Is this the end...

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My mother-in-law has end stage COPD. In the last 4 days her condition has changed. I have the feeling she is drawing to the end of her life. She has been sleeping for almost the whole day for a couple of days, she has stopped wanting to eat and has been waking at odd times and with confusion. Her breathing is very bad. She has been struggling to get her breath and we have increased her oxygen from 2 litres per minute to 3 litres per minute and she has had to top up with her portable oxygen machine (on 4 litres per minute) when things are really bad. She has been having pains in her chest and aching and today complained of having a headache. Am I right in thinking I need to start initiating further care for her? The GP came in and wasn't sure how to diagnose what was happening to her and said she had a rumbling in her lungs, which is normal for her as only the top half of her lungs are taking in oxygen. 

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  • Posted

    Bless your heart dorsetdee,

    I am alarmed that your General Practitioner didn't know what's going on...please get a second opinion...maybe get her to the hospital. She may be filling up with fluid....prayers going up for you and your mother. 

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  • Posted

    Hello dorsetdee,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your mother-in-laws decline. I lost my Mother earlier this year.

    I would advise seeking all the help and support you can, because not all of it can be put in place immediately, as we discovered. But the District Nurse Team were fabulous when other services did not reach Mother in time. She had a very quick decline, but also had other 'issues' and 'complications', so I am not fully equipped to give you the full advice that others here may be able to offer.

    I just want you to know that you're not alone, if in doubt, check every option out, and there are many people here to support you throughout, should you need.

    Kind regards, love and *hugs*,

    hanb 

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  • Posted

    Thank you for you input. Mum has irregular heart rythmn also so i have a feeling the heart may give out before the breathing gets worse. She said today she thinks the doctor told her to spend time in bed because that is where she will die. She is aware things are not as they have been. I have the specialist nurse coming tomorrow, who has been engaged to work with over 75s with chronic conditions. I'm going to ask her if we can get hospice care at home as she's written a directive that states she doesn't want to go into hospital or be resuscitated if things go bad. It is when she is asking "Why is this happening to me, I don't understand why I feel so bad" that it gets to me. She's so lovely. She's 85 and her body is just plain tired I think. 
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    • Posted

      Oh darling, I really feel for you. Mother also insisted on no intervention or hospitalisation, and was cared for by family. Thankfully she had many children and a devoted husband. 

      There may be charities and local services that could help as well. If in doubt, I ask Google, and once I've had my supper I'd be more than happy to do that for you, if you wish. 

      Much love and more hugs, han

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    • Posted

      Thank you. I've just put her oxygen machine down from 3 to 2 litres per minute just in case it's too much carbon dioxide building up in her that is causing her to be so sleepy. I'm keeping an eye on her in between times. It's not knowing who to call to ask when it's night time. When I've spoken to the nurse tomorrow I may have that extra information. Up until now I've not had to disturb anyone other than in the past hospital and as mum is so against that I can't phone the ambulance service. She's sleeping, again, and I turned down the oxygen without alarming her. The GP did say to watch out for drowsiness and it's only occurred to me tonight that maybe it's too much oxygen. It's so hard knowing what to do when the normal oxygen is not helping. It seems obvious to up the oxygen and yet you can't keep it there like that always. It is so confusing!! 
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  • Posted

    This really concerns me as the same thing happened to my wife 2 years ago and we were completely ignorant of what was happening and we had no help at all from our GP and an emergency Doctor, read this very carefully because this could be happening to you. My wife had just finished her 3 rd course of anti biotics and steroids  over a 3 week period and she wasn't feeling any better and we just kept turning up the dial on the oxygen thinking this would help at one point we had it turned up to number 5 on a large cylinder and over 2 weeks we were getting through one a day without any monitoring from the oxygen provider or GP, and we didn't know was that we were actually poisoning her with oxygen and she eventually went in to an acidotic stroke, and we didn't understand the symptoms we just thought she was feeling very ill, not sleeping for days on end but really lethargic slurring her words , confusion not eating ,almost like someone with overnight dementia  it was such a bad time . And in typically British fashion we didn't want to cause a fuss ,but it wasn't until it reached a crisis point I called 999 and the paramedics saved her life as she had a heart attack on the way to the hospital and a another one on arrival and was placed on a do not resuscitate list much to my anger and made my feelings quite vocal. Zena was in hospital for 6 weeks the first 10 days fighting for her life. 

    I will cut this short as I think you need to act , the only way to detect acidosis is by having a deep vein blood test in the wrist to check the blood oxygen levels and can only be done by a consultant physician at the hospital. Please don't hesitate to call an ambulance and get her the treatment that the GPs are ignoring.

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  • Posted

    I'm so sorry for both of you. You should really take her to the hospital if she's really this bad as increasing her oxygen won't help any as these symptoms seem as if she has liquid in her lungs preventing most of the oxygen in her lungs which would explain why only half is getting in oxygen. Take her to the hospital and if it is liquid, then hopefully they'll be able to put in a tube and drain most of the liquid out. I hope she some-what improves. Good luck to you both and take care <3
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  • Posted

    I am sorry to read about your motherinlaws deteriotrating condition but when you count on the GP diagnosis to give some reassuring even tho you can see it worsening leave me dumbfounded hiwever she is lucky to still have some caring family around her to help ease her condition....but perhaps another opinion would be in order. ...all the best .
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  • Posted

    My dad was in a similar position a couple of weeks ago, he too has end stage and is permanently on the oxygen machine.  He had a chest infection three weeks ago..  Llike your mother-in-law he started sleeping all the time, refusing to eat, was feeling generally terrible and would frequently be confused as to what was going on.  It got to the stage where he started discussing the end with me....

    Things were looking rather ominous for a bit, as I was starting to think that things were indeed turning for the worst, but the GP put him on a course of prednesol (steroids), and antibiotics.  Low and behold he bounced right back, the colour came back to his face and he has been off the oxygenator machine for over a week...I'm amazed!!  He's looking healther than he has done for the last year....

    So even though when people with COPD have these turns from time to time, it doesnt' necessarily mean that things are going downhill.  Keep the faith!

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    • Posted

      Kevin,

      I live with severe asthma from birth and later in my mid 20's, I began to lose lung function steadily up to 70% loss by age 32 and in my 40's COPD was added into the mix.  I never smoked. Still kicking at 56 and be it a curse or a blessing, I do not appear as severely impaired as I am.  I can attest to what you said with regards to a downwards spiral seeming ominous but then bouncing back.  There are four near death events in my life and hundreds of others when I felt like I was going to die.  Honestly I have become accustomed to struggling for air.

      I can imagine how scary it must be to see your loved one suffering, but only by how it feels inside of me when I am struggling to breathe.  Yes!  Keeping positive is very beneficial for both sides!  There is a happy place I visualize to help me stay calm in times of trouble, because losing control of my emotions makes things worse.

      Dawn

      ,,

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  • Posted

    dorsetdee , does your mother-in-law have a lung (pulmonary ) specialist?  If so, that doc might be better in being able to help her.  I am so sorry that she is suffering so.  And how wonderful you are to care so much.  

    Wish there was more for me to say, but all that came to mind was to get the right doctor.

    My best,

    Dawn US

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  • Posted

    Hi Dorsetdee..

    I wanted to check in with you and see how you your MIL is doing? How is she as compared to when you first wrote in here? And how are you? Please let me know. I'm praying for you both. 

    Ladyjack51

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I am from Australia so I don’t know what services you are able to access but you should be able to access a palliative care team. Here they assist with insuring the process is as painless as possible and arrange assistance with nursing care etc.

    Unfortunately I have cared for a number of people that where at the end of their life. I worked in nursing homes for the aged and cared for my mother and father in-law. I often found that when people come to the end of their life they often want to discuss what is happening. It would probably help if you find out if she needs to talk. If you or another family member is unconvertible doing it maybe a social worker or a palliative care nurse could. If you need someone outside the family I would insure that their spiritual beliefs are compatible with your mother in-laws.

    It is important that you look after yourself during these stressful times. Best wishes. Stay strong

    Regards

    Gloria

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  • Posted

    Hello lovely people. ML sat up this morning in her chair for the first time in over a week. Last night she was struggling to get on the comode and was drowsy and out of it. I took her breakfast (she was only having complan) and the newspaper. Amazing! I started her on another round of antibiotics last night. Her little sparkle has returned. I am so relieved I didn't ring her daughter and panic her. She lives with my hubby (her son), myself and three of our four children. They all thought she was going home to be with the Lord too. I have been praying for her and had a few little insights from the Lord that He's with her through this. Perhaps she will get to wear the silly Christmas hat this year after all :-)  Thank you everyone for helping me through this. Nurse coming tomorrow to take some blood so she can know better what is happening with mum's blood gases. 
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