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End of life issues
Old 08-03-2006, 09:01 AM   #1
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End of life issues

hey all, just want some insight on this as my gpa's health is failing. He has just recently (1-2 weeks) been seeing his dead relatives and talking to them. I've heard this is usually a precursor to death but can't find any pertinent information. Anyone see the same symptoms in parents, grandparents, etc?

I ask this now because his lungs have been filling with fluid and he's been pretty unresponsive for the last 2 days (he's under Hospice care).
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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-03-2006, 09:30 AM   #2
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Re: End of life issues

Larry, sorry to hear about your grandfather*

From what I read, there are two schools of thought with the transition into the end stage of life and seeing dead relatives.* One explanation being is a hallucination from drugs and lack of oxygen to the brain (our friend R-in-T can probably give better insight). The other explantion is a spiritual one where the relatives are actually coming to get him.* I prefer the believe that a combination of both is going on.* No one has proven the latter explanation.* My grandfather who suffered a massive heart attack and was clinically dead *woke up* afer rescusitation (sp??) and stated he had a dream where his dead parents and sister (who died of a broken neck at age 11) told him to go back.* Had I not heard about his experience, I would be totally slanted torwards the hallucination explantion.

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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-03-2006, 06:48 PM   #3
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Re: End of life issues

Larry, this might not be much of an insight, but my aging father gets "unstuck in time" sometimes, especially when under stress. He seems to move back 50 years or so, and ends up talking a lot about long-dead relatives and confuses the people around him with them.

It seems a happier time for him. I'm glad he can go back.

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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-03-2006, 07:37 PM   #4
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Re: End of life issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by larry
hey all, just want some insight on this as my gpa's health is failing. He has just recently (1-2 weeks) been seeing his dead relatives and talking to them. I've heard this is usually a precursor to death but can't find any pertinent information. Anyone see the same symptoms in parents, grandparents, etc?
Sad situation - best wishes.

Really, any type of global brain "insult" can cause delirium and I am not aware that any particular content is associated with imminent death. Lack of oxygen, Alzheimers, medications, even sleep deprivation can all do it. Long term memory is more durable in these situations, so delusions involving remote people and places often predominate.

Sounds like the end may be near just from his medical condition -- less responsive, fluid in the lungs.

It's tempting to discern a pattern to the behavior and types of delusions in these situations, but really they are pretty disordered and reflect random patterns mostly. Every organ fails in its own way.

Remember him as he was when at his best, and let those memories stay with you. Hope it ends peacefully for all of you.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-03-2006, 09:28 PM   #5
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Re: End of life issues

If your gpa's in and out of lucidity with a life ending condition, sounds like time for hospice help. I have seen what you describe several times - the final days.

The time line of events for those who have such ife threating disease can be a couple months beginning with lack of appatite. The patient begins having increasing time seemingly not of this world because he has work preparing for the next. Allow him to do this work. Less verbal interaction and more touch like stroking the head for comfort can be a real blessing, but do not expect acknowlegement other than a touch or glance.

Pay attention to his seemingly incoherant ramblings when he is 'elsewhere'. If you hear 'no, no' or quick movment this can mean he is not ready to let go. If he talks with departed loved ones, he is becoming ready. He may be waiting for that particular loved one to reach out and bring him across the threshold. Hospice nurses who have witnessed this over and over, come to believe those 'souls' offer to take him but he will surrender when ready.

There are a several clinical indicators that can give you hours then minutes of warning that the end time has come.

Message me if you wish.

God bless you both.
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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-06-2006, 03:26 PM   #6
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Re: End of life issues

Thanks all. Sorry to reply so late but we had to take FIL out of town to have a fistula done as his kidney function has dropped to 18%. Looks like dialysis in 3-6 months and they gotta get that vein nice and plump.

As for Gpa, they will be celebrating their 70th wedding anniv. in a couple weeks. Hospice was to have started him on antibiotics last week prior to us leaving town and I will go visit him tomorrow. When I saw him prior to leaving I gave him a good foot masssage that knocked him out, hope my grandkids are as gererous

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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-06-2006, 04:59 PM   #7
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Re: End of life issues

Larry,

Late in life, my dad had some visions like that. We believe that it was a combination of Parkinsons (which tricked his eyes a lot) and dehydration. He liked his coffee but didn't like to drink water. We figured that he was trying to avoid using the toilet due to poor mobility, etc. Once we got him straightened out on that he had far fewer episodes.
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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-06-2006, 06:09 PM   #8
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Re: End of life issues

Larry, Ed et all:

My mother also has end stage Parkinson's, in the last two weeks not eating much (cannot bring her hand to the mouth) and droping weight (more tremors), can't send messages to her feet so is now a dead weight transfer.* She must be communicating with Dad because she said that I need to check who is burried in his grave.* PT isn't helping and exausts her - ending that effort.* She has rallied so many times in the past from breaks, but this looks all neuro.* [She has been in a nursing home for 5+ years.]

It is hard to know how long she can manage.* I know that Parkinson's impacts swallowing and peristalsis.* The darn thing about Parkinson's is that the disease itself doesn't cause death, but results in inhalation infections (pneumonia) and wasting.

For her sake I hope this doesn't last long.* She has fought the good fight for so many years...
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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-07-2006, 12:54 PM   #9
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Re: End of life issues

Hi, Brat,

Very sorry to hear about your mom.

Both my father and my wife's father suffered with Parkinson's and their symptoms were similar to hers. Both eventually died of heart attacks (after long and happy lives). We noticed that Parkinson's seems to provoke episodes of dementia. The only comfort I can offer is that there are worse ways to go.

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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-07-2006, 01:56 PM   #10
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Re: End of life issues

I've got a great uncle who has parkinsons and was on some pretty strong meds. We visited him one day and he was complaining about all the naked people laying on his bedroom floor having sex. He has his good days and bad days.

I lost my first grandparent 2 years ago and now other grandparents and in-laws are pushing 90's or better. Same with great aunts and uncles. We'll be going to alot of funerals in the next couple of years.

One redeeming quality from all of this is that my daughter should have a pretty darn good gene set.
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Re: End of life issues
Old 08-07-2006, 03:03 PM   #11
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Re: End of life issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by larry
I've got a great uncle who has parkinsons and was on some pretty strong meds.* We visited him one day and he was complaining about all the naked people laying on his bedroom floor having sex.* He has his good days and bad days.
That may be one of his GOOD days!

My Mom has had visions of the courships of her youth, which are not as colorful as your uncle's.* Once she told my brother that one of his sons was asleep in her bed.* He told her, "Have him call me when he wakes up."* There is nothing to be gained by correcting their thoughts. Gotta go with the flow.
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