there is quite a history as there always is between mother’s and daughter’s. as my youngest sister talks about our mother and we have agreed to her experience being different from mine. that does not make mine less true than hers and there has never been any resentment on my part that there is this difference. there were in fact times that my only coping mechanism was to think someday she would be sorry. the mother not the sister. it never really came to pass although it was close once i think. there was a letter that sort of started with how she may have done some things then took a sharp right turn to somehow she is the wronged party as she has been put in the position to admit to such wrong doing. it was laughable. and so i did laugh. somehow she did it again, that never really admitting to what was done and turning it to poor me look at what you expect from me. first let’s be clear there was never a request for such admission as it was as expected to be and was most insincere. the younger sister hasn’t been the one to express feelings of regret, remorse or such emotions to my knowledge. this is a hard time for her and yet it would not seem that way to someone who does not know her. the middle sister cries a good game but is not the one prone to these sentiments either. the odd thing is they would most likely see me this way and themselves differently. not that the different opinions would make any of our truths less so. it would not surprise me to know that we have all cried over this woman for different reasons. A, had from the outside a great childhood. M, would say that she was abused from day one and would not be far from the truth, yet she gave a good deal of abuse in return.
there is nothing here of bitterness or recrimination. she is who she is and knowing her biggest deepest fear is to die alone gives me such sympathy, empathy and insight. she is after all just human like the rest of us. she is frail and vulnerable. this is how it ends for so many of us. we fear this and yet we create it. one daughter 2 hours away, one 2,000 miles away and the other so full of hate she can not be reached at all even in the next room. yet here we are, one daughter drives the 2 hours, the other calls and sends the money needed for her comfort, the third is forced to share a home with her and see her own son love this woman without limits. he has grown to be a man of great kindness who was not treated with such by his mother or grandmother. the grandmother used him for her own end and yet in his innocence he does not know this. he is considered by our society to be the damaged and less than. he is considered by his aunt and uncle who live 2,000 miles away, admirable.
the mother has decided to forgo dialysis. she is receiving the benefit of hospice care. the nephew is being guided by professionals who do not know or care what kind of woman she has been. the aunt and uncle speak to him, encourage him, let him know that they know how difficult this must be. the aunt cries when she is alone and buys curtains for the mother’s room at the nephew’s home. it is all i can do for her now.
what i hope to do for others is bring some understanding to what can be expected if you or someone you love is dying from congestive heart failure and kidney failure. here is some information I have put together for your convenience.
Death from kidney failure is generally considered a gentle death. In fact, many physicians and nurses would choose to die of kidney disease rather than any other illness. Most symptoms of kidney failure can be easily managed or suppressed and pain is rarely a problem.
Physical Symptoms of Kidney Failure
The kidneys filter waste from the bloodstream and regulate the amount of water contained within the blood. When the kidneys fail to do their job, the waste accumulates in the body. This build up of waste may cause several symptoms.
Energy Level: The first thing you may notice is a loss of energy. You may become more sleepy or lethargic. Your sleeping patterns may change; you might sleep more during the day or have difficulty sleeping at night. As things progress, you will sleep more and more and eventually lose consciousness altogether.
Mental Changes: You might notice mild confusion early on that may progress to disorientation, anxiety, or delirium. Any discomfort from these mental changes can usually be easily managed with gentle reassurance from loved ones and health care professionals and the use of medications, if needed.
Muscle Changes: As minerals build up in the blood, you may notice muscle twitching, tremors, or even seizures. Medications can be given to prevent seizures and treat them if they occur. Gentle massage can relieve discomfort caused by muscle twitching or spasms.
Skin Changes: A build up of a chemical called urea in the blood may cause your skin to itch. You may even develop a fine white powder on your skin.
Appetite and Weight Changes: As with any serious illness, your appetite will decrease and may cease altogether. There is no need to force yourself to eat if your body doesn’t feel like it. Doing so may only make you feel worse. You may lose weight as your appetite wanes or you might gain weight as your body retains extra fluid. If you are not producing much urine but still drinking fluids, you might notice your feet, legs, abdomen, and other areas of your body swell with excess fluid.
Changes in Urination: You may pass little or no urine at all. If this is the case for you, limiting the amount of fluid you drink may improve your comfort by decreasing the amount of excess fluid in your body. As mentioned above, excess fluid will lead to swelling of the feet, legs, abdomen, and other areas of the body. The fluid may congest the lungs, making breathing difficult, and strain the heart. If you are not producing any urine, death will usually occur quite soon, usually within one to two weeks. If, however, you are still producing some urine, you could live much longer.
Breathing Changes: The build up of acids in the blood may cause changes in breathing. You may breathe faster and more shallow. This breathing is generally not uncomfortable. If fluid has accumulated in the lungs, you may have shortness of breath,
Death is rarely a welcome guest but death from kidney failure may be the most gentle and comfortable death any of us could ask for. If you have further questions about what to expect during your particular illness, speak with your kidney specialist or hospice physician.
add to this vomiting in the morning. not sure why this one is not at the top of the list for early symptoms of kidney failure. for months prior to my failure each morning no matter how I changed my routine, i would throw up. finally i saw it somewhere, but not until after i had been in intensive care with the kidney failure.
please remember I do not give medical advise here. anyone who has experienced symptoms and has questions should contact your physician. never substitute any advise here for what you think is the right thing for you or for advise given by a healthcare professional.