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Thread: Comfort at the end of life: how to help with stress and pain

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    UK, The South West
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    Quote Originally Posted by entwyf View Post
    I would not like to take anything from my mother that makes her happy. What I want to do, but cannot do because I live five hundred miles away, is (at the very least) convince someone that changes **of some sort** in her diet could (at the very least) make her more comfortable.

    It would not be a bad thing for her to have less inflammation, less confusion, better sleep, better breathing.
    Back in December we took wheat out of my father's diet (having read Wheat Belly) and noticed an immediate improvement in his cognitive abilities. He's 93, has a pacemaker and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 3 years ago. Until then he was steadily declining and all the information we had was that this was a one way journey. At that time all I cared about was that each moment of his day was as enjoyable for him as I could make it. I was giving him anything he fancied and would eat, because after all, if you can't enjoy yourself at 93 when you have Alzheimer's, then when can you? So, chocolate, biscuits, cake etc and all the low fat stuff my mother had bought was thrown out.

    We took him off wheat because he had already done that for himself many years ago when his hip was deteriorating, before it was replaced. He's now about 80% primal and we've replaced the chocolate and biscuits etc with cheese and apple slices (he can only chew with his front teeth) and breakfast is bacon and egg, not toast, but he still has baked beans and potatoes.

    But ... despite being 93, he's actually very healthy. He's never carried much fat and his pacemaker is literally to set the pace for his heart, the muscle itself is fine. And the alzheimer's medication is his only prescription medication, he has no blood pressure or other meds. 5 years ago he was towing a caravan across Europe for half the year, doing the cooking, the shopping and the gardening. Apart from the Alzheimer's there's no reason he shouldn't go on for another 10 years. If he had been physically failing as well, then I'm not sure I would have been so keen to try. Also, if he had been upset by my removing the sandwiches, toast, biscuits, hot cross buns, cake, sausages, beer, fish and chips (!!) etc and more recently, chocolate, then it wouldn't have been worth the upset to him. With the Alzheimer's he's not actually aware of what he's missing - just what I'm giving him, and he's happy with bacon and egg, and cheese and apple, and (hard) cider and smoked sausage and beans, roast chicken etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by entwyf View Post
    I just heard from my sister that, after a week in the hospital (because the doctor wanted to get rid of fluid that made her legs swell and made it hard for her to breathe), Momma is back home but confused. No wonder. She was given a large dose of diuretic; her potassium level went down as the swelling in her ankles went down; her heartbeat spiked at one point at 136 . . .

    She basically, for the sake of less swollen ankles, got a punch to both body and brain. No wonder she's out of whack . . .

    Why does getting old and having one's body come to a halt have to be one hard blow after another? Why can't there be some freaking way for the medical profession to support bodily functions in a thoughtful, integrated way instead of throwing things at symptoms, one after the other?
    We had investigations started into why my father appeared to be bleeding into his underwear. When it reached the point at which they were talking a colonoscopy - at 92 with Alzheimer's? We declined and explained to his GP that we would not agree to anything that threatened his mental quality of life, such as the sedatives they suggested using for the colonoscopy, which would have worked directly against his Alzheimer's meds. Let alone the 2 days of clearing his gut out!! (It has turned out to be haemarrhoids in the end.) In his condition, any hospitalisation is likely to precipitate a major downturn in his mental state.

    It does appear that doctors can only cope with one symptom as a time. Why they can't consider the overall impact of treatment I don't know, but it appears to be up to families to watch out for our loved ones best interests as best we can.

    I'm so sorry that your mother is suffering. I'm not sure that at this point you'd see much impact from any changes you could make. Apart from being 80% primal, I also have my father on high dose vit D3, vit K, vit B12, phosphatidylserine supplements and cooking with coconut oil. I have complete control of his diet. In 6 months we've seen small but significant (to us) improvements in his mental abilities.

    But physically, he doesn't appear to have recovered any ground. At the moment, exercise is far too much of an effort and it's all he can do to walk to and get in and out of the car or move around the house. If he continues to improve mentally then I think he'll be happy to go for longer walks and maybe his physical form will improve, but I suspect we're months or another year away from physical improvement - assuming he doesn't keel over with a stroke before then!

    Whether, given her physical condition, introducing primal foods or removing processed foods would improve any of her conditions is debatable. Cutting them slightly probaby wouldn't make much difference. People who are in better health can go through withdrawal and cravings for weeks by removing grains and sugar which is additional stress on the body. I'd say that though her favourite/comfort foods may well be the things that made her sick, at this point they may well also be what is giving her any enjoyment in her life. And of course, unless she is deemed to have lost mental capacity, well, much as it hurts us to watch others making themselves sick, it is their choice.

    I'm so sorry you're in this position, entwyf. It's very very hard to see someone failing and not to be able to do anything. I think all you can do is to keep her as happy as she can be from moment to moment and if this means unhealthy eating, there's probably nothing you can do about it, but I'm not sure it would make much difference either.
    Me, My Father and The Alzheimer's -

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    New Zealand
    I think there are two sides to the coin.

    On the one hand, there's nothing wrong with wanting your mother to have less inflammation/etc in her final years. but on the other hand, you have to have her involvement AND that of her support network (which is not you, because you are so far away).

    If your sister, on the other hand, had suddenly decided that wheat was out (for example), and she was in charge of mom's meals, and mom wanted all kinds of sweets all day long (ie, cookies), then GF cookies could be made and perhaps she would see some health improvement.

    but at the end of the day, if you try to drive this train from 500 miles away, it's going to end in a lot of frustration and anger for you and your family. People will take thing personally, get angry, and so on.

    I also can understand that you feel frustrated -- frustrated that you want to help and can't, frustrated that people likely won't listen to you, and frustrated that your mom is deteriorating.

    I get that. For years I struggled to change my family's eating patterns and habits. I started to recognize the emotional eating patterns, the negative relationships with foods, and of course, the unhealthy foods that they eat. And, you might even say, food addictions.

    Anyway, end of the day, no amount of me talking or mentioning it was going to change a thing. Nothing has. Seriously. It's shocking. And yes, i know that a lot of the things that I do, that I would mention in the past, would have made their daily lives better as well as their long-term health.

    But you know what this talk was doing? frustrating them, frustrating me, and everyone would end up angry and not enjoying each other. Food, like politics, is not discussed.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Framingham, MA
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    How do doctors really know how much time a person has? Only the universe, cosmos, and our great creator whoever she may be, really have the true knowing of each person's expiration date.

    Here is some research on congestive heart failure.

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