May 17, 2013 - 12:43 am
This is a touchy subject because I know that honesty may in fact prove not to provide the comfort I would so like to have.
I laid down beside Mom at about 5:00 this morning, and she passed away in my arms 30 minutes later. But it was the preceding TWELVE hours that are tearing me apart. It was the most horrible thing I have ever had to go through.
She began making "gurgling" noises (what I see refered to as the "death rattle"), and it sounded like she was choking and just fighting for each breath. We kept suctioning her mouth and we were generous with the morphine. Occassionally she would sound better, but not for long and would go right back to that. She opened her eyes a few times, but only very briefly. Aside from that, they were only barely open it seemed and not looking at anything. She didn't seem conscious at all.
Just before I laid with her at 5:00, we called the hospice nurse to see if there was anything we could do. She suggested raising her in the bed and elevating her head, which we did. We immediately did the suction again and more morphine as her brow then began to crease. She began breathing better again and was more relaxed. Then as I said she passed a short while later.
I cannot stand the thought that my Mom was suffering and miserable for so many hours needlessly. I don't know if the better breathing/relaxation was due to the suctioning/morphine as it had done a few times earlier or if that would have permanenetly taken care of it had we done it earlier, perhaps allowing her to pass earlier.
The nurse assured us that it is often traumatic for the family but not the patient. I hope that's true and not just to make us feel better.
That sound and what it may have meant are going to haunt me.