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Thread: Releasing a dying person

  1. #1
    Senior Member WM's Avatar
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    Question Releasing a dying person

    http://www.hospicenet.org/html/preparing_for.html


    What are your thoughts on releasing a dying person? Do you think that if you don't release a person that they will continue living even though it is uncomfortable or painful? Or do you think that when the body is ready to stop, it will stop, no matter what is said or done? I really have nothing to add as to my opinion because I'm on a fence about it. I'd just like to know about the opinion/experience of others. If you care to comment, thanks!

    Giving Permission
    Giving permission to your loved one to let go, without making him or her guilty for leaving or trying to keep him or her with you to meet your own needs, can be difficult. A dying person will normally try to hold on, even though it brings prolonged discomfort, in order to be sure those who are going to be left behind will be all right. Therefore, your ability to release the dying person from this concern and give him or her assurance that it is all right to let go whenever he or she is ready is one of the greatest gifts you have to give your loved one at this time.
    Last edited by WM; 11-21-2005 at 03:08 PM.
    "I just want you to know, it was the best time ever." J.F.F.

  2. #2
    I can share this story, as I am reasonably certain there is no way anyone could ever identify this patient.

    I was assigned to take care of a dying man last year. He lay in his bed breathing loudly and at 92 quite ready to be moving on from natural causes. He was well cared for by us, and kept pain free and comfortable while nature did the inevitable. He did have three of the most vile unreasonable adult children who bickered about his money and his self pay uninsured status in our hospital. These were the first and the hopefully last family members to ever call me daily looking for an estimated time of death so they could plan their schedules to accommodate their father. I am sure all of this is telling, however the man was laying there dying. I particularly remember them commenting about dividing his money, and fretting about hospital costs. I throroughly expected this man to die any minute. All the signs were there, however he managed to hang on an additional fourteen days at something like$850 a day...presumably to make his final statement to his children! It would have been better all along if they had been decent and kind, and given their father a loving goodbye...as it was...I keep thinking that the dad got them good in the end. I think you can give loved ones permission to go, I think there is a tremendous amount of will involved in dying that is influenced by the behavior of the people who are closest to him/her. It has certainly been my observation.

    Mary
    1FineSpineRN

  3. #3
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    My mom did this with my nana when she was dying. She was hanging on, had been in pain long enough, and was dying of ovarian cancer. There was no chance of recovery. My mom sat and held her hand and told her we were all okay and she could go be with her husband whenever she was ready, and she did very soon after.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Wesley's Avatar
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    Ok, Sidney wasn't a human, but it was one of the damnest experiences I ever had.
    He was my labrador mix dog. I had him from I was 12 until 24 yrs. He was a fantastic dog and my constant companion through those important years.

    Anyone who has had to put a dog down knows how hard it is. Sid was especially difficult for me since he was my first dog, my first real responsibility. We had grown up together. I took him to the vet, lifted him on to the table and held him while the vet gave him the shot. Nothing happened. The vet started looking a little nervous and felt the injection site like he thought he had missed his vein. Sidney was looking right at me the whole time. I finally said, "its ok, Sid, you can go" and he immediately closed his eyes and died. I am absolutely certain he was waiting for me to release him.
    Last edited by Wesley; 11-21-2005 at 05:43 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jadis's Avatar
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    We've done the same with family members. Grans held on like that too and kept saying my name. I am 2700 mi away from home and unable to travel so I couldn't get to her. My aunt talked to her and said that I told her that it was time to go home.

    We also went through something similar when our yellow lab was dying this past January. We didn't expect him to make it through the 2003-04 winter, but he did and just kept pluggin along. He was an engagement present to Booger from his first wife. Jacob went through that marriage and divorce with him, and was there when Boog and I got married. Even though Jacob was failing, Booger couldn't bring himself to put him down. He would sleep next to the dog bed with Jacob's head on his lap, night after night just crying. Nipper was usually there with them too. I had a talk with Boog about the whole situation, and he couldn't do it, nor would he let me take Jake to the vet. So here was Jake, refusing food and drink, just eating convalescent paste. He wore a sweater to keep him warm and still slept next to the heater vent because he was always cold. I sat down on the floor with Jake while Boog was at work, and we had a nice long talk. Basically, I told him that Boog wasn't going to let him pass because he was the glue that held Boog together for the last 15 years and was my caregiver for the last 6 years. (Jacob also took care of me--bringing me the phone when i would fall, and would bring blankets and pillows then lay with me til someone came home. If I was in pain, both Jake and Nipper kept me company.) Anywho, I told him that I knew he was suffering but it was time to go. Boog couldn't say goodbye, so it was up to Jake to do it for him. He was the last one of his litter, and all his siblings had crossed the RB at least 3-4 years prior. Fifteen years is a long time. Booger came home from work that day, and Jacob actually lifted his head and barked. He hadn't barked for months, he did half heartedly in the past, but this bark startled everyone in the house. That night after everyone had gone to bed, Booger & Nipper took their place next to Jacob on the floor for their nightly ritual. Boog told me after about an hour, Jacob lifted his head and licked Boog's hand then passed over the Bridge.

    Nipper is 14, and I expect we will go through the same with him. He's had a few strokes, and drools out one side of his mouth - he also is blind in one eye and can't get in and out of the house without someone carrying him. Maybe Boog won't hold on as much. I don't know -- Nipper was a wedding present from the ex-wife. Nip acts like he's on his last leg then seems to perk up and pull it together when he hears Boog come into the house.
    Last edited by Jadis; 11-21-2005 at 05:59 PM.

  6. #6
    If you mean giving the person the message that it is OK to go, then yes, I think that is very appropriate.

    I remember when I was in high school and my grandmother was dying from cancer. We had her at home, with my mother (also a nurse) providing her care, which was primarily turning, bathing and giving her morphine. She was only semi-conscious, but knew that my uncle was on his way from Colorado. We told her it was OK to hold on for him if she wanted, but that he would understand if she needed to go before then. She did hang on and died about 2 hours after he arrived. I like to think that she made that choice.

    With my grandfather, several years later, who was unconscious with a cardiac problem that could not be corrected, it was a little harder because it was Christmas time and everyone was there. We knew he was suffering though, and that he would not have liked the loss of dignity that was so important to him. His physician was his nephew, so as a family we decided to take him off the ventilator on Christmas Eve. We told him prior to this that it would be hard for us to not have him with us for Christmas, but that we knew that my grandmother would be waiting for him, and that we knew he was anxious to be with her again. He died about an hour after we removed the ventilator, very peacefully.

    When caring for patients who are dying in the hospital, I have also sat with them, and told them that it is OK to let go and move on. I think health care professionals can do this for patients with the agreement of family, or if there is no family, and can help the patient have a better death.

    (KLD)

  7. #7
    Senior Member WM's Avatar
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    Smile thanks!

    Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences/opinions with me. You are most helpful and I appreciate very much your willingness to share something so personal, so openly. I was touched by every one of your stories.
    "I just want you to know, it was the best time ever." J.F.F.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jadis's Avatar
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    you're quite welcome!

  9. #9
    Some interesting Bible facts:

    Where are the dead?

    Gen. 3:19: "In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return."


    Eccl. 9:10: "All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol ["the grave," KJ, Kx; "the world of the dead," TEV], the place to which you are going."

    What is the condition of the dead?

    Eccl. 9:5: "The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all."

    Ps. 146:4: "His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts ["thoughts," KJ, 145:4 in Dy; "all his thinking," NE; "plans," RS, NAB] do perish."
    John 11:11-14: "‘Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.’ . . . Jesus said to them outspokenly: ‘Lazarus has died.’" (Also Psalm 13:3)



    Last edited by Jr.; 12-03-2005 at 02:57 AM.
    Thanks: {Art}

  10. #10
    Senior Member WM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jr.
    Ps. 146:4: "His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts ["thoughts," KJ, 145:4 in Dy; "all his thinking," NE; "plans," RS, NAB] do perish."
    John 11:11-14: "‘Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.’ . . . Jesus said to them outspokenly: ‘Lazarus has died.’" (Also Psalm 13:3)
    [/SIZE][/FONT]
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    Thanks Jr. In these verses, where does the spirit go, when it goes out?

    And other questions--according to these verses is there nothing after death, immediately AFTER death of the body and UNTIL the resurection? And if a person's thought processes stop after death, does this mean only the physical ability to think, or is the spirit still aware of itself?

    Forgive my elementary sounding questions! I'm a person who knows a little about a lot of things, but not a lot about any one thing! "Just enough to be dangerous" as my pop would say!
    "I just want you to know, it was the best time ever." J.F.F.

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