Struggling to cope

My mum had a really bad chest infection before and over Christmas needing 3 courses of antibiotics and 2 courses of steroids. Her appetite is none existent she. Eats perhaps 3 teaspoons of ready brek and 3 teaspoons of a soft jacket spud a day we have to push fluids but she only takes sips. She is on oxygen she tachycardic and breathes abdominally she looks dreadful can sleep at night has oedema in bilateral lower legs and feet. She often grips her chest saying she as pain only when pressed. She is terrified of being admitted to hospital so denies most of her symptoms. Had gp out the other day was not concerned I know her time is limited I think weeks now but hate seeing her suffering. How do you help a stubborn lady who has been there for us all no matter what but won't accept help in return.i think she as finally given up.

I find it difficult talking about end of life wishes as I break down in tears I know I'm loosing her and it's breaking my heart seeing her this way suffering in silence. I just want to do the best I can do you think she will just go in her sleep I'm terrified she will die in pain and suffer more than she already is. I seem to annoy her by trying to get her to eat and drink. I'm just not ready to let her go I'm selfish I know but I can't bear life without her.

15 Replies

  • Dear Fireoption, I feel for you both so much. It is terrible to watch your Mum so ill and not be able to do the things you know would help. If she has given up and is just distressed with being pushed to eat and drink, try showing your love by doing other things that don't upset her so much, even if you think they don't help. Chat with her about the past, maybe, or massage her hands with some nice hand cream, or find a favourite piece of music and play it to her.

    It's a real shock to realise one of your parents is dying, so don't be hard on yourself if you can't discuss your Mum's end of life wishes at the moment. Try to talk about other things, and maybe they will come out naturally in the conversation.

  • I'm so sorry to hear your mothers illness is so bad. I too had a very stubborn mother, but in the end she had to go hospital, but she did say if I go in there I'm not coming home (she was right). She had heart and other problems and wasn't eating much either. We had lost my dad 20 months prior to this and I think she just couldn't go on without him and just gave up. I thought I couldn't go on without her either, but you will get through it, one day at a time.

    You are doing exactly what I did and I think everyone else would in the circumstances, I feel for you and send you my thoughts, I do hope the Drs can make her as comfortable as possible and I'm sure she knows you are doing everything you can out of love for her. I hope you have support from other family members or perhaps there's a local charity or health care team you can contact to guide you through this very sad time.

    Sending you both my thoughts.

    I'm sure you will get someone with some other advice coming on here soon.


  • I have a pulmonary nurse who visits me once a month. I suppose I am getting palliative care. During winter of last year I had some very bad exacerbations, making me constantly short of breath. The nurse put me on morphine and midazolam. These medications help me breath, but mainly helped me to stop worrying about things. Now that summer is here, I don't use them and have reduced the number of times I use my inhaler.

    It could be that opioids might help your mother with the pain an dher mental attitude.

  • Dear Fireoption,

    I'm sorry your mum is so poorly, Sometimes all we can do is watch as our loved ones take a different road to the one we want for them. Be strong for your mum lots of little drinks, hold her hands, talk to her about the past. The best thing you can do is be there for her and for her to know you love her.

    I know from recent experience how hard it is for you but we are here for you just let us know.


  • Hi Fireoption

    What wonderful replies you have gotten.

    My thoughts are with you. I went through the same thing with my dad and brother. Music is very relaxing for them, and makes them feel good. Play her music from her younger, happy days. It will lift her spirits. Please feel free to come on and chat anytime. We're here for you.

    Rubyxx 😊

  • Dear Firepoint, my heart goes out to you having to witness your mum fading away. How sad and distressing. Is there anyone who can help you? Maybe a nurse could call in.

    You can only do your best but you do need help.

    Bless you both. Xxx

  • Just read you sad words about your mother it decked back the way my mother past as she had trouble with her legs and breathing how much more she had as I was very young at the time as my father fetched her bed down stairs for her to be with everyone so I can simpithy for you and I think she knows you are doing your best for her and you are worried for her just be by her side and she will let you now when she wants something take care and look after your self as well

  • Dear fireoption,

    It's all been said. I just want to extend my hand and tell you that I know this is the most awful thing to have to deal with, to watch your mum sinking. I hope you have strong family support for yourself because you will need more inner strength in time to come. I think you are doing all you can at the moment. My thoughts are with you both.


  • Oh how I feel for you and your mum ,,,, I am not that far health wise as yet ,,,, but over Christmas I was very poorly ,,,,not eating anything for 9 days just water ,,,and the antibiotics were making so violently sick I had to have intravenous,,,,antibiotics in hospital ,,,,,then 3 more lots of antibiotics and steroids I am on the mend slowly ,

    Anyway back to you And your lovely mum ,,,,

    words can be hard to say ,,,,,my daughter and I have tried to have conversations like that ,,,,but we both get far too upset ,but a nice cuddle and ,,,,as eregendal ,,,,,,,says a nice gentle hand massage ,,,,a look back at old photographs ,,,,run her a nice bath with some sweet smelling bubbles for her relax in ( if she's up to it ) a few flowers in her room,,,, I love the scent of freesias and you only need a small bunch they look and smell so lovely ,,,,,,these are just things my daughter did for me when I was feeling so weak and helpless,,,,,,

    sadly the day will come ,,,,and when we we do lose our mum we think it's the end of the world ,,,,and how will we carry on ,,,when I lost my mum ,,,I thought why are these people carrying on with life ,,,,don't they know I've just lost my mum ,,,,but then I thought to myself ,,,my mum loved me with all her heart ,,,,she wouldn't have left me ,,,unless ,,,she had gone to a far better place and that helped me ,,,,and I also told my family ,,,,when I'm gone ,,,think of me safe in my mothers arms once again ,

    ,,,,,a few years ago I had a spell in Icu with septasyma and the family were called to my bedside ,,,,,I was lucky I pulled through that was in 2008 I saw how my family were and they wouldn't have known my wishes ,,,,so when I was well again ,,,I wrote letters to each of them to read when ,,,,I'm passed ,,,I also wrote my funeral wishes ,,,chose the Hymns and music and readings and prayers ,,,so I could make it easier for them when the time comes ,,,,this isn't helping you ,,,,,at this time ,,,,,but it could help someone else who might read this ,

    Im so sad that you and your lovely mum are going through such a terrible time ,,,your mum is so lucky to have such a loving caring daughter ,,,,,,,,please know you are both in my prayers ,,,,,God Bless

  • Thank you all for your heart felt replies you all rendered me in tears just reading your kind words of support. I keep saying to myself put yourself in mum's position that I'm being selfish wanting her to keep going when she's so obviously given up and wants peace. I will try to take all of your advice so not to agitate her any further but it so hard to sit by and watch. Thank you all.

  • Fireoption Try taking your mom a small pot of fresh fruit salad. That worked when my mom was not feeling hungry, don't make a big thing of it just tell her to try it and see. You could also try freezing some small ice cubes with fresh orange juice these she could suck they will help to moisten her mouth and at the same time give her some fluid. Try also a small chichen salad. Again don't make a fuss just tell her you thought it would save her the trouble when she wasn't feeling to bright.

  • She is not eating any solids food now was managing small amounts a few days ago even rice pudding is difficult to swallow so she is just on water now. But thank you for your well meant advice

  • Fireoption Are you getting any help looking after your mom, please contact your gp who can arrange palliative care for your mom. thinking of you both.

  • I'm yet to go through this with my mum.. Im scared shitless

  • I I'm terrified that she will suffer and be gasping for her final breathe. Today she was so listless barely able to talk or open her eyes nor been able to keep anything down except iced water she is now having diarrhoea daily and being sick though it's just been fluids and acid she is bringing up. Couldn't keep my tears away just held her hand but she didn't have the energy for more than a brief squeeze

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