Should I feed her myself?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by willemm, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. willemm

    willemm Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
    41
    My wife's condition (in care home) deteriorated rapidly a week ago, from up and being fed, to being bedridden in own room, not taking soft food or even fortified drink (FortiSip), only small sips of water. GP said she is in a bad way and nothing more he can do for her. Her records indicate that carers who come in every hour or so, record she is either asleep or refusing drink, except for a few sips of water. She is comatose, yet when I go in I raise her head, and manage to get her to drink up to 100 mls of water from a feeder cup with small holes, in small amounts each time until audibly swallowed. The Fortisip label says it should be kept refrigerated and discarded after 24 hours but the bottle is left on bedside table at room temperature.
    I go in twice a day, because she appears not to have much longer, and without food or drink, will surely soon fade away. I am considering taking in something like a fatless yoghurt, and a glucose/vit C drink which she should be able to swallow. She cannot speak but I think (or like to think) that she can hear and understand me, so I talk to her all the while.
    Am I only putting off the inevitable by giving her sustenance? I wish I knew what to do for the best for her sake.
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    Although I'm not, generally, in favour of putting off the inevitable, I think, if she takes liquids from you, then it is right that you should give them. I'm afraid that I don't see a happy outcome, but I do think it's important that at the end, you should be comfortable saying "I did what I could do" for your own peace of mind. I also think it would acceptable NOT to do this - you have to do what YOU need to do to feel right about the situation (or as right as you're able to).

    Regarding the storage issue - perhaps you could take in ice and an ice bucket?

    I am so sorry that you are both going through this

    Love

    Jennifer
     
  3. willemm

    willemm Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
    41
    Thanks Jennifer
    It is what I want to do, so I will try what you suggest. Anything to make her last days/hours or whatever as comforting as possible. If anyone knows of a suitable non-prescription, preferably tasty and easily swallowed liquid food, I'll be glad to hear from you.
     
  4. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Willemm'

    You must do exactly as your heart tells you. You have cared for your wife for a long time, and you wouldn't feel right giving up now. Keep that love in your heart.

    Sorry I can't help on the food issue, but you and your wife are in my thoughts.

    Take care,
     
  5. carol

    carol Registered User

    Jun 24, 2004
    196
    Surrey/Hampshire
    Willemm

    Have you thought about jars of baby food, they come already pureed, you can get sweet and savoury.

    Best wishes.

    Carol
     
  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    Willem, most grocery stores stock yoghurt based fruit smoothy drinks - they normally have a great number of calories in them and often quite a lot of protein.

    Jennifer
     
  7. willemm

    willemm Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
    41
    Very many thanks to you all, Hazel, Carol and Jennifer for your ideas and kind thoughts. You each seem to agree with my own feelings about this sensitive matter, and helps give me greater strength to see it all through. Having been married for over 60 years, it's hard to let go, but let go I must, and if gradually and with love and affection, it will help to soften the heartache.
    I am off to see her now so will let you know how I got on. Thanks again all.
     
  8. carol

    carol Registered User

    Jun 24, 2004
    196
    Surrey/Hampshire
    Willemm,

    Just to say that my mother in law has been in hospital for over 7 weeks now, she went in with a UTI for one week, came out for one day then went down with a diarrhoea superbug, clostridium difficile, she has been in an isolation ward for the past 6 weeks, the bug went but unfortunately came back, hopefully now it has gone, but she now has a particularly nasty UTI, over the last 6 weeks she has lost her mobility also she has been unable to feed or drink herself, we have been making sure that at least once a day someone is there to feed her, her food has been pureed for the past 6 weeks and she is off and on a drip, but if we hadn't been feeding her I don't think she would have survived. It just takes so long to feed her, but the nursing staff in the hospital don't have 45mins to spare. At the beginning she was assessed as needing residential care, she had an assessment by a care home last week, which was absolutely hopeless, she couldn't answer any questions, no mobility, and she has to be fed and watered, the manager from the home said they could not take her in her present state, and that she needed nursing care, but now the hospital say she is not ready to be discharged until the UTI is sorted. She has been on some strong antibiotics for the diarrhoea bug, metronidazole and vancomycin and we are hoping that she still has some improvement to make. Although now she seems to spend a lot of time asleep. My father in law is nearly 87 and mother in law is 83, they have been married for over 60 years, and we will do anything that we can to help them both over this difficult time.

    So I can understand that you want to still keep trying to keep up with fluids etc. for your wife.

    With very best wishes.

    Carol
     
  9. currywurst

    currywurst Registered User

    Jan 29, 2006
    46
    Hello willemm,

    Just a thought willemm is that my own mother is unable to feed or drink without me doing it, and that she doesn't eat or drink very well at all if someone else does it, so maybe your wife takes drinks better as you are familiar and more patient with her. My own opinion is that you should perservere. My mum fell and broke her nose six months ago and obviously was particularly unwilling to eat or drink but I persevered, I even resorted to using a syringe to feed her fluids and soup etc just so I could keep her fed and hydrated.

    Some ideas to try are Lidl do a multivitamin fruit juice that my mum likes or you can buy a similar thing from any supermarket called Adez. Also mashed up banana, complan, pureed fruit (sainsburys do some called organix in different flavours), semolina, horlicks, yoghurts, blended soup, mashed potato on its own or mashed with other veg with some gravy added.

    Hope this helps and very best wishes to you and your wife.
     
  10. willemm

    willemm Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
    41
    Once more, many thanks to all who responded to my original request about feeding. Regretably my wife's condition has worsened and now is close to that of coma, permanently asleep and no longer responding to being offered even liquids. Any liquid put into her mouth tends to remain there with the possibility of choking. Have resorted to just putting enough water in mouth to keep it moist but nothing more. It is now a case of just waiting for her to quietly slip away. I still visit her each day and talk to her, but am resigned to the fact that she is now beyond our aid and soon to be at peace.
    Love, thanks and best wishes to you all.
     
  11. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    1,170
    Australia
    Sending you strength and caring wishes. Nell
     
  12. Carolann

    Carolann Registered User

    Apr 19, 2006
    59
    Nottinghamshire
    Should I feed her myself

    Hi,
    I have some idea of what you are going through, I lost my Mum a month ago. She was admitted to hospital with a hip problem and from that moment went down hill. Would not take her medication, would not eat or drink. She was rehydrated several times by the drip but always pulled it out. She went back to the Care Home and like you wife went into a Coma like state and just slipped away peacefully. My heart goes out to you and I am thinking of you.
    Take Care
    Carolann
     
  13. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,561
    Kent
    So sorry Willemm. It seems the end is near for your wife. I hope you have the strength to cope and find some consolation in the knowledge that she, at least is peaceful.
    Lokk after yourself as well as you have looked after your wife. Sylvia
     
  14. nicetotalk

    nicetotalk Registered User

    Sep 22, 2006
    155
    stretford
    HI WILLEMM

    So sorry to hear about your wife, my thoughts go out to you, iam sure you have done all you can for her and she will soon be at rest.
    kathy
     
  15. willemm

    willemm Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
    41
    Hello everyone. Thanks for all you heartwarming posts. I am in a distressed state of mind about the way my wife is slowly slipping away. The residential home being only 10-15 mins drive away allows me to visit every day. My distress is caused not by the knowledge that she is dying, but that she is slowly starving to death. Sorry to have to put it this way but that is the fact of the matter. I have kept a diary of her illness since it began 3 years ago, and it tells me that she is now at day 11 of not having eaten. Since this change from eating to not eating was sudden, her GP said that it can happen like this and there was nothing more he could do. She looks calm, is unable to speak, eyes open sometimes but in an unseeing way. I talk to her, play music, stroke her head and face. I can face her death, and every day hope it will be her last, but it goes ever on, her looking more gaunt than before. She sips water given by a beaker with spout.
    I am only reassured by the knowledge that before her decline, she herself didn't want to stay on in her "no-man's-land-world" of dementia, full of frustration, anger, shouting, incapability and so on. So initially I thought that the end was near, and she would soon be in peace. Now I just don't know how much longer she might linger in such an anguishing way. I have looked up web sites offering advice to those dealing with terminal illness but they have nothing to offer for this situation. Can anyone offer me something to say that perhaps she is at least not suffering, as she doesn't appear to be, but just watching by the hour, by the day, by the week her spark of life oozing slowly away is so, so hard. I even feel guilty about eating, but I am taking care of myself in this and other ways. Sorry if I have upset anyone about this but I do feel terrible at times. My daughter and husband visit and support me a lot, and we both feel that we did what was best for my dear wife of 62 years marriage.
     
  16. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    Dear willemm, my heart goes out to you. Stay strong, and try to carry on with what you are doing for your dear wife. Just being there will surely be comforting for her I'm sure.
    Sending love and hugs,
     
  17. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Willemm
    Just to let you know that I am thinking of you and your wife.

    Connie and Tina have said it all, really. You are doing the right thing, talking to her, letting her know you are with her. One more thing (but only if you feel it appropriate). When my mum was at that stage, I quietly told her it was all right to let go, and asked her to look for my daughter and tell her how much I missed her. She seemed to smile, and she died that night, with me holding her hand.

    I know not everyone has the same beliefs, but I felt it gave my mum comfort.

    Stay strong.
     
  18. willemm

    willemm Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
    41
    Thanks, and especially to Tina for what I wanted to think that I was right in thinking, that the body is shutting down and sensations of hunger, pain etc are no longer being felt.
    I do get a strong impression that she knows that I am there beside her, talking to her and caressing her - it helps me to still feel close to her even though she shows no awareness.
    I feel better for having shared my feelings with you and am very thankful for your understanding, sympathy and support. I don't feel quite so alone now.
     
  19. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    Willem, I am so sorry that you are both going through this. I don't know if it is of any comfort, but everything I have read indicates that when someone is dying, thirst and hunger become non-issues. Dry mouth is pretty common, but can be alleviated with sips of water etc. The body ceases to feel hunger because of the breakdown of tissues. This is a quote from an article about palliative care

    "A healthy individual has an anabolic metabolism, which can use nutrients to build and
    repair tissue. During the dying process, however, the body shifts from an anabolic to a catabolic state, where nutrients cannot be used. It is this catabolic condition that leads to starvation and dehydration. This shift is a natural part of the dying process and occurs whether or not food and fluids are provided, even with tube feeding or total parenteral nutrition."

    This is the link to the article if you want to read it (it also talks about the issue of hunger)
    http://www.capitalhospice.org/news/documents/hhn0106-54-57-hospice.pdf

    Love

    Jennifer
     
  20. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    715
    Willelm
    My heart too goes out to you as I am in pretty much the same boat

    My Mother is sleeping , refusing meds and food and apparently they are doing an X ray today .......probably only as a result of me asking what was causing the aneamia ...........but then they asked my sister to bring in Live Yoghurt

    I was gobsmacked that a hospital cant provide live yoghurt !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     

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