Post Edited (confussled) : 3/14/2008 1:06:10 AM (GMT-6)
The shortness of breath may be due to the kidneys struggling. You mentioned that she was only urinating on occasion, and this too may be another sign. When the kidneys are struggling, the acids build up in the blood making it hard for the blood to carry oxygen. My mum had renal failure aswell in her final stages, she was placed on life support to help her breathe better and also put on dialysis at the same time to help her kidney function. My mum also didnt want any treatment and refused to be placed into hospital and checked herself out overy time we called an ambulance to take her there.
Keep your chin up.
confussled, what a wonderful gift you are giving your mom. The time you are spending now with her is so precious and you have three kids too. As far as what to expect it is for certain that she will deteriorate quickly. If she becomes more demanding and even mean that is part of the toxicicity that is building up. The toxins travel up to the brain thru the blood flow and causes all the mental distress she is in. As the toxins build up she gets more and more confused. Combined with her not eating and drinking such a small amount of fluids she increases the toxicity. All these symptoms are very common with advanced encephalopathy. Her kidneys and other organs are all affected. It will probably come to the point that she goes into a coma and if so believe me it is a blessing for her. I just went thru this same issue with my own mother in November 07. It is heartbreaking to watch I know (as do many others who post on this site). We put her in our local Hospice facility when she started falling down and wondering in the house. She would have really hurt herself if we had not placed her there. It wasn't as difficult to put her in Hospice as I had imagined. For us it was a saftey issue. The care they gave her was absolutely wonderful. She was in agonizing pain toward the end and they kept her painfree with pain medication. It is depressing for us as caregivers but a blessing as well for everyone involved especially the patient. My thoughts are with you and know that your are doing everything you can to make her time with you memorable and comfortable. GOD Bless.
Confussled, I agree that it may be time for you to speak with her doctor about hospice. Don't feel guilty--they can provide care that you are simply unable to. They are also very knowledgeable about the stages of dying. If she IS experiencing pain, they can coordinate her pain medication. If your mom goes into a nursing home or hospice home, perhaps they can provide her with nicotine patches to get through the bad withdrawal stages. The fact that they are probably not good for the liver is a moot point right now. Knowing that I had hep C, but also being aware that I had a 2-pack a day habit for 40 years...when I was hospitalized in a spica (body) cast for weeks following a hip surgery, the medical staff provided me with a daily nicotine patch from Day 1. And that was when I quit smoking for good...over 5 years ago (yay me!)
It's wonderful that you were able to get her outside for a bit today and that she wanted to go. She may still have occasional "good" days like this one.
I do understand how very difficult and stressful the caretaking is. A former b.f. and I had his mother at home with us when she was dying of colon cancer. We both worked full time and had a nurse there when we were at work, but as soon as one of us got home, the nurse left. And there were several times when we got calls saying she had a high fever or some other complication, and an ambulance had been called, so one of us had to leave work and it was usually me, since my b.f. worked in the next state and commuted. The nights were very difficult. We both ended up losing our jobs (this was years ago before new laws), in great part due to the caretaking, and had to end up putting her in a hospice facility anyway prior to her death.
Some of the best advice that has been given to you is to take a little time for yourself each day.
Hugs and God bless,