3 Deaths in 3 Months

Well, I know it may seem that I’ve fallen off the face of the earth…but, I’m actually still here.  Last semester was a hard one for me.  Our family had three deaths in three months.  Needless to say, it was a time to focus on being together and remembering those whom we had lost.  I didn’t blog much since I was grieving and because I was teaching four courses and trying to keep up with the business of life (parenting, etc.).

It is good to be back on the blog.

DSCN0266In August, we lost Grandma C.  You may remember me talking about her in this post.  She is still the inspiration for this blog and her journey with vascular dementia will forever impact how I care for others.  At her core, she was a true southern lady who taught me a lot about life, food, meal preparation and nutrition.  Oh, how I will miss her!!!  In her final days she suffered another stroke that left her uncommunicative.  We felt her spirit as we sat by her bed as she passed.

We then lost our cat, Eleanor.  Eleanor was our grey tabby and she passed of what seems to have been a brain tumor.  In the end I was syringe feeding her chicken broth and giving her long snuggles.  Our other two four-legged family members (a 15 pound orange tabby and a 61 pound basset hound) also seemed to mourn her passing by staying close in those final days.

Lastly, we lost our Papa.  Papa had battled mesothelioma for 6 months.  He was a fun-loving, spirited man who taught us a lot about family, having a good time and being intentional with our time and talents.

3 deaths in 3 months.  I hope I never have to go through that again.

I will say that I did notice the role nutrition played in each situation.  It was interesting to participate in each “person’s” care. All of them naturally begin to give up food and water.  My Hospice colleagues always remind me that in the end we want people to “eat to satisfaction.”   “Let the patient be your guide.”  Let the patient be your guide.  I love that.  It held true in all three situations.

Although we may want to push, push, push food in the end, we may be doing more harm than good.  It seems that when some people are dying they may want to eat less and less in the final days and at the very end aren’t hungry or thirsty.  They can be truly satisfied with a bite or simple sip.

Well, as we start 2013 I’m going to dedicate my posts to “letting the patient the the guide.” We will be sharing a new smartphone app (and website) with you (that we designed) and we will help you navigate some foods that will better help you live healthy (and happy).

Amanda

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