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 Aspiration pnuemonia: Do we need a feeding tube? 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:30 pm
Posts: 976
Location: Henderson, Nv.
It was the same here. DNR, etc. John loved his food too...had a big appetite almost to the end..and didn't gain an fact lost weight. We gave him anything he wanted and enjoyed...even when we fed him. He ate pizza from his favorite place right up until a week before he passed. Amazing!

Dianne C.

Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:41 am

Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:29 am
Posts: 126
Location: Italy and Toronto (Canada)
Thank you all for your warm and informative replies.

I agree with all of you in that we should have thought ahead and asked our father regarding his end of life decisions when he was in full control of his mind. It's just that we never wanted to talk about unpleasant issues with Dad and our approach has always been to present a very positive and hopeful image of things to our Dad.

I admire all you wonderful caregivers who have asked this question and received the proper answer from you loved ones, like Jerome. This way you will always have the comfort of knowing that you carried out the wishes of your LO.

My sister and I are in continuous turmoil, listening to his chest and freaking out at the first sign of a cough or a wheez. And now with the flu season upon us, we live in constant dread of the next bout of pneumonia.

I guess the problem is that our Dad is still so emotionally responsive, so gentle and so loving, that we are not ready to let him go and it seems to us that we should use all means at our disposal to prolong his life. I know I am being selfish, but I cannot bear the thought of losing Dad at this point. On the other hand I don't want to see him suffer either.

Will the feeding tube lessen his suffering or will it take away what little quality of life is left for him? During the two months I was feeding him after his pneumonia, mealtimes were special times for us: I would wheel him into the dining room and him and I had our little corner where I would arrange a nice table setting for him and myself and I would feed him while talking to him and whenever I could, I would try to bring my own food and we would eat together. I know that he enjoyed this interaction and for me it was a beautiful, tender time.

I also worry about the psychological impact: with the feeding tube, he will know that the end is near. My Dad is a very positive person, and I don't want to take away his hope. I know that he will want to fight all the way to the end, not because he is afraid of death. Dad is very spiritual and he is the one who is trying to make us realize that death is only a step in the progress of his soul. But I know that he believes in always trying one's best in everything and that's why he is still fighting.

He is fighting so hard, I can see it in all his activities. Even when the neurologist gives him the MMSE, he tries so hard to answer correctly and often comes up with the correct answers later and asks if he can redo the test. During exercise hour, he is always the one who is most motivated and despite his considerable movement difficulties, he still tries his best. During other entertainment activities, he is the one who tries to get involved as much as he can.

That's why it's so hard for us to think that we'll just let aspiration pnuemonia take him without even trying to prevent it as much as possible.

Shomy (SS)

Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:36 am

Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:29 am
Posts: 126
Location: Italy and Toronto (Canada)
Dear Renata,

I want to offer my condolences on the passing away of your Jerome. We have all witnessed the way you dedicated yourself to his care and to your selfless and unflinching love.

I am confident that his soul is finally free of this earthly bondage and that you two will be consorts for all eternity.

Please keep contributing to this forum because we can all benefit from your valuable experience, good sense, and your warm presence.

Much love,

Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:49 am

Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:01 am
Posts: 4
Location: Virginia
Post Feeding Tube
My husband is hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia. The infection seems to be resolving,but we may be facing the feeding tube decision.

Like so many others, he has seen his life chip away by inches. One of the last pleasures left to him is food. He still loves a good meal. If faced with the decision I expect, I think my kids and I have decided to bring him home, try pureed food and prolong some joy in life as long as we can. He still has some cognition and can enjoy his family and a little TV. He enjoys a ride in the countryside and opera music.

We have seen the descriptions of the end stage of this horrible disease, and would like to spare him that. The feeding tube may prolong his life past the point where there is any quality left at all.

This is a horrible decison to have make and my heart goes out to all those who are faced with it.


Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:56 pm
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