congestive heart failure at 90 and I can share with you the things that happened up to the end. She was in a nursing home when we had her evaluated by Hospice who told us she most likely had about two more weeks to live accordidng to her condition and their history with death from this. So we decided to take her home (my sister's house) so that we could be with her every minute, and it was the most wonderful decision we could have made. Hospice helped us prepare a room for her and have the supplies on hand that we would need to give her the best possible care we could. The first week was great, our brother flew in from Ma and visited with her for several days, I was able to go from Az to stay the duration and my other two sisters live near by so she had all of us near. We talked to her about our childhoods individually and she answered questions for us and talked about her childhood, her mother, brothers and sisters and her childhood dreams, one of which was to jump out of planes (big surprise needless to say), that she loved to draw and wanted to be an artist, etc.... things she had never mentioned before. I asked her if she was disappointed now that the end was near that she had not done those things and with the most radiant smile she said "no" because i got all of you instead. I guess God thought I would be a better mother than anything else; and she was. We talked about the people she would get to see again when she entered heaven and we even asked her if she could, to deliver messages to them from us. Of course she did not embrace the idea of death and leaving us, but she knew it was coming and seemed to be comforted by us being able to talk about it and tell her how much we would miss her. Of the other loved ones that had already died, it was never where we could say goodbye while they were still alert or with us. My Mom was very much a soft lady and we were able to treat as such while she could still get out of bed. We set the table in the best China and Crystal, even if she was only able to take a couple of bites it showed her we still respected her dignity and grace. She was embarrassed by her cathater bag, so we hung her Louie Vitton purse on the wheel chair and put it in it which gave her a really big laugh. She said the designer would probably drop dead if they knew what the purse was being used for. We let her sit up (out of the bed) when she felt like it and showed no concern when she was ready to lay back down. Just acted as if all of this was the normal day. I tell you this part so that you can see a way that you can have a time with your mother that will forever be so special to you and will help you when the end starts to come and then does come. The last 4 days Mother began to sleep a lot more and talked alot in her sleep. There were times when she seemed to be reliving things that had happened in her life. She gradually had more pain, which we relieved with medication, she ate less and less and could not tell what she was eating as her taste seemed to disappear. At one point thinking water was coffee. She startedd to retain more fluids, with her feet, ankles, legs and face swelling the most. Her urine became darker and there was much less of it. The night before she died she asked to go potty and she almost completely filled the bedside commode with fecis. it was as though her entire digestive system emptied. She slept most of the day she died with most of her conversations being with people that were not present or even living. She had been talking to one brother in particular that had been dead for several years, at one time even saying, "oh no, not now, I don't won't to go now". It seemed that she talked to him everyday until the end. Even though we had all assumed our oldest brother, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1956, would be the one to escort to heaven it turned out to be her oldest brother. About 9:00 pm she opened her eyes and looked to an area of the room where no one was standing and called his name and said is it time now? Then she looked around the room at everyone, smiled and said ok, took a very labored deep breath and closed her eyes. She did not speak again, open her again or speak of pain again. Her heart did not completely stop beating for about another hour and a half. Enough time for us to hold her, kiss her, tell her how much we loved her while life was still there and then she simply stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating. She had left with her brother to be with her mother, sisters, beloved son and grandson (my son,who had also been killed by a drunk driver at the same age as her son). To sing with the angels and rejoice in her reunion with God and His Beloved Son, Jesus. She is there to look over us and try as she always did to keep us on the narrow path. She is there for us to talk to anytime we want to and listens without interutions. Her wisdom will always be with us and love can be felt in the embrace of those WE love. The physical being that was my Mother left that night, but she will live forever in my heart, my beliefs, my actions and the love I share with others. I so hope I have helped you in some small way to know when the end may be near (though no one can tell you for sure), but most of all I hope I have helped you in a big way to see TODAY and what you can share with your mother, and not miss it because you are looking for the end. I will remember you both in my prayers and hope she has a peaceful passing and you a peaceful acceptance. With Understanding and love Phyllis Goodhart
I really don't have an answer to the question; I only wanted to say that Phyllis Goodhart's letter was beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. My husband is in stage iv lung cancer; this has been a nightmare for our family for the last 6 months. Thank You Phyllis for sharing your story with us. God Bless You......L Brown
My mother is 82, and we just recently brought her home from a nursing home, she has spinal stenosis of the spine so she has her days where her legs work enough and days where they won't do nothing. She has always been the best mom a family could have and I THANK GOD for giving her to us. Since she has been home which has been just a few days her mind just hasn't been the best and her ankles and feets swell and turn real dark. We worry what is causing this, I know she has conjestive heart failure but hse is on Lasix. I worry on what we should do. She is livinf with my sister who is just down the road from me. Has anyone else had this and what can we do. She has adoctor appointment this coming Tuesday.
Another area to watch as well as swelling, sleeping for longer periods as well is call "motling". This is where discoloration comes into the nails/toenails. They seem to darken and can sometimes at the toenails move upwards. You wont' see that pinky color of a normal persons' nails, its almost a grey in color. However this doesnt mean that she could actually go right then, it is a sign of coming to the end. As well if she is bedridden, if she has slid down in the bed be careful as to how you move her up. Its an area that many dont' think of but when moved you can actually cut off the airway. If at this point she is taking in fluids, eating even a little does give some hope. If she seems in and/out alot sleepwise, dont' hesitate to check those nails. If you see the motling you wont' forget it, believe me. I have seen it so many times during my years of work that its just something that stays with you. As well when someone is near death, it is so much easier for you to take that persons' hand, talk to them and tell them it okay to let go. Sometimes' they need to hear that from either you or possibly a family member that she may not have seen in sometime. There a reasons' for them to hold on. I know it is hard to do but rest assure her that everything is fine, she need not worry about anyone. This gives' them reassurance and peace of mind. Its' hard for anyone to say this to a parent especially but at least you know in your heart of hearts' that you did the right thing. Take care, dont' lay blame on yourself. I'm sure your mom has lived a wonderful life and she has you a wonderful daughter. You know you have done everything you possibly could have. When she leaves' feel the peace within yourself and know that she has gone to a better place. My prayers are with you.
God bless her and stay close to her, this will ease her mind if or when she has end stage anxiety, which I found to be quite often. I have worked with oncology patients for 7-8 years, and the anxiety can be overwhelming and close family and reassure the patient.
I've heard that patients often take out their false teeth when the end is near. Does anyone else know anything about this? Thanks
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My husband age 82 has severe spinal stenosis and chf; this past year has been the worst....the pain is severe;keeps him from walking more than 5 feet; can't stand more than 26 seconds. Shortness of breath has gotten worse, he is just starting to use oxygen at night. We try to keep a normal routine...and when he needs to nap , no problem. He worked hard all his life and feels guilty that now all he wants to do is nap and can't even sweep the porch. We are getting a scooter so he can go to the flea markets and look around; go to the mall and check out the stores, which he hasn't been able to do for 1 year. The biggest thing is assuring him that it is okay to take it easy and do only what he is capable of doing. We do wonder how many years are left....but then again none of us really know how long we have to love and live.
My father died of CHF three months ago and to be completely honest..... there are no signs that the end is near. The symptoms that they already have (the fatigue, the shortness of breath, the swelling, the lack of sleeping) becomes much worse, almost unbearable. But, for him the end was SCA (sudden cardiac arrest). Most people with CHF, over 40%, usually die from either pump failure of sudden cardiac arrest. With my father, he was just sitting on the couch and suddenly started groaning, making bubbles with his mouth, and then he went unconcious. That was it. I believe he went pretty quickly and that he wasnt in any pain, which brings me the most comfort. But, with sufferers of this disease, it is pretty hard to watch them get worse over a matter of years. My advice, cherish every passing day with them, because you never know when it will be their last!!
Hi everyone my name is Christopher and my father passed away at 53 from heart disease. His heart conditions came from over use of drugs and booze. I watched this man drink himself and do drugs to his death. My father was having bouts of conversation with unknown people in the room. The hardest part was watching his turn a grey color and well as his finger nails loss the pink into them. It's hard to predict the end as everyone is different. All anyone can do is tell the story of the losing of there loved one. As I type this this morning I to suffer from stage 4 bone cancer. I looked up this topic because I want to prepare my kids that daddy loves them. It breaks my heart to see the tears roll down my beautiful daughters face ages 7 and 11. My. Family is my world but god has other plans for me , my kids don't understand that I understand where there are coming from as I won't ever walk either down the ulter to hand them off. But if you one in my shoes and are asking the queston just be honest with your kids they are human just like us no need to lie to them about the dying process. It's what every. Human will face in there lifetime. But always assure your dying loved one its ok to let go. I kept begging for my father not to leave me he Hung on for me. But I had a sence of peace of peace run over me it felt as my passed away members all have hugs. But when I kiss my father for the time and whispered in his ear its ok to let go daddy his eyes began to flutter and he began to hum. It was the hardest thing to deal with but I know ill be putting my kids and wife through it. It's going to be a hard pill to swollow but gods ready for me to come god bless all of you wonderful people.
PLEASE people, if you can read a book call "Embraced by the Light" written by Betty J Eadie. Its about her journey of death and back. You will find so much peace, and will have no fear of death. The key is in beliveing. If you believe, there is EVERYTHING, and if you dont believe..then there is nothing.
God Bless you all.
Phyllis Goodhart's answer was beautiful. I relived my mother's death when I read it. A few months ago I lost my dad......he slept his way into heaven and I found him on a Sunday morning. He had Chf but there was no indication that he was going to die. I beat myself up, wondering if I missed something which would have helped him. I discussed this with our cardiologist and he said there would have been nothing I could have done and that he felt nothing at the moment of death.......he slept through it. I am still trying to get beyond the grief to the precious memories.
Loss of appetite.
Phyllis...My husband passed in Jan. Your letter was so helpful to me, and I want to say how beautiful it was. You are a beautiful soul, I can see that, and I'm so sure your mother is with Jesus. Among other things I said to my husband before he passed was that I was envious of the fact that he was about to actually meet Jesus Christ! That conversation happened on the day he decided not to have radiation and let nature take her course. We sobbed for a long time together...then we talked. A LOT. God bless you hun, and thank you for sharing your experience.
My maternal grandmother is 96 - not had anything to eat since the past many days - only having drops of water for the past 1 week. her body is cold , no urine output - she is passing stools continously - she has bed sores - which are painful - and tears flow from her eyes when it pains her a lot.
All the above answers were helpful - because I could not u'stand why she is not even having water - she is nearing death - it's just a question of when now............ I love her so much - i can't take her out of my mind for the past few days (she's away in another city) . I'm going to visit in another 4 days and can be with her only for 3 days! I hate myself - for not being able to spend more time with her! I just hope she passes away peacefully and soon without any further suffering!
I lost my mom in January 2013 to CHF; she was 77 years old. In addition to CHF, she was also suffering from mild dementia, a result of several TIAs. While on all of her meds, she was confused a lot and her appetite was virtually nonexistent. When we started Hospice about a month before she died, all meds were stopped except those for pain. Her mind actually became more clear and her appetite returned somewhat. It was at this time that she started commenting on her parents and siblings, all whom had already passed, being in the room with her. The way she talked about and to them, I knew she was surrounded by them. I took comfort in knowing they were there, ready to help her pass over when the time came. It was at this time that she also started doing hand motions while she was asleep, or at least it appeared like she was sleeping. She was definitely not awake. She would move her hands and fingers like she was sewing or drinking a cup of tea. The movements were so exact that you could almost see the tea cup she was holding. I had never heard of this before but since have read that this is like a state where she has one part of her body here on earth and the other part in the next world. It sometimes happens when death is near.
Oh, and a word about Hospice. We had never had the need for Hospice before and this was the first time we worked with them. As Mom had CHF for several years, we were in "life saving" mode every time she suffered a medical emergency. It was really hard at first to wrap my brain around making her comfortable in her last days and not give her the medication that would have previously been prescribed to prolong her life. For me it was an awakening of sorts; I realized that my time with her was now very short. It was ok to admit that she was dying and that she was not going to recover. As a result, I spent every moment I could with her. She and I had quality time together, just lying on her bed holding hands and talking about little things. I had no expectations of anything when I visited her; I just came to spend time with her. We were both able to say I love you many times which is something I will treasure always.
My Mom was a very religious person but she was afraid to die. It was a subject we did not dwell on because it would upset her. When she asked if she was dying I didn't lie to her but instead told her that everyone eventually dies and God would take when she was ready. The night before she died she told my sister that she was now ready, that she was ok with leaving. She was suffered a fatal heart attack early the next morning. I am still very much grieving. Just when I think I have it together, something will be said or I will see something that reminds me of her and I'm right back where I was in January. I know it's a process that I have to work through. It's comforting to know others who have gone through it too are there to listen when I need to talk.
My father is currently very close to death. He is 80 1/2 years old. He has suffered with CHF for years now. It started with the lower legs swelling and getting red. If they became brown and warm they would rush him to the hospital as he was with sepsis. But he made it around OK, and was doing the best he could. Eventually you could see the disease start to take its toll. He would have low O2 levels and would get weak and fall. From the different medications, he developed onion skin. When he would fall he would tear large areas of his skin and need to be in the hospital for a few weeks to get stabilized and have the wounds cared for to the point he could go home. The bleeds were deep in his small intestine and caused by the medications for the CHF that were giving him the onion skin. These events would happen about every 6 or 7 months and then he would be fine.
He went on like this for several years and we just accepted it as part of dealing with the condition. Then over the last two years we saw a marked increase in the number and frequency of incidents. My mom is frail and could not lift him. She always had to call EMT ambulance services and they would hoist him up and off to the hospital. The frequency went from 6 or 7 months to 30 days or less. It was obvious his condition was getting worse. We placed him into a rehabilitation home a few months ago and they did wonders for him. I had never seen him look so good. They had the swelling down, his energy up, and medications stabilized. They finally released him after 6 weeks there. He was so happy to be back home in his own room with his TV and lift chair.
Sadly, this lasted only 3 weeks before he swelled up and became weak and fell again. The main problem was the severe swelling was causing him to lose the feeling in his legs and feet. A return to the hospital for a few weeks, and they were having difficulty getting the swelling in the legs to go down. I knew he was getting worse and started to wonder when they would get to the pivot point where the medications would no longer control the fluid build up. We decided to send him to a nursing home as he needed constant monitoring of his condition, and mom could not handle him alone. Unfortunately this new home was poor in that regard and they had to evacuate him to the hospital after only 2 weeks. He was swelled up like the Michelin man. The worse I had ever seen him. His legs were huge, his torso was bulging out in layers and his neck, face and hands were puffed out. He was in the hospital for a month again. This time they again could not get his legs to go down to normal, they remained stiff and full of fluids.
He did not have fluids on his lungs or heart, so we placed him in a nursing home rehabilitation center. It one was a nice place, very nice people, clean, and lots of stuff for him to do. He cried a lot the first week or so there as he wanted to go home. We discussed this option, but it would prove illogical as he needed constant medical monitoring and a home nurse was expensive. He eventually made a few friends there and would go eat his meals in the dining hall with other people. But he was depressed and did not like to watch TV, any more. He loved to watch sports on TV, so this was a change.
Then last Saturday we visited him and noticed he was swelling in the left hand and neck again. The staff knew of this and a slight weight gain from fluid retention. Their doctors examined him and wanted to start a Lasix IV to try to head this off. He was sent to his room on Monday from PT as he could not move he was so weak. Mom said he was puffed up in the face and could not talk on Monday from the sudden fluid build up. I visited later in the day and he looked OK but was having difficulty speaking. He also developed a twitch in his hands that prevented him from holding his shaver or a phone. This alarmed the house doctor who had increased his Lasix so she called in another doctor for a consultation. They both agreed that he should go to the hospital that this was not getting better with the limited facilities they had. I had visited him Tuesday and he seemed fine but still had that twitch.
Late Tuesday they transported him to the hospital. They were administering the Lasix by IV, but he was tired and wanted to sleep all the time. The twitch was caused by his electrolytes being off due to the high doses of Lasix. This was a catch 22 as if they gave him potassium it negates the effectiveness of the Lasix. I was hoping with the hospital attention that he would be improving like he had done in the past. I visited yesterday afternoon, and was saddened to see he was now swelled up all over his body again. He is lethargic and wants to sleep all the time. His urine output is low and its dark. With the Lasix he should be urinating more frequently and producing more volume.
I left crying as I walked to my truck. I can see he is slipping away. He is swelling, he is sleeping all the time. He has no interest in activities, and he is hardly producing urine for all the Lasix he is getting. The signs are that he has reached the point where the Lasix is no longer able to counter the affects of the condition and he is dying. So I am waiting for the dreaded call, and crying in fits as I wait. He is on my mind a lot of course. I'm not sure when the end will be, but my sense is that it is close.
My grandma just died of it this morning :(((( She had an aneurism 2months ago and had an emergency operation. she started to have fluids in her lungs because of the heart failure and breath eith a lot of difficulty. afew days ago, she was mostly sleeping and talking while sleeping... she started to be too tired for anything and didnt wanted to eat, didnt have any craving... she was tired just for being awake and could barely talk without telling us how exausted she was.... yesterday, she slept the whole days and breath making more noise ( like asthma) and was warmer than usual... we spoke a bit and she felt back asleep saying shes suffering just to breath.... even with oxygen givin and ventolin meds to open her respitaey system .... and her heart rate started to be very unstable this morning... and she died 30-40 min after. :'( , .... i wasnt there at her last moment and i feel guilty of not being there as she mustve been so scared when it all happend... she was 85
I just want to thank you all. In the past few months, desperate for information, I have returned to read this site again and again. My heart goes out to each of you, your families and friends. May it give you some sense of solace that you have been a cherished guide and information source unrivaled. My heartfelt appreciation, thoughts and prayers go out to all involved. Thank you!
And commonfan, please do not feel guilty about not being there! An incredibly high number of people pass away once they are alone or very nearly alone. I wish you great peace.
My mom is in late stages of heart failure and will go home with hospice care tomorrow. Many of your answers are beautiful and I envy the good time you spent with your loved ones. My mom and I had a great relationship until she declined in her illnesses about 3 years ago. She has become a complaining and demanding person and it is hard to be with her. She exaggerates her symptoms, not only to family and friends but to medical professionals and refuses to do the things required to help her condition. If you have had an experience similar to this or have any advice I appreciate your replies. Please pray from me and my family as I will for you.
My 88 yr old sister is going into the last stages of CHF. It is going to be really hard for her two daughters to deal with. I have lost my parents, of course, and both brothers and a sister so I am all too aware of the symptoms of impending death. Her face is starting to swell now and fluids are constantly bubbling up from her lungs. It is different for everyone but this will not be pleasant for her. I believe her Hospice doctor will be putting her on morphine today so she will at least not be in pain and hopefully sleep.
To a fellow caregiver: My dad has CHF and he's not following the dr.'s orders either. He drinks alcohol daily and doesn't take his meds as prescribed. He is constantly in/out of the hospital. Presently he is in ICU. He went to the hospital to get fluid drained from his lungs on Tuesday. Thursday night he flatlined and had to be given CPR. He has been having shortness of breath episodes. Today is Saturday and tests are being ran to see what's happening with his heart now. About 1 year ago his heart was pumping out about 25% of what it took in when a normal heart pumps out about 60%. I'm pretty sure it is much lower today. Even though he's noncompliant I enjoy every minute I have him with me. Enjoy your mother. I know caregiving is hard sometimes when the patient won't listen but don't set yourself up for living with regrets.
I'm in the UK, but my mother is currently 7 weeks in an NHS hospital with CHF. Its been a rollercoaster, one minute she is critical, next minute she is sitting up laughing - she is 83. She is due to be discharged on wednesday and coming to live with me - since entering hospital however, she can no longer walk although they manage to get her to the bedside chair. Her legs are huge and her left arm is also swollen but this varies She is on a huge cocktail of medications, digoxin. ramipril, nicorandil, furosemide (diuretic) and antidepressants and lorazepam for her anxiety about the breathlessness etc - the last few days she has turned a very pale grey colour and I notice the veins in her right hand are going dark and her hand looks very bruised - will check her nails - she has vascular dementia and spends every visit (we visit twice a day) telling us about all manner of animals around the ward, from birds to bugs, elephants, squirrels, cats and dogs - she has also become paranoid and thinks all sorts of plots are happening on the ward - she even accused me of trying to kill her!! - Its a hard and sad prcoess watching them decline - heartbreaking - I'm at the point where I'm hoping she passes soon to spare her any more suffering
I stumbled on this sight while searching for what may be in store for my husband. He is at "less than 15% EF" according to his cardiologist. He sleeps almost all the time and is so fatigued he can barely make it from the bedroom to the front room. I keep asking the drs. what I should watch out for and they tell me things like shortness of breath, etc. and he has everything they say but I just needed to know how I would know. We're only 10 days in to this mess and I don't know if the end is nearer than I think or what. I felt hopeful when they sent him home from the hospital but caring for him on my own, plus working full-time has me frazzled and unsure. The other evening, my husband was asleep on the couch and was carrying on a whole conversation with someone. I suspect it must be someone getting him ready to go...???? I guess. I don't know. The posting from Phyllis Goodheart helped me quite a bit. Thank you.
I just lost my best friend and soulmate 5 days ago to CHF. He had it for a few years and had trouble managing it over the last couple of years. I too saw the signs in the last couple of weeks, although never expected a massive heart attack would take him so soon. The lack of sleeping, shortness of breath, twitching, exhaustion were all present and sadly ended his life at the age of 64. Tomorrow is the scattering of his ashes and memorial. Don't take a single day for granted, for I'm learning firsthand tomorrow may not come.
I find all of these answers so helpful, more so than any doctor or hospice can tell me and I'm thankful for this resource. My Mom has been under hospice care for a few months and this week was moved to a hospice care facility. She has CHF and Pulmonary Hypertension. We can no longer keep up with the water retention and its a fine line between increasing dosage of water pills and keeping her kidneys functioning. She has the tremors in her hands now, talks in her sleep, frightened by her dreams, water blistering on her legs, trouble laying down as she can't breath, weaker everyday and is starting to get pains in her chest and feet. It is hard to watch her suffer. Dignity is a very important thing and I try to not have her eat alone in her room, make sure she has clothes that fit with all the swelling. I try to make her laugh and smile everyday, its all I can do.
My grandmother (95) is currently in a nursing facility following years of kidney/renal failure and congestive heart failure. She has been taking fuersomide (refused dialysis about two years ago as she didn't want to be dependent to dialysis). She has recently been twitching and doing the sewing thing (grasping things not there). She is in confusion much of the time. Last wk she told me that she met her deceased sister in New York. (Smile) She stopped eating last week. A couple days after not eating she quit drinking liquids. She has a Do Not Ressucitate so any sort of stomach tube nutrition is not an option. I know our time is limited and I'm happy to know she has talked about 'being ready' for about a year now. She has been a strong woman, one of the strongest I know. She lived by herself, kept an emaculate home, done her own laundry, cooked for herlf, etc until 2 mths ago. I'm happy to read here that others have seemed to see/talk to loved ones before their death as Gma has been doing this. How awesome that she is not truly alone in her world/state of mind.
My 79 year old mother just passed away 1-26-2015. She had CHF was diabetic and also had A fib. She fought the CHF for 8 years but it really got bad the last year of her life. We called hospice in right before Christmas, up until then she had been in a facility for rehab because she had gotten weak and was falling at home. She started having seizures about 3 months before she died. She was in a hospice facility so they could access her. I wanted to bring her home with me and my family, she had lived with us for the past 8 years until the nursing home. She had a very bad seizure the night before Christmas Eve, they called us in and though she might be getting ready to pass, but she came out of it. I was able to have her home with me and my family for 2 weeks and I noticed she was sleeping a lot and just declining. She got very confused and got up and fell one night, hospice had to take her back to a facility for crisis care. She just kept declining we were also called there at 5am one morning, they thought she was passing again but again she came out of it. She then had to go to the nursing home she had been before because hospice could not keep her there long term, the nursing home had to call hospice in for crisis care there and she died 3 days later on a very snowy night, I tried to get there but she passed 8 mins after they called me and it took me 45 mins to get there. The things I saw was she was cold all the time, sleeping a lot and confusion she kept trying to get up all the time. Hospice called it terminal agitation, she begged us for 3 days and nights to help her. It was so hard to watch, I could hardly stand it. She stopped eating and drinking a couple days before she died.and would just stare into the distance like she was seeing something or someone that we couldn't. Hospice stayed with her and tried to keep her comfortable until the end, unfortunately they only got her calmed down a couple hours before she died. I pray for peaceful passing for your Mother. I am still trying to deal with losing mine. So know what you are going thru. I know my mom is in heaven now and I will see again one day. Try to take care of yourself also. It is so very hard. Cherish every moment and don't leave anything unsaid. From what I have been told hearing is the last sense to go. God Bless you and your family.
I watched my mom die- and it was on a ventilator in a hospital. I have never gotten over it. It was gruesome, so later I became a Hospice Volunteer and worked with people who were not of the Christian faith or any faith. I always stressed letting the person die at home,and not in a hospital. Where i lived back then, they had home care and they also had an actual Hospice where they could go if they did NOT want to die at home,but did not want to die in a Hospital. I always stressed that the person dying should have complete say in how and where they wanted to die. I still feel that way. There is a free 'e-booklet' you can get for free by googling- what are the imminent signs of impending death.' It is quick, short and to the point.
I have been searching for weeks for answers to my question of how to recognize the last stage of CHF. I have never found any satisfactory answers while searching the internet until I happened upon this thread and site. I especially appreciate the chronological retelling of those critical last days before each loved ones passing. I would say that was the most helpful information of all for me. I understand that each experience has it differences and time is not in our control however enough was shared here that I am able to put together some very important details that have eased my heart and strengthened my determination... My mother seems to be in the last stage of CHF and perhaps in her last days. I do not want to miss one second with her.... I love her so! Thank YOU to those that have written so extensively here. I am very grateful. You have helped my heart and eased my mind!
Can someone please help me My older sister is only 36 years her legs,hands,ankles,feet and arms are really swollen and there extremely hot she's always complaining of her legs and arms hurting so bad hurting so bad to the point where she can barely walk room to room in the house and hands hurt and from fluid build up that she can't even write.We recently noticed red marks or like bruising on her ankle My sister has always kept 3 jobs she quit two only work one now.She use to be very active now all she does is sleep .Went to several doctors but their saying everything normal.No im not a doctor and no doctors are not always right ..I just feel like she's slipping away ..I dont no what to do thats why I came to this site for seeking help.
Brings tears to my eyes. I am going through the same things with my mother, who is almost 90. In the last couple of days I can see changes, and have to keep her medicated because of the pain and the shortness of breath. She keeps asking me why this is happening, and says I am just keeping her alive with pills and oxygen - for what? I have family calling me with advice, and telling me to call hospice to get a nurse here. There is nothing a nurse can do, except tell me what to do, and I am doing it. They don't see what is happening (they all live out of town), and think she can get better. I have avoided telling her what is happening, even though she chose to refuse life support. After reading all of these comments, I think I will talk honestly with her, and let her know that we love her, but realize that she is suffering so much, and she can let go. She did think she would get better, but I know that she will have to finish her life on oxygen 24/7, and take all of the medications daily. I would not want that for myself, and I don't want it for her. I pray that God will take her gently, in her sleep, so that she doesn't have to suffer any longer.
Everything I have read here brought so much tears to my eyes,it all lift me up and made me stronger and stronger,what great stories,I am going to fram some of them just to give to people who are going thru the same kind of problems
I was online trying to see what to expect when my husband passes because I didn't want him to suffer. I appreciate everyone sharing their experiences, but I just had to comment about the one that said " God wanted your son " while I understand we have been told this by theologians, God does not want to see anyone suffer and die especially an innocent 12 yr. Old. We die because it is a curse on mankind for wanting to be independent of God. We will live again if we are faithful,because he sent his son to die so we can have forgiveness of our sins. It was not God's original plan for us. That is why it really angers and gives me the creeps when I hear people say " God needed another angel " and that dieing is just a natural part of living. The bible says " it is appointed to all mankind once to die ". Have any of you ever thought what would have happened if Adam and Eve had not sinned. Think about it, then go do a little research on the subject. If God needed another angel, he would simply create one, not make a child get cancer then suffer and die. No wonder people are turned off about God and find it hard to get close to him because of the lies we are fed from the so called religious leaders!
My younger sister passed away from CHF this past May and I am still going through the grieving process. I am happy to have come across this site in my efforts to research and find answers as her death was sooner than expected. Thanks to everyone who shared their stories, pgoodhart story was very inspirational and is what I wished I could have shared with my sister. Many of the things others shared of their loved one's experiencing is what my sister experienced as well. Sleepiness, stopped eating and drinking (she loved water and ice and when she stopped drinking water I knew something was wrong), seeing people no one else could see etc. The one thing I want to leave you with is to pay attention to what they say. If they say they need to see you or talk with you, drop everything and go to them as it might be your last conversation with them. I hate that I wasn't there with my sister when she took her last breath especially after battling her illness with her for the past year, in and out of the ER, doctor visits, hospital stays and the hope of a heart transplant only for it to not happen and then to not be with her at the final moment is really devastating to me as I ponder what more could I have done and mostly that I failed to make to her for the last conversation she wanted with me due to inclement weather, if I had known it would have been our last heart to heart conversation I would have made my way through the storm to get to her but I put it off to the next day and I saw her the next day but she was not talking and she passed away that night after I left the facility, wished I would have listened to my gut feeling that something wasn't right and stayed a little longer with her! But all in all I know that she is no longer suffering and is in paradise with our heavenly father and Jesus and that some day I will see her again. Please pray for me and my family as we continue to go through the grieving process and I will do the same for you all as well. Another word of advice, if you have a loved one on the transplant list please do your best to help them be compliant with what their orders are in order to remain eligible. Thanks again to all.
My mother is almost 93 and is in a care center suffering from endstage CHF. She has been declining for several months now. In October she started running a high fever and I took her to the ER. They diagnosed her with pnemonia and placed her in the ICU. She was in the ICU for 2.5 days then transfered to the regular hospital after improving. They kept telling me how great she was doing but I could tell different. She lost her appetite and started sleeping constantly. They transfered her to a rehab hospital where she has been ever since. A couple of times I felt she was going to pass away but she rallied back. My dad passed away from CHF almost 25 years ago so I know all the signs of the end approaching. She is so weak now she can barely move and now they tell me her kidneys and liver are not doing well. This happened so suddenly since her liver and kidneys were fine before the pnemonia a few weeks ago. She has also started retaining fluids in her feet and right arm. Her vital signs are all good still. She was diagnosed with a calcified valve in her heart about 8 years ago but had no symptoms from that until now. She didn't want valve surgery because she didn't think she would survive it. Her doctor is amazed she went this long with no symptoms. She is a fighter having survived cancer 20 years ago. She is getting weaker everyday and I fear time is very short. She was placed on hospice in 2014 but lived the entire 6 month hospice term and was doing well enough that they took her off of hospice care. Now I fear she'll have to go back on hospice. I am so stressed over this I can't think of much else. It is awful. Cherish everyday you have with your loved ones.
To Maddox, our mother too was awesome until the last few years when she became excessively mean, and complaining. We were finally able to get the Dr. to prescribe zoloft which really helped. She is in CHF as well and now is in the withdrawn stage. I don't know how much longer she has but begs every night to be taken. Wish I we knew how to make it possible for her to rest without pain. When is it time to call hospice?
My beautiful Dad is back at home after spending 7 weeks in hospital with end stage CCF. We lost Mum nearly 4 years ago and he was such a tower of strength for all of us. He is now palliative, very bloated around the stomach and hips from all the fluid overload, he simply cannot get comfortable..one minute he wants to sit on the edge of the bed, next minute he wants to get back into it, to say he is exhausted is an understatement.......his eyes are just pleading for release from the shortness of breath and the pain. His appetite is dwindling now, sometimes I just hug him and his head rests sadly on my shoulder and it breaks my heart to think that this once strong and capable.man has been reduced to this, it is unfair...I stay strong in front of him but I cry when alone......he is simply existing now, not living and he wants to go....as much as it kills me, I finally see why...to watch someone you love going through hell is excruciating.......
My husband is 72 and I am 69. We have been married for 49 years. Four years ago he woke me early to ask me to take him to the ER as he couldn't breathe. He spent a few days in the hospital while they tried to figure out what the problem was. He had CHF, sleep apnea, and diabetes. It was like the trifecta! They got him stablized and was sent home with Lasix and a bunch of other meds. We dealt with it and he had the next three years doing OK. Recently he started retaining fluid and has shortness of breath. His Lasix was increased but he's having more and more of bad days. He doesn't sleep, he is fatigued, and nothing tastes the same. Of course I get blamed for changing how I cook!..I know it's the meds. He thinks he's going to get better and I don't have the heart to tell him this can't be fixed it can just be dealt with with meds. It's getting harder and harder for him to get through the day. The nights are the worst. He can't breathe laying down so we got a bed that he can raise the head. He still can't sleep. I get scared all the time thinking I will find him gone in the morning. I know it will get worse and we both are dreading it. Sometimes when he does sleep he has bad dreams. I hate the waiting game but it's better than the alternative. We are christians and we have everything in order. .
Thank you so much for all of your life experiences with your loved ones. CHF is heartbreaking and reading the stories really helps. Here's mine so far. My Dad is 88, he was such a resiliant strong man up until 8 months ago. This time last year he was out rototilling his garden, planting flowers in 2 greenhouses and just a ball of fire. The CHF i believe started early and undetected.
His issues started with a spot on his lung that came back clear with needle biopsy. The Dr said he thought it still looked suspicicious and wanted to go in and take a bigger piece for better biopsy. It was the size of a pea. He went in to get a bigger portion for biopsy, it was adenocarcinoma and they removed the upper lobe of his left lung. A week or so later he had afib, after a few days, it went away? This was August 2015. Dad came home after a pretty rough recovery. He was driving, shopping, out with his dog, trying hard to be active. October he walked in the door yelling i need help and holding his chest. I threw him,in the van, drove him to the ER myself. No time to call for an ambulance. Dad had a heart attack, the widow maker. The Dr. Came and put a stent in and Dad was home in a little over a week. Constantly short of breath, tired, naps through the afternoon and not much of an appetite. Late in 2015 he has been diagnosed with CHF. He's struggling physically and mentally it's tearing him apart. He is so aggravated with not being able to do the things he used to. It's now March 2016 and his feet swelled up for the first time. They are pretty puffed up but his ankles are not. Went to the Dr and they ordered chest x-ray and a few labs. X-Ray revealed fluid in his left lung region. They doubled up on his lasix and the next day he didn't seem to be gasping for air just from walking five feet. One day after his somewhat good day, he's having spells trying to breath just sitting in his chair. I don't know what to expect from here. He's 88, 1/2 lung, drinks diet soda every day, diabetic, CHF. They have talked about a pacemaker maybe helping out but is that really going to help him feel better? It's so difficult. I hope he at least makes it through the summer and gets to enjoy the nice weather coming and enjoys some days without suffering.
I just lost my dear sister to chf and I am having such a hard time dealing with it. I have lost 5 other brothers and sisters ( there was 8 and only 2 remaining) and while I grieved with all of them this one is really taking its toll on me. She smoked a lot and would not consider giving them up even though she knew they were harming her, I can't understand they had such a hold on her if they have not put something in them to make them more addictive. Her lungs eventually filled with fluid. The day before she died she went outside without her walker( she was too weak previously to do without it),, ate a big dinner and lots of ice cream and talked for an hour on the phone with my nephew and had a really strong voice. In the middle of the night she called her daughter in the next room and told her she couldn't breathe and that she was dying. She died before the ambulance got there but they took her on to the hospital, My niece said she was still gasping but the dr. told her that she was brain dead and that it was just a reflex action. I had never heard of that before, When I went to the funeral home to see her later that day ( I live 3 hrs. away) her upper chest from one collar bone to the other was almost black and about 4 inches wide. Does anyone know what could have caused that? I know I can't bring her back, nor would I want to to see her suffer as she did, but I would like some opinions as to why she was bruised in such a way, Looked like a 4 inch board had been placed across her chest. I knew she was going to die but I cannot understand this. Please respond if you can help me.
I am an only child of my father age 80 suffering from end stage CHF and under Hospice care at home. It is very challenging because I live a full days drive from him and his wife is his only other relative. I am heading back up this weekend for I am sure the last time as he was given only about a week or so days ago. I was told he may be "hanging on" until I get there. For weeks, and the last time I saw him, he was in and out of a state of dementia, talking nonsense or to dead relatives. He would ask when Mary was coming back, whom is his Aunt who passed 20 years ago. He also would talk in his sleep and mumble " uhu, yeah" over and over. He has a very low blood pressure of about 80/60 so this is another sign the end is relatively near. He eats almost nothing and takes a few sips of water. He is loosing control of his urine/bowels more and more. It is all so horrible to watch !!! I am a bit anxious to go up this weekend as I know he could pass away while I am there but if that happens I know it is what he wants and I will be at peace knowing I could be by his side as he passes over.
My Dad passed away in Nov 2016 due to Congestive Heart Failure and Pulmonary Edema. It was unexpected at that time although I knew the prognosis of this illlness was not good after researching on the internet a year earlier when he was hospitalized for the first time. He died within 3 days of taking him to the hospital. He was short of breath but never told us before leaving for the hospital. They put him on Lasix IV, his ejection fraction went down to 25% and kidneys were weak too. I saw him on oxygen because he couldn't breathe properly. They put him on ventilator and he passed away. He was in a bit of a denial that he had a heart disease and used to skip his diuretic pill sometimes. It was God's will and it was my Dad's time to go I guess. I still am baffled at how he went into stage 4 Heart Failure end of life so quickly. Hope he is in a better place.
Jan 2' 2017 My father passed away 2 weeks ago from heart disease which included congestive heart failure which he has had for years, his last eco was done first week of December and ? Doc said he had 3 leaky valves and his heart muscles were inlarged. He also had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Numerous other health issues but mostly heart related. Within his last month he became weaker, short of breath and loss of appitite. Complained of stumic pain but we weren't sure if it was constipation. He was scheduled to have ultrasound. Days before he passed he didn't each much at all, slept a lot, slight feaver the week before. My father lived alone because he was pretty Sturn about taking care of himself. I left his home about 3, called him 3 hrs later and when he didn't answer either phone I drove out to his home. He was setting on the couch watching tv and fell asleep and never woke up. He died peacefully . No signs of struggle.....I read post on here often weeks before my Father passed in hopes for help. Hope this post helps someone looking for signs.. god bless everyone going through this journey.
to the lady married 49 yrs and christians....i am going thru what you said you went thru....thank you for you comments...my spouse coded but living will was not enough..needed dnr to have him not be brought back...he has diabetes...advanced congestive heart and doesnt want to do anything to get better and hasnt in 20 yrs..he is 57...we are in the later stages but today he says no more hospital nursing homes but when we have nurse come to house he acts like he is trying ..but he gave up trying years ago....so i am caregiver, nurse, cook, housekeeper, wife who doesnt cook things that taste good any more clean room right , hurt him if i wash his hands...(hands sensitive to any kind to touch...and as of this month heater must be on all the time cause cold....beginning stage ac had to be on 68 now house is 78 and hes cold.) prayer cause this is hard....
Can't really provide an answer as I'm looking for answers myself, but everything I've read so far sounds like similar stuff were going through. My father is 69 years old with CHF along with a bunch of other issues, like diabetes, prostate cancer, sleep apnea. He has had stents put in, recently a pacemaker. Right now he just gets this sudden stomach pain where he just complains out loud and he says its because he's hungry. He'll munch on something ( he's not allowed to eat sodium, salt, much sugar, etc) and then he'll be satisfied for a few minutes or so, until it returns. I can say he looks pretty healthy, walks and can be laying down with no problem (pain wise) its just when he starts to fall asleep that he immediately starts gasping for air. Starts yelling and calling out words. Sometimes I hear, "no!" or calling out to his mom. But most of the time is just trying to gasp for air as if he's drowning. The moment he's awake he talks normally.
Then he also coughs a lot with lumpy, sometimes a bit bloody phlegm. These are the only two major things he has. Three if you count the food. The doctors said his heart is not beating much and had said that if he does a no sodium, no salt diet and takes his med on time it can help him. But since that hasn't happened and he hasn't changed much, the other option is a heart transplant. Which I don't think he can qualify for a quick one since he has other health issues.
Having CHF, but his breathing issues seem to be more related to sleep apnea. They don't want him to sleep with oxygen, but wouldn't that be the best atm? since he can be okay with everything else?
I didn't read all the way through, I see 49 & Christian as well as someone else has similar issues here. My mother is the caregiver, cleans and cooks for him, but hes never satisfied. he also tells the drs he stopped smoking but sneaks out to take a puff. Here he says he's giving up on everything and will just die back in our country ( alone) but tells drs he wants to get better. We try to limit the sodium but sometimes he goes and puts salt in stuff, therefore WE have to eat without salt since we had to eliminate them. Its all very stressful, since he doesn't like to listen to us. We don't want him in a hospice or anything like that since he's still alert and able to do stuff. Just those sleeping habits and food make him crazy ( he does get tired, back pain, etc that comes with age too)
HI, I am a 41yr old man in hospice as I have CHF along w/ALS & Hep C. I was dx w/ALS back in 2012 & CHF after my first heart attack in 2014 (I've had 3 since then twice my lad was 100% occluded) I opted not to take any cardiac medication bcuz of the ALS. Currently I am bed bound as it is to painful & tiring too get put in my chair. About 8 months ago, when I was in the hospital last I was told that I had developed afib. My ef is about 15 maybe less now & I have edema pretty badly that has spread up to my abdomen & is probably in my lungs as my breathing has gotten worse, I now lose my breath just while lying in bed watching tv. but bcuz my breathing was already bad it is hard to tell if its the edema in my lungs or the ALS causing my diaphragm to get weaker.. Also lately I have been getting very lightheaded like I'm about to pass out & I lose my.... well I get a bit confused when this happens oh & for some my vision has gotten worse,, this is not a symptom of ALS so I have too assume that it's cardiac related. I tell you all of this so you get an idea off my condition. I know that it's not possible to know how much time sum1 has left, I mean no one would have thought that I'd make it this long but now I feel that I've reached the end of my journey & I want to know what to expect? I guess that I was wondering how long most pts survive with the low ef, afib & all of the other cardiac symptoms that Ii have?. I was told by my Drs that they didn't think that I would die from the ALS but when I ask them this they dance around the subject. Thank you for taking your time to read this.
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