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  1. #1
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    May 2009
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    Pneumonia and Alzheimer's. Recovery???

    Hi all I'm new to post here but have read many many stories on this website, in the hope of learning more about this devastating disease.My mam has later stage dementia/alzheimer's
    I'm just wondering if I'm starving my mam to death? She has pneumonia but i can hear a huge improvement in her chest when she coughs its no longer chesty but more dry if anything.Is this normal???/?Shes on morphine and is becoming delirious.DOES Morphine do this ? I believe so.. I'm not sure its doing her any good.Shes off all her normal meds and gets serenace and morphine pump-injected into her abdomen.Doses increase from day to day.Im very very confused ......I can thank the HSE for that!!!.Doctors said it would be best to let her die with dignity and suggested solid food or a drip not to be ad-mined.because she couldn't fight the pneumonia, but I hear a huge change when she coughs.It sounds so much healthier.problem is she doesnt cough that much anymore and im the only one to have noticed this in the last 3 days. Has anyone had the same experince?
     

  2. #2
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    Hi,
    I'm sorry I can't help you as I have no experience of this, but just wanted to send my best wishes to you. I can only imagine how concerned you must be right now.
    Thank goodness your mum has you looking after her. Some others on TP will no doubt be able to tell you of their experience with pneumonia.
    Lots of love
    Gill xxx
     

  3. #3
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    Thanks Gill.
     

  4. #4
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    Important to me.

    Going looking for answers, Not easy when you cant find a doctor for love nor money.
    Last edited by fochie; 01-06-2009 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Was in a mood when i wrote it.
     

  5. #5
    Rob - I'm going to ask you a few questions to clarify what's going on with your mother.

    They have withdrawn all medication except serenace and morphine. She has been diagnosed with pneumonia, but it sounds to you as if 1) the cough is less frequent and 2) there is less mucus to cough up. Is she receiving any food and/or liquid?

    I would tend to be on the side of anyone who suggests that IV feeding would be inappropriate for her. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that as dementia progresses, one thing that can happen in the late stages is that people cease to be able to metabolize food, so even if you pump massive amount of calories into them (if you could do that) they would still lose weight. Actually, I was surprised to learn that even intubating and feeding that way can still result in food being aspirated into the lungs.

    I'm sorry to say this, but this reduced coughing may not be to do with reduced fluid in the lungs but more to do with reduced capacity to cough. Still you are entitled to an explanation of what is going on. I think if you approach your mother's doctor calmly and explain that while you don't want to unreasonably extend her life (assuming you feel that way) you do want to know what is going on. You're aware that as some point she will die and I think it is vitally important for your own peace of mind that you feel you have done everything that is appropriate for her.

    If she is, as she appears to be, and the end of her life, focus on the things you can do for her: play music, talk to her, massage her hands and arms with nice smelling lotions, keep her mouth and lips moist. Perhaps gently brush her hair, just spend time with her.

    Take care
    Jennifer

    Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.

    A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.

    Abraham J. Heschel
     

  6. #6
    Hello fochie

    So sorry to hear about your concerns. The cause of death on my mother's death certificate was "pneumonia" and she was on morphone at the time of her death.

    She was also delirious and that was heart-breaking to see. Mine is a long story, which I won't go into here. My mother also stopped coughing just prior to her death.

    In your case I would push for more medical information so you are not kept in the dark and follow Jennifer's advice about being with her, talking to her, reassuring her, playing music, keeping lips moist etc.

    It must be very difficult for you.
    Hugs
    Maryw
     

  7. #7
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    May 2009
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    17
    Thanks for giving me your insight Jenni and Mary.Whats confusing is she has the strength to sit up at times and demand to be let out of the bed.She also takes fluids Orally,We'Ve been told she would die comfortably but this is not the case at all.She seems to be gaining strength and I'm not the only one in my family to notice this.The nurses look puzzled at times but cannot air their views.Shes on 20mg morphine which she seems to be building a tolerance to, shes on serenace,and haloperidol and is also given a sedative at times of extremely high anguish.I'm going to ask the doctors to take bloods again but don't want to put her through anymore undue stress,An ex ray wont help i don't think because she needs to hold her breath for a successful one.Its a learning curve i will never want to go through again.
    Rob.
     

 

 

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