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My dad is dying - how long do we have

(271 Posts)
treadingwater123 Fri 18-Jul-14 14:50:40

I'm obsessing over breathing patterns, body temperature etc

How do you actually know how long until the end ?

JustAShopGirl Fri 18-Jul-14 14:52:20

you don't ... so sorry... it is such a hard time to live through.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Fri 18-Jul-14 15:00:26

The honest answer is you never really know, because it varies from person to person.

I have seen quite a few people at the very end of life (both of my parents & I also work in palliative care).

Common signs are hands & feet becoming cold, discoloured & possibly oedematous. Breathing certainly alters and will generally become more laboured but can be quiet & shallow or loud & raspy. I have also never experienced a person being able to speak in more than a whisper (if at all) during the last couple of hours.

The skin also takes on a slightly waxy appearance - I don't know if this always happens, but I have seen in several times.

What have the Drs/nurses told you? They generally have a fairly good idea.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Fri 18-Jul-14 15:02:11

But most of all, I should have said that I am so sorry you are even needing to ask the question.

It is a horrible time, I hope you have siblings or other family with you flowers.

magimedi Fri 18-Jul-14 15:07:59

I don't know but am sending you a virtual hand to hold. I was with my Dad when he died nearly 25 years ago,& it has always been a great comfort to me that I was there for him.



Nobody can answer that. In my limited experience it was too long and too short. You want them to go quickly and peacefully but you don't really want them to go at all.

Wishing you strength in this difficult time.

ShakeYourTailFeathers Fri 18-Jul-14 15:16:53

Sorry OP flowers

I was going to say cold feet - when we lost dad the nurse checked his feet and when they had gone cold she said it wouldn't be long, and it wasn't.

treadingwater123 Fri 18-Jul-14 15:22:22

I feel guilty for willing him in but then also struck with the fear of how I'll cope when the time comes.

I haven't seen my husband and kids since Saturday, my dad is 1.5hours away and I just can't leave him

He has got worse every day - he's mostly always asleep now hasn't eaten for 2 days no fluids (except mouth care) since yesterday morning as he is really struggling with swallowing

His feet are cold, hands warm but arms and legs cold

He's also starting to jerk slightly

He has had occasional periods of being very distressed and agitated but he is getting something in the morphine driver for that now

ajandjjmum Fri 18-Jul-14 15:27:05

I am so sorry you are going through this.

My DF died within a couple of days of discussing possible further treatment, and deciding he'd had enough. The final 24 hours were filled with raspy breathing, big gaps and sudden moments of lucidity.

We asked the doctor to increase his drugs to make him more comfortable, but that ended any further communication from him.

Heartbreaking time - wishing you strength.

treadingwater123 Fri 18-Jul-14 15:31:54

He wants to die at home (privately I'd rather him in a hospice but his wishes are being respected )

Breaking my heart he just woke up and said I don't know what I shld be doing x

Stars66 Fri 18-Jul-14 15:35:20

An awful time, sending my love and strength.
Lost my mum 19 years ago and wasn't there, was too young. Just love your dad, hold him and tell him you love him. ��

hellymelly Fri 18-Jul-14 15:37:46

My Dad died in an ambulance, so I wasn't with him, I am so sorry you are going through this, but it is lovely that you are there with him. flowers

FoxSticks Fri 18-Jul-14 15:39:15

I'm so sorry you are going through this treadingwater I was with my mum when she died. She was at home too, in her own bed where she wanted to be and I take a lot of comfort in knowing we fulfilled her last wishes. Like the others we were told she would go cold first, as it was she went very hot just before dying. The Marie Curie nurse thought her heart just gave in. Take strength and comfort from knowing you are doing everything you can for your dad.

Superfurryanimal77 Fri 18-Jul-14 15:43:46

went through this with my grandad, when he didn't eat or drink it was within 2 days, but he had throat cancer, sending you a big hug, will be thinking of you all weekend ...

treadingwater123 Fri 18-Jul-14 15:47:09

Such a hard time but very cathartic as well we haven't always had the best relationship but worked hard at fixing things when he was diagnosed 3.5 years ago - he has bowel cancer with liver lung and bone mets - this time last week he was out and about but after last radiotherapy he just plummeted

Before he stopped talking he beckoned me over and said I love you so much and gave me a massive kiss

FoxSticks Fri 18-Jul-14 15:53:18

That bought a tear to my eye. I had a similar moment with my mum before her medication was increased and she couldn't talk. Hold on to that memory, it will see you through the hardest times. Your dad loves you, how wonderful to hear that at the end.

Trooperslane Fri 18-Jul-14 15:59:46

So sorry op confused

Just been through this with DM.

Do you have access to Macmillan nurses?

They were beyond amazing for myself and Dsis

So sorry again. thanksthanksthanks

LOLeater Fri 18-Jul-14 16:03:45

Thinking of you OP and hoping your dad passes peacefully.

GalaxyInMyPants Fri 18-Jul-14 16:04:00

I'm sorry to hear this.

My dad recently and the not knowing of how long he might last for at this stage was awful. He lasted a week after stopping eating and drinking, just occasional sucks on the mouth swabs.

He also had the horribly erratic breathing where he would stop breathing for a minute and then gasp and start again. That went on for days and was torture. I thought such breathing would signify the last few hours.

With my dad he had a very rattley sound to his breathing for the last few hours. But I nearly missed the end. Went home about 6pm, got a phone call about 9pm and he'd died within a couple of hours. So when I'd left I thought he was no worse than previous evenings.

I also remember feeling guilty for wishing he'd die. I think its normal to wish someone a peaceful, quick passing rather than a drawn out process......for their sake.

I'm sorry.thanks

It is the most awful, awful thing to go through. I'm so sorry Treading sad

Went through this to a greater/lesser extent with 3 grandparents. Nothing can prepare you for it, and there is nothing that will make it any easier or any better. I wish there was sweetheart sad

treadingwater123 Fri 18-Jul-14 16:05:08

Macmillan nurses aren't involved

We have a Carer in the morning a district nurse visit then a Carer in the evening with gp visit every few days and a number to ring in emergency we had to ring it last night as he was very agitated, it's very rural here and it took 2 hours for anyone to arrive

Aromatherapy massage calms him, we have calming music and a lovely oil burner going - it's like a spa in here , except the hospital bed in the corner with the skeletal body of my big dad

Nice to be able to let some of it out here

lynniep Fri 18-Jul-14 16:12:44

I'm so sorry to hear this treading. I know what its like. My dad passed away four years ago now. He chose to have all meds stopped as he was just tired his lack of life quality from his various illnesses.
I had to go be with him, so left my DH and DS1 at home 4 hours drive away, and took my DS2 with me (he was 5 months old and still breastfeeding) It was a very long week.
My dad never regained conciousness, but I think he could probably hear us. He was in hospital, and I think having DS2 there probably saved us all from the awfulness of it all - taking it in turns to wheel him round the hospital, sitting him on the bed to let him pat my dad just in case he could feel it. I willed my dad to go. I told him it was ok if he wanted to leave, and that I'd still be about for my step-mum. It was awful and undignified for him, and I told him not to worry about that either because I was a grownup now and could handle it. I choose to think he heard me.
When he finally went, me, DS2 and my Step mum were in the room with him. We were giggling in a corner after introducing DS2 to his first solids (hospital carrot mashed up) and I'd like to think as well that he chose that moment to let go - hearing his family laughing at something inane.

Sorry to splurge my own story on your post - but I wanted to say that after he went, we (me and step mum) felt such relief. That last week was bad, but the past 5 or so years had been terrible for him and step mum, and she had thrown herself into being his carer even when he was in hospital, she barely left him. Yes it was terrible his no longer being with us, but he'd been so ill for such a long time, it felt better knowing it was over. I think we did most of our grieving before he went. I'm so glad I was with him at the end though.

spudmasher Fri 18-Jul-14 16:17:45

Ask for a Marie Curie nurse- your GP surgery should be able to refer you.
They will stay with him all night to enable you to get a rest. They will wake you if they think it's time.

mumblechum1 Fri 18-Jul-14 16:18:02

So sorry Treading sad, I hope your dad passes peacefully and I'm glad he and you are friends at the end.

My mum's also terminal but not at that stage yet.

MrsMaturin Fri 18-Jul-14 16:24:12

Marie Curie nurses were wonderful when my bil was dying. My sister thinks they sat outside her house in their car the night before he died because they had rung earlier in the evening needing some help with meds and then agreed they would call them again if needed. When they did indeed need them they were there so quickly.
Op - this is a hard time but you are doing really well. Your dad is where he wants to be and it sounds like he's said what he needed to say to you. You are caring for him and you're right, music and nice things to smell are really important.
A good death is like a good birth. You need help and support and the right background influences going on. It's an event you will always remember and hold in your heart as a time when love is so close you can breathe it in and feel it. Nobody wants to be where you are but you're doing it right and so is he.

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