Nearing her final days.. is my Nanna starving?

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Nearing her final days.. is my Nanna starving?

Postby fmeragli » Sun Oct 18, 2009 11:43 pm

Hey everyone,

My name is Frank, I'm 21 and I'm the eldest of 10 grandchildren of my grandmother. She is the most amazing human being in the world, equally as amazing as my other grandmother who passed from cancer years ago..

My Nanna got diagnosed with PSP under a year ago, but has had the symptoms for years.. she is currently in a nursing home, she got admitted 3 days ago, after having moved in with my family and I for the past 8 months, they told us she is now pallative on the 2nd day of her stay and has days or week to live. She can no longer talk, swallow, or chew.. and she hasn't eaten since Saturday. She is weak but still opens her eyes and we know she knows us, we can tell, she acknowledges knowing us in little ways.

The nurses tell us we can keep her mouth wet by dipping these sponges the size of a small ice cube in water where to wet her mouth (this water is thickened). She hasn't eaten since Saturday and has only been receiving water through this way.. I know she is going to pass soon, but its so hard.. she doesn't deserve this disease, no one does.. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

My question is, can she be starving? Like can she be feeling physical pain from starvation. I feel so bad that we cant give her anything for fear of aspiration and for some reason no one believes that an IV or any alternative method of providing nutrients is worth it or beneficial.. I mean, I know she is going to pass, but I don't want her to pass in pain due to starvation.. because thats horrible.. but my mother told me the nurses said she doesn;t feel hunger.. that could be true, I don't know

Has anyone had this question before and got an answer? Could she be suffering from starving? Or could she indeed not feel the hunger pains? I think last time we tried to feed her a few days ago, she either couldn't swallow or wouldnt. But she has been eating signifcantly less as time goes by.. I'm just scared shes in pain from starving..

Anyway, any answers would be appreciated.


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Postby Robin » Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:40 am


Your loved one is not starving. I hope you will listen to what the experts are telling you. Many have asked this question here before as well; you can do a search of past posts containing the keyword "starving" or "hunger." Our resident hospice RN Bill (104fm) has posted extensively on this topic, answering concerned family members' questions.

Just be with your grandmother, telling her you love her and that it's OK to let go. Read the book "Final Gifts," if you have time. (Some have read it after death and also found it comforting then.)

Does the healthcare power of attorney want to donate your grandmother's brain for medical research and to confirm the diagnosis? If so, be sure those arrangements have been made. If they haven't been, let me know and I may be able to help you.

Best wishes,
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Postby eplowman » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:00 pm


Circumstances may differ among different people, but my late wife went through this same situation, and she felt no hunger or thirst whatsoever. In fact, at times she exhibited a sense of euphoria. We believed this was partly or mostly due to the endorphins (chemical changes that are similar in effect to morphine) )produced by the body during the shutdown process. It's possible your grandmother has been, or will be, given morphine as a comfort measure to supplement what the endorphins are doing.

I strongly endorse what Robin has told you. Get the family to spend as much time as possible with your nanna. Talk about favorite memories, even funny ones. Let her feel and know your love!

ed p.
|My wife of 56 years was Rose b. 1930, dx 1999, symptoms from 1997; d. 06/21/08; PSP-rs autopsy confirmed.
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is my gtanny starving?

Postby ruthkri » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:04 pm

Dear Frank, I cannot add anything to the posts you have already received. For a young man you are learning the hard facts of loosing a loved one. this is what so many of us have experienced. Your Granny is not suffering . She will just slip away. So dear child just remember the good times and try not to dwell on the present it is a hard thing for anyone to go through and I know your pain and send you hugs. Ruth Kri
wife of Bud who received his golden wings March 4, 2007
And now abideth Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest
of these is Love
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