Archive for October 7th, 2010


When 20 = 5.5

Right at noon the hospice nurse alerted me to the fact that Julie’s breathing had changed.  She’d started a short, shallow breathing that the nurse referred to as “end-of-life” breathing.  The nurse has been a hospice nurse for five years, and the longest she’s ever seen anyone in end-of-life breathing before they die is 20 minutes.

Until now.  Julie has been in end-of-life breathing for five and a half hours.  There’s no indication that she’s suffering, or even uncomfortable.  The nurse says Julie is the strongest person she’s ever met.

I assume Julie will pass sometime tonight, but I thought that last night too.  Julie will go when it’s right for her to go.  I’ll keep you posted




On early Wednesday morning Julie took a turn for the worse.  The hospice nurse came in and tended to her.  Based on what the nurse was seeing, she revised her lifespan guess down to 3-4 days.

Later in the morning Julie’s heartbeat changed, which told the nurse we were probably looking at more like 4-5 hours.  Julie’s heart recovered, but I don’t think anyone thought she’d make it through the night.

Yet it’s morning, and Julie is still with us.  I’ve been keeping her in medications through the night.  I think she’s comfortable.  She’s mostly unresponsive and apparently unaware of what’s going on around her, as she has been since sometime yesterday morning.

The hospice nurse spent pretty much the entire day with us yesterday, until I told her I felt I could handle it through the night.  At one point yesterday the nurse felt Julie needed a different oxygen machine.  She had to raise a ruckus, but got one delivered in under an hour!  She called me at 7AM this morning, and will be back here shortly.  The support they provide is just great.

I’m not sure how long Julie has with us.  I don’t think it’s long, but no one really knows.  I’ll put up a post when I have more news.

Take care, everyone.


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