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Please help me TODAY - Mum/DS's nanny is probably going to die this weekend.

(146 Posts)
StoicButStressed Fri 01-Feb-13 11:53:17

I can't believe I'm actually writing this. Or that need very urgent advice/guidance/experience that might help my three beautiful boys, all of whom love their nanny very much. My mum is about to die.

I had to take my Mama into hospital on August 13th last year as she was in >pain and had >nausea. We got there at about 10am. 2 hours later I was (unfortunately) WITH the radiologist as the grim digital image popped up showing a vast tumour in one lung and white snowspots (I.E. Mets/spread) throughout the other. I knew immediately that she had Lung Cancer, that was almost certainly stage 4, that she was going to die. That was confirmed not long after. She also developed bone cancer and cancer in her head (not brain, but head). She was still very 'alive' initially but went downhill quickly, losing most of her voice due to pressure on vocal cords, and obviously more 'out of it' as Morphine doses rose.

She deteriorated to point where 3 weeks ago had to be moved to a nursing home as Palliative Care at home just could not manage the painsad.

I & DS's could not see her for that first week in home as we had contagious icky bug, then the snow meant we literally could not get there for most of second week. When I first saw her there, was just agonising in how much had worsened. Frail, tiny, barely able to speak, drifting in and out of sleep. Last few days worsened yet more, with (literally) only a couple of minutes at most of lucidity before drifts to sleep/unconsciousness. But I genuinely thought we were still looking at few weeks minimum, or maybe even a couple of months. But today was told is now very opposite.

She is now really struggling to swallow tablets at all (which vital as her pain is so very horrific), so nurses told me this morning that she does now need a syringe driver put in, and that after that it would probably be 'quite quick'.

I asked them to please PLEASE just be very direct & honest with me, which they were and I do not doubt them as these are people with 40 years palliative type care experience each (so please please do not post telling me to hope for more etc, as if it is more that's amazing, but I can't really hope for that and HAVE to focus on realities RIGHT NOW). The 2 huge and SO sudden things are that once the syringe driver is in with the increased level of morphine she needs and the sedative that will also be in it, that they have been very clear she will not speak again - as it is even now, is literally just the odd period of lucidity and talking very quietly in tiny voice, or nod, but after this will be nothing and I don't doubt them. The second is that they believe she will go into a coma and pass this weekend, mid-next week at very latest in their opinion/experience. I honestly thought it would be at least a few more weeks yet so whilst me & DS's do know she is dying, this is very very sudden. And is worse given THEY too couldn't see her for the first 2 weeks of past 3 since in the nursing home.

I have asked them to hold off on the syringe driver until tonight so DS's (11, 18, 21) can see her and her speak to them as that will be the last time they do ever hear their nanny/can talk to her (though do know we can all carry on talking TO her as hearing is apparently very last to go). And - thank god - she has now managed to swallow her ton of meds this morning so they will last until 8pm. But literally - and I can't even believe I'm writing this - tonight is the last time my Mum will ever speak to me.

All I can think of is the boys and what/how to tell them - & also how the f*ck I am going to urgently get DS1 home (no, can already be certain he won't have the money for a train as is student and always runs out of cash and haven't even yet rung him as am absorbing news and trying sort all out very quickly) but he is in college in bloody Brighton and we are on outskirts Surrey/London border - but I have be here to get the other 2 from school soon and obv cannot then leave them, though cannot begin to think about how they will react (ESP 11yr old). And that's what I'm terrified of/need help with please?

So if you have ANY advice or experience etc for me about that, about how I can help them, how to phrase it - ANYTHING AT ALL that will help in this horrific and beyond time-critical situation, please please PLEASE help me as soon as soon as you can possibly can xxxxx

I really can't believe that my Mum is never going to speak to me again after tonight, or that they think my mum is going to die this weekend. Think am in total shock, but if you have ANYTHING that can help me help my boys, please please help me. xxxxxxxxthanks

t875 Sun 03-Feb-13 09:29:38

Thought and prayers with you stoic sending a hug if needed xxx

Follyfoot Sun 03-Feb-13 09:41:21

Oh Stoic. Thinking of you. No advice really as its such a personal journey but just wanted to say talk to her, hold her hand, say all those things you want to say to her. And encourage others to do the same. When my beloved Dad was at the same stage as your lovely Mum is now, we thought he couldnt hear us or speak any more. A few hours before he died, it became clear that he could hear us still (and actually he suddenly spoke - lucidly - just before he died). He was still there.

This time is very precious for all of you so just do whatever feels right - it will be right.

And how wonderful that your Mum knows of your DS2's amazing achievement, thats lovely.

Soppykiss Sun 03-Feb-13 10:05:21

I went through something similar with my fiance weeks ago, he died of bowel cancer. He died before they increased the morphine, which was a relief as we didn't want to drug him further but didn't want him to be in any further pain.

His family and I all said our individual goodbyes to him, we told him how much we love him and to stop fighting. We wanted him to be at peace.

I struggle with the memories of the past few weeks, and I have tried to block them out. If they begin to haunt you all I can recommend is talking to people about the good times and going through photos/videos etc.

I've started a memory box (I'm also 5 months pregnant) and I'm trying to keep myself busy, all I can suggest is try to do something similar.

Nothing will bring you comfort or take away the pain of losing them but at least they won't be suffering anymore. Look after yourself and your family.


Soppy...god bless you and your little one xx

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Feb-13 11:04:34

A PS up top after writing - just realised this is a frickin essay rather than a postsmile, but am a journo and type like a demon, and also just wanted try properly update all those offering to hold my hand, and respond to specific Q's/thoughts. Sorry so longblush.

Morning lovely peeps. Thank you all again for ALL your posts, not only helped/helping me feel less alone, but also can now see how very genuinely your input DID massively help shape Friday evening into the weirdly 'beautiful', albeit desperately sad, time it was with all DS's and me there saying proper 'goodbyes". I want you to know how much of a difference you all helped make, as don't think DS3 (11) will be going again now, and that Friday WAS how it WAS only as you lot helped me figure out best poss plan in the very short amount of time I had, and whilst I was in utter shock but just DESP to do all the best I could do, ESP for DS's.

Thank you all so much, if I could name you all and hug you each I would [wishing there was an emocion for poignant smile here...]

And the reason such a massive thank you owed is that Friday Eve WAS beautiful, even though so very sad and harrowing, but I want you to know that ALL DS's - inc DS3 who was the one I was most worried about - ALL said last night that they were glad had gone, but just as importantly, are not now 'lost' in it or sadness. ALL of them last night were larking around together, laughing, on PS3smile together, so all ARE as fine as could POSS be yet DID all get that chance together to say goodbye.

Whilst I come round this morning (no am not eating, but yes did manage drink last night - sadly not the water that's probably best for me right now but a shedload of wine) blush - am writing this with coffee in hand to try answer Q's and helpful points etc. Think this (IE, being able write on here) is also kinda cathartic for me as is an outlet where can say it exactly how it is and without being scared may upset someone else, or make them (DS's) worry about me too much. So, to specifics and practicals (& hope I've got names right and sorry if missed peeps but brain a bit wobbly...).

OhThis TY for lovely message. Reason missed Unc was due to text/s and linguistics confusionsad. He obv had very little time left by yest p.m. and was at the home with mum, then went back to mums flat (where staying as very near the home so he could see her as frequently as wanted, but have breaks/clear head etc). He texted would be at home 4.15-5.00 then leaving ASAP for LHR, so I replied saying would see him there, but when got there 4.30 he wasn't there. I figured he'd gone back to flat to get his kit and would be back at home soon, so sent text asking where he was. My phone was on silent as didn't want it disturb Mum. Missed a text from him 4.40 saying was showering/packing/then had to get on road/would see me at home but saw it 4.55. Was uber relieved when saw it. But by 5.10 when not there still, I sent him text asking where he was and that was worried time was so tight re him coming to home/making flight. He sent one back (his SA phone can't make or take calls, hence all the bloody texting, and KNOW if had been able to speak to him then confusion that led to now seeing him wouldn't have arisensad).

Transpired that his 4.40 text (& the previous ones where he'd said 'home) saying 'see you at home' meant 'see you at FLAT' (which maybe 3min by car so could have seen him as he knew I'd just jump in car and shoot down there) - but which I HADN'T done as by 'home' I was meaning the nursing home, not Mum's flat; but he was using 'home' meaning flatsad. He'd assumed I hadn't wanted to leave Mum to shoot to flat to say goodbye, whereas I was at (nursing) home waiting for him there - so that's how we missed each othersad sad sad.

Thea and T875 - I am so so grateful of what you have shared re that moment of passing. And, funnily enough, knowing my Mum, she really IS the kind of Ma who probably may well 'choose' to slip away without anyone seeing. I cannot describe the comfort you have given me, and am more grateful than can describe.thanks

Biscuit - practicalities.... TY for suggestionssmile. DS2 & DS3 are at a private school with very broad intake geographically. The only 2 other families that live where we do and DID have DC's at school have very recently left sch (one as their DS - my DS2's bessiesmile - moved to a 6th form college, and the other as they couldn't afford fees due to current nightmare financial landscape). So def no-one here who can drive them. Sep, I spoke DS3's Head (boys have sep Heads as sch separated into Junior and Senior Sch) on Friday early eve and - unbelievably - HIS mum has just died of brain tumour the previous weeksad, so he had personal (also has an 11yr old) as well as professional experience of this horror, and his VERY clear view was that very very VERY best thing for DS3 if achievable was that he WAS at school in this 'waiting' time, as would be occupied/with his friends/not have massive amounts of time to be brooding or feeling sad or worried 24/7 - either re nanny OR re me.

Praying - as ever, TY so much for taking time to postthanks. Am hoping BB has a lovely day with you all today and continues to eat salmon and dance on tablessmile smile smile. I actually laughed out loud (first time laughed in a few days TBH) at the bit where you wrote re how bad you are at asking for help, as that is like looking in a mirror! Am trying though, and today will ring DS3's best friends parents to see if he can stay with them for the next few days as that will facilitate his normal school routine AND allow me to be at home without worrying about him. Not looking forward to it as I AM pants at asking for help as am usually so self-sufficient - in fact, find it MILES easier offering help than I do either asking for it or accepting itconfused.

Going see my Ma now as coffee has hit and awake now. Someone mentioned taking pictures and ironically before saw that HAD taken a photo of my lovely Mum yesterday. Will put that and one of her in Sept on my profile as I know SHE would want to thank you all for helping me, but also to help you see the suddenness of this - her now compared to just a bit over 4 months agosadsadsad. Please don't look if they will upset any of you, but just does feel sort of right to introduce you to her (I know what I'm trying to say but words aren't right, sorry).

Thank you all again, and please keep us in your prayers. You have been amazing, thank you. xxxxxx

Lostonthemoors Sun 03-Feb-13 13:23:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Feb-13 14:59:56

Soppy - my heart aches for you and your baby. I can find no words other than I am so very sorry for your huge loss, and sending you love xxx

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Feb-13 19:07:55

Am just home and thanking God that all DS's said they didn't want to come today (though 2 of them did want me to bring in little teddy bears of theirs to give to Nanny 'forever', and to 'go with her' once she passes - uploaded pic of them in her arm, was beautiful to see albeit all just so horrific).

She needed her extra PRN Morphine (& the million other tablets that have to go with that), but was just agonising to see. She had 3 little paper cuplets of them, and struggled so so hard to swallow them with water through a straw. Was in pain and gagging and then looked just terrifiedsad - almost the worst thing I've ever witnessed. Am sure syringe driver will now be put in tomorrow, and that will be the beginning of the very end but right now I'm hoping for her to just not be in any pain or struggle anymoresad.

Before I left (& before I'd said goodbye and before she knew I WAS about to have to go), she suddenly - and in a loud clear voice I haven't heard in a long time - said "Give my love to the boys". Everything else I've now read here makes me think that that might be an indication of even sooner. If honest, it made me think she is going to go tonight but who can know?

Have now put the photos up, but please don't look if you think they will upset you. I told her I/boys were getting lot of love and advice and support here, and she said to say 'thank you'smile.

So thank you ALL from my lovely Mamma too. thanks thanks thanks

OhThisIsJustGrape Sun 03-Feb-13 19:38:48

Haven't had a chance to pop in today until now, glad to hear that support from everyone on here has made such a difference to you.

When my nan was dying from cancer they have her a morphine (at least I think that's what it was, was definitely for pain) patch that was stuck onto her forehead, like a nicotine patch. I think she had reached the point where she could no longer swallow the tablets but they didn't want to put the driver in just yet. Might be worth asking about?

My nan died alone, she was in a nursing home receiving palliative care. We knew she was likely to die soon and she had started spending more time asleep. I'd been in to see her in the morning but she was sleeping so I told her I'd be back after lunch. When I went back I found she had died, alone. I was very upset at the time but then I realised that she'd seen how awful it was for us when mum died (her only child) and I've always wondered if nan chose to die when alone. It brings me some comfort.

OhThisIsJustGrape Sun 03-Feb-13 19:40:15

Meant to add that I can't view your profile on my phone but will have a look later on laptop, I'd love to see your special pictures x

OhThisIsJustGrape Sun 03-Feb-13 20:07:56

I think you need to change settings on your profile as I can't click on it x

Lostonthemoors Sun 03-Feb-13 21:59:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Feb-13 21:59:34

Sorry Lost and OhThisIs - had uploaded photos but HADN'T realised needed to go to 'profile' bit to allow them to be visible. They should be there nowsad.

Lostonthemoors Sun 03-Feb-13 23:29:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 04-Feb-13 08:55:49

How are things today Stoic?

maybeyoushoulddrive Mon 04-Feb-13 11:23:12

Hi Stoic - how are you doing today? Your photos are lovely - you are right it is nice to 'know' who you are talking about. I'm glad you are getting some support from this thread, how have you organised your dcs for this week?

Take care of yourself, it's mentally and physically exhausting I know. We are thinking of you x

Your mum looks glowing in the first photo bless her, really lovely and vibrant!

How are things today?

Mouseface Mon 04-Feb-13 16:30:58

I'm so very sorry to read this, losing someone so close to your entire family, who plays such a huge roll to you all is devastating Stoic.

I think all of the words have been said already but I saw this linked from another page..... I couldn't not post to you.

I have no magic wand, miracle cure but I wish that I did. For all of you who have lost loved ones.

Take care of you lovely xxxx

andiu Mon 04-Feb-13 16:54:12

I am so sorry for you and for your children. Losing your Mother is so very painful. Your children will be very worried for you as well as upset at their own loss. My own Mother died two years ago and we all miss her still so much. It took a while for the horror of her illness and those final few dreadful months to fade before I could remember her as she was and how she would like me to. I wish you strength and courage. Look after yourself and let your kids help you. They will see you through this.

OhThisIsJustGrape Mon 04-Feb-13 18:13:14

Have just looked at the photos of your beautiful mother Stoic. The bears from your boys are so touching, you should be very proud of them.

Very soon after my mum's terminal diagnosis, a friend said to me that one of the very worst things about watching a loved one die from cancer is that the person at the end looks nothing like the person they were at the start. I didn't really appreciate what this meant until the last couple of weeks of mum's life. Such a wicked, cruel disease.

No one should have to go through this, I have dealt with my grief over the past almost 15yrs but reading about someone else going through the exact same thing brings it all back. Always here if you need a shoulder. Can I also recommend Cruse bereavement charity - I wouldn't have got through it without them and they're just at the end of a phone.

Thinking of you all x

OhThisIsJustGrape Mon 04-Feb-13 19:25:02


suburbophobe Mon 04-Feb-13 23:37:47

Stoic - still thinking of you.

Soppy, thinking of you too. Stay strong.

My DM died Sunday morning. Even tho it was a long time coming I'm still in shock. Tuesday is the funeral...

I'm just thankful that she had a good long life and the love of a good man (my dad) for 70! years. I certainly can't beat that record.

Life is so short, we never know when it will finish (and my mum was a month off her 92nd birthday!), we have to enjoy our time here.


Praying4Beatrice Tue 05-Feb-13 00:49:49

Thinking of all those who have lost dear ones recently.

Lovely to see your mum OP. She's got a beautiful smile. And beautiful to see her with your boys' bears.

Lostonthemoors Tue 05-Feb-13 07:56:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Feb-13 09:20:12

Stoic our thoughts are with you and your boys, nothing to say that can lift heavy hearts at this time but remember we are here for you.

Thinking also of suburbophobe and her DM's funeral today. thanks

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