• he is sleeping all the time, how long does he have?

    Asked by LILPORKCHOP on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

    he is sleeping all the time, how long does he have?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      Hello @LILPORKCHOP, I am an oncology nurse and not having all the data it makes it impossible to predict. There are certain signs that can give you an approximate time based on what you see. These guidelines are from a booklet called, Gone from my Sight". They are as follows:

      One to Three Months
      • Decreased desire for food
      • Increased desire for sleep
      • Withdrawal from people and the environment

      One to Two Weeks
      • Even more sleep
      • Confusion
      • Restlessness
      • Vision-like experiences
      • Change in temperature, respiration, pulse, and blood pressure
      • Congestion
      • Not eating

      Days or Hours
      • Surge of energy
      • Decreased blood pressure
      • Glassy, teary eyes
      • Half-opened eyes
      • Irregular breathing
      • Increased restlessness
      • Cold, purple, blotchy feet and hands
      • Weak pulse
      • Decreased urine output

      Minutes
      • Gasping breathing
      • No awakening

      Sometimes nurses who work end of life have their own go to signs that tell us when a death is eminent. In example, some monitor the breathing,, my go to was to examine their knees to look for discoloration... Every nurse has their go to sign.
      I truly hope this helps clarify your question. Best of luck to you.

      29 days ago
    • Leuky's Avatar
      Leuky

      I was just going to post that Carm would be along and answer this for you, and she beat me to it. She always has great information, thank you Carm

      29 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Yes she does, and we second that, thanks for your information Carm.

      29 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Thank you, Carm!! I have plans ... still in the making ... to write a series of blogs on end of life. I listened to a Webinar by Texas Oncology Foundation on the topic and there is so much that I think patients (and their families) need to know - even if the subject is not one that people necessarily want to think about.

      I'm going to try to find the Gone from My Sight booklet.

      28 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I wanted to add to @LILPORKCHOP - depending on the treatment he is getting - he could just be completely exhausted from radiation and/or chemo. When I was undergoing chemo, it left me with a fatigue that I can't even begin to describe. The first week, I barely moved off of the couch or out of the bed, except to go to the bathroom to throw up. Radiation also completely drained my energy. So ... while he could be nearing the end of life, his body may just be trying to recover from cancer treatments.

      28 days ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      @LiveWithCancer,
      You can actually download a sample of the book on the web. I used to work on an End of Life unit. Many people think the unit is the same as hospice, but it isn't. I have done some seminars with nursing students on the topic. It was the best part of my nursing career and it really helped me in the field of oncology. It is a conversation that has to be finished once started. Many nurses refuse to do it, but those of us that do... Really put many at ease. And the poem at the end of the pamphlet, Gone from my sight, really puts death in perspective...it is:

      I am standing upon the seashore.
      A ship at my side spreads her white
      sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

      She is an object of beauty and strength.
      I stand and watch her until at length
      she hangs like a speck of white cloud
      just where the sea and sky come
      to mingle with each other.

      Then, someone at my side says;
      "There, she is gone!"

      "Gone where?"
      Gone from my sight. That is all.
      She is just as large in mast and hull
      and spar as she was when she left my side
      and she is just as able to bear her
      load of living freight to her destined port.
      Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

      And just at the moment when someone
      at my side says, "There, she is gone!"
      There are other eyes watching her coming,
      and other voices ready to take up the glad shout;
      "Here she comes!"
      And that is dying.

      28 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      That's an awesome poem, @carm! Thank you for sharing it!

      27 days ago
    • Teachertina's Avatar
      Teachertina

      Hospice nurses gave me information when my mom was days from her death. It helped me so much to understand the process as it happened. I hope you can get the information you need to help you through this difficult time.

      26 days ago
    • Paperpusher's Avatar
      Paperpusher

      I wanted to second LiveWithCancer's mention that while going through treatment, the body is in such a battle that sleeping was all my husband wanted to do. He would sleep almost 24 hours just getting up to go to the bathroom for one reason or another. He even slept while at treatment and didn't eat much. Getting enough fluids in him was a big challenge and he ended up having to go in for fluids since he was dehydrated.

      23 days ago

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