I am so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. It must be so distressing for you and your husband and your sister-in-law - probably more distressing for you to witness than for your mother-in-law to experience. It sounds as if she is in a kind of dreamworld - the things she is saying sound like dreams, or delirium as Dr West says. And you're making sure she is not in pain. You've been very stalwart, and a very loyal daughter-in-law. All best.
Caring for patients and loved ones at this time during the disease process is very difficult. The delerium likely is related to multiple issues, including the pain medications. However, as you point out - she really needs these. Therefore, being aware of when she is in pain and using these medications liberally will be very helpful to her and all of you. As Dr. West states, it is very difficult to predict how long this process will be.
Thank you all for your quick and honest replies to my many many questions. As I have said, I have never been this close to someone dealing with this disease. I wish I never had to. Of course every experience teaches us and knowledge is a wonderful thing. I hope that someday, somehow the things I have learned can help someone else struggling to understand. Maybe I can help someone else know what some of the scary parts are and help them deal. I came here often to ask questions I never seemed able to get answers to.
Carol passed away this afternoon, she went into a coma like state and never came out of it. She never responded to anything, with the exception of opening her eyes a few times. She struggled to breath since Sunday, and we prayed many times over these hours that she had taken her last breath and could go to a better, less painful place. She had lengthy bouts of apnea that seemed to last forever before she gasped another breath and we waited again...and again. We told her we wanted her to be at peace, that she could go, and not to worry about anyone here. Her family doctor stopped in and listened to her heart and said she could probably last another 72 or more hours...Carol (who never cared for this doctor, and blamed her for not catching the cancer sooner) let out a kind of growl, yell and her eyes were wide as she moved her head toward the doctor. She did this twice in a row and the doctor just walked out of the room. As soon as the door shut Carol took her last breath and quietly passed on. We seem to think she needed to tell the doctor how she felt, and once she did she passed on. Perhaps this symtom of the growl (yelp ?) is a comman occurance but we smiled at this last act of acting out, it was so very like her.
Thank you all again for helpng me understand some of this process. She is in a better place.
Maria, my condolences to you and your family. Watching a loved one pass is very difficult. Carol's suffering has ended as she struggled with this difficult disease.
I'm so sorry. Too many of us have been there with someone who has fought an unfair fight against lung cancer. I'm sure your support helped Carol through this terrible thing.
Please accept my heartfelt condolences.
Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
City of Hope Cancer Center
Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
I too am sorry to hear that your mother-in-law has died.
I believe that the noisy and intermittent breathing is part of the process that the body goes through as it shuts down, and not painful for the person who is dying - although it is upsetting for those who witness it.
I'm so sorry to hear of your mother in laws passing Marielee. But as cs said it sounds as if she went comfortably and with her family near. I know she will stay in the hearts of those who shared her love.