Today's post is different. It is about a serious, painful subject that almost all of us have had to deal with: the last hours of a loved one. The death, once omnipresent, remains hidden today. More than 80% of deaths occur in the hospital. Far away are those times in which the dead were veiled in their houses, in which every person nearby, not to say all the neighbors of the neighborhood were invited to pay him the last tribute, those times in which it was common to see people Dressed in mourning pass in procession through the streets behind a hearse. Because of these changes, many of us are no longer at all familiar with death. We no longer know how it is nor do we know how to behave before it.
For this reason, I have decided to prepare this entry, although it might at first seem somewhat macabre. No one knows the day or time of his death or that of his loved ones, but for that very reason, it is convenient to be prepared. For this reason, I recommend that you carefully check this bulletin because, on the day that death approaches, I can assure you from experience that simply knowing what is happening and how to act allows you to better control the shock and terrible pain you can get to own us.
I am going to tell you about the ten signs that announce the coming of death and how to react to them. I have taken great care to stay on the plane of the facts since the emotions that arise can vary depending on the relationship that each one may have with those who are on the death bed (parents, children, partners, siblings, grandparents ...).
1. Loss of appetite
When death approaches, energy needs decrease. The individual begins to resist or refuse to eat and drink and only lends itself to taking small amounts of bland foods (such as cereal porridge). The first thing that is rejected is the meat because it is badly digested. With death on the prowl, the individual may become unable to swallow.
What to do: you should not force him to eat and you should respect the signs given by the recruiter, however much he may worry about this loss of interest in food. Offer some sorbet or ice cream regularly, or a sip of water. Put a warm wet towel around your lips and put cacao on your lips so they are moist and do not hurt.
2. Excessive sleep and fatigue
Whoever is living their last hours spends most of the day and night as their metabolism slows down, and lack of food and drink contributes to their dehydration. To awaken it becomes complicated, and the fatigue is such that the individual no longer reaches to discern well what happens around him.
What to do: Let him sleep, avoid abruptly waking him up. Start from the principle that you can hear everything you say since the ear is still functioning, even if the person is unconscious, or even during the coma.
Lack of food and fatigue weaken people to the point where they can become unable to lift their heads or even suck on a straw.
What to do: focus on the well-being of the patient, help him to be comfortable and feel accompanied.
The organs, and among them the brain, begin to stop working. There are few diseases that cause hyperactivity (high degree of consciousness) when the end is near. Usually, the dying ones do not know exactly where they are or who is in the room. Each time they talk and respond less, or talk to people that others do not see; they may seem to say nonsensical things and they may stir and rummage through the sheets.
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What to do: stay calm and be understanding. Speak calmly and remind him who you are when you approach him.
5. Difficulty breathing
Breathing becomes irregular, complicated. The lungs and throat can also secrete excessively, which produces loud noises in inspirations and expirations. This phenomenon is called rattle.
What to do: Respiratory problems can be of concern to those who witness it, but the person who is in this phase of the end of his life is not aware of these changes in breathing. Again, focus on your well-being. There are body postures that can help: head slightly reclining on a pillow, or sit down holding it well with cushions and a solid back or lay it slightly tilted on the side. Moisten your mouth with a damp towel or a humidifier and pour cocoa to your lips. If you give a lot of flow through the nose and mouth, clean it delicately without trying to blow it. Remain calm near the sick person, reach out to him or talk softly.
6. Social isolation
As the body ceases to function, those who are prostrate lose interest in the people around them. He may stop talking, that he spits in an incomprehensible way, that he stops answering the questions or that he simply turns his back on those who accompany him. A few days before the death, the person may surprise their loved ones with the last show of joy and affection, which can last from less than an hour to a whole day.
What to do: Keep in mind that it is a normal part of the path of death, which has nothing to do with the relationship you have with that person. Keep your physical presence by touching and talking, if you feel capable of it, but without expecting anything in return. Take advantage of any moment of lucidity, if it arrives, because soon it will fade away.
7. Decreased urination (urine)
The low amount of drink and the decrease of the blood pressure contribute to diminishing the activity of the kidneys. The urine becomes very concentrated, dark, reddish or the color of tea. There may also be a loss of sphincter control when death stalks.
What to do: It can happen that the medical staff decides that a catheter (a catheter) is needed, but not in the last hours of life. Renal dysfunction increases toxins in the blood and may contribute to a mild coma before death. When changing the sheets, put a waterproof sheet on the mattress.
8. Swelling in feet and ankles
When kidney function slows down, fluid may be retained in the body, especially in areas farthest from the heart, such as the feet and ankles. These areas, as well as the hands and face, can become swollen.
What to do: Usually, no specific treatment (such as diuretics, for example) is usually given for these swelling related to agony. It is a natural consequence of the proximity of death.
9. Cold extremities
During the hours or minutes before death, the blood circulation moves away from the periphery of the body and focuses on vital organs. While this happens, the hands, feet, and fingers become cold and the nails may turn pale or blue.
What to do: a warm blanket can help preserve the well-being of those who are dying and keep them conscious. You could complain about the weight, so do not over adjust it.
10. Veined veins
The skin, which was previously uniformly pale or ash-colored, begins to show violet or bluish streaks. It is one of the signs that death is imminent as a result of the slowing down of blood circulation. Veins usually appear first on the soles of the feet.
What to do: there is nothing to do about it, unless you know that it is part of the natural process of death and not be surprised by it.
Note: The signs that announce the death and which I just mentioned describe a process of natural death, which can vary from one person to another. If a person is kept alive artificially (through a respirator or feeding tube), the process may be different than this.
Knowing all these signs can help you deal with this painful moment without being even more helpless than you already are. And if today you do not need this information, feel happy to know that your loved ones are in good health and enjoy every moment in which the people you want to continue to enjoy a life full of energy at your side.