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Topic: New Here...MIL on Hospice

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Subject: New Here...MIL on Hospice
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 10:53 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 151
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I'm new to this forum and decided to jump in here.  I have been taking care of my MIL who has been recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given less than 3 months to live.  I started caring for her while her husband works.  It has been about two weeks now and so far, I'm able to handle it.  This is the first time I have cared for someone in their final stages.  She is young, only 53, but has always had health problems with her heart and colon, but the pancreatic cancer was a shock.  She dropped about 50 pounds between February and the end of May.  Things had been going fine until a few days ago.  She began getting dementia and paranoia and she's gotten a renewed sense of energy and wants to walk around the house without assistance and it scares me!  I am so afraid she's going to fall and break her hip.  She's only about 70 pounds and she's 5'6."  I am not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I just want her to have peace and go be with the Lord.  Is that bad?  I have a good support system, but have still not had a day to myself since Memorial Day.  I don't think it will be much longer and everyone else in the family keeps telling me they dont' know how I'm able to do it (care for her).  I am just doing what I can and I know no one else will be able to do it, so I do, but I'm starting to feel so alone, like no one can possibly understand what I'm going through by taking care of her day in and day out.  No one else comes over to see her every day, just once or twice a week, if that.  How are all of you able to handle it all?  Thanks for letting me ramble...

Heather

Date Posted: 6/8/2008 1:21 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 3
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Hello Heather,

You are offering a wonderful service for being there for your MIL  and there will be ups and downs.  I suggest you share your concerns with your hospice social worker or  support counselor. They can also arrange to stay with her so you can get some much needed relief to recharge your batteries.   Go out to a show, take  weekend off.  ask your family members to  commit to a routine of stopping by so that you can look forward to ans count on and plan for your break. I work with eldercare and families all day in my work and I have seen many caregivers die before  the person with dementia who they were caring for passes.   If you are afiliated with a church or have a friend who is please do give them call for some support.  Your MIL may have some freinds who would be  like to spend some time with her.    If other family members cannot volunteer time to be with her consider hiring a professional caregiver to a few hours a day. and a few nights to give her husband a break too!  Does she have a walker to walk with? It may be a good idea if she likes to get up and about to help her use a walker for suppport.    I know Im giving you a lot of ideas and maybe you just wanted to vent which is heathy too!   God Bless.

Cheryl 

Date Posted: 6/8/2008 11:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 151
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Thank you, Cheryl.  I have been talking with the hospice chaplain and nurses and they have been very helpful.  Her husband does not want a nurse there 24 hours a day, eventhough it has been offered.  He has taken a leave of absence from his job, but wantsme there to help as well.  Everyone has been coming to visit her as well, which has been helping a lot.  Thanks for all the wonderful ideas though.

Heather 

Date Posted: 6/10/2008 12:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/9/2008
Posts: 4
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Oh I'm so sorry.  I am a former hospice nurse. I actually changed direction in my nuring after I cared for my mom until she passed (actually quit working for 2 months to care for her in the end).  I can say it will be difficult but also rewarding in the sense that it gave me the opportuning to "baby" her like she deserved and I felt like no one could give her the care that I did.  I think I'm right.  What you may see more of is a slow decline in your MIL as she adjusts to pain meds and such. 

You're doing a difficult but wonderful thing.. please know that. 

 

Kathy

Date Posted: 6/14/2008 9:36 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2008
Posts: 38
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I understand what you are going through. Last year 2007 was very difficult for me and my family. My mom passed away in February (3 days befoe my bday) and things went down hill. The following month my dad fell and broke his back. he didn't go into the hospital for about a week to get looked at. Yes, he regrets it now! Anyways, after recovery and such, it boiled down to that he needs 24 hr care. The family had a big meeting and it was decided that Dad couldn't afford the care. yep, you guessed it! I got the job with several understandings!

We do have an aid that come in every morning for 4-5 hrs daily. It helps so much! I can't even begin to tell you! I understand if your FIL doesn't want anyone else there but you have to tell him in a nice way that you both need time away from the situation to recharge your batteries.  It is the hardest thing to watch and care for someone that is ill. My father has bed sores that I have to look and take care of every day. 1 of them hurts him a great deal but i know that I have to do it or it won't get done.

Just look at it this way, you are earning your angel wings! Another way is that you're earning your atta-girl points because an a-crap maybe around the corner! :)

Carrie

Date Posted: 6/14/2008 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 151
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Thanks for everyone's responses.  Last Friday, my MIL took a turn for the worse as she was very restless, but also the dementia got worse.  The nurse said it wouldn't be long, so I called all the family members and let them know.  Everyone joined in and stayed a good part of the day saying their goodbyes.  It seemed to really help her.  The nurses thought she wouldn't last through the weekend, but she has.  She has gotten considerably weaker and can no longer get out of bed.  Last Friday was the last time she ate anything, but she has still been asking for water and cola.  She talks now like she's had a stroke, but the nurses do not know if she has or not.  She's in severe pain, even worse than before.  My FIL has taken a leave of absence from work and cares for her 24 hours now.  I go by and try to give him a breather so he can just get out for an hour or so, but he doesn't go. I think he left the house once all week and that was to make her final funeral arrangements.  It's very upsetting to see her in her condition and I feel helpless in trying to help my husband and the rest of the family cope with all this.  We can not believe she is still hanging in there, but she is definately a fighter.  Her blood pressure has lowered and her pulse was down to 30 the other night, but today it's back up to normal.  My mom (a nurse) thinks that is a sign that it will be any time now, but that's what we've been saying for a week now.  She's developed the "death rattle" as they call it Thursday night, but is still able to talk when she is awake.  It's all very difficult knowing she won't be around much longer, but not wanting her to go through any more pain.  I hope all you other caregivers are hanging in there as well!

Hugs,

Heather

Date Posted: 6/15/2008 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 151
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My MIL passed away this morning.....

Heather

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 706
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{{{{{Heather}}}}} - I'm sorry for your loss and I will keep  you in positive thought.  

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 9:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 151
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Thank you.

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2008
Posts: 38
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Oh Heather! Things will get better! I went through it with my mother in February 2007.  I am here if you'd like to talk. Sorry I can't be there in person to give you a hug and a shoulder to lean on but I'll be there in spirit none the less.

An Irish Blessing for you and yours

For a Happy Death

When your eyes shall be closing

And your mouth be opening

And your senses be slipping away.

When your heart shall grow cold

And your limbs be old

God comfort your soul that day.

~Carrie