Feeding Tube Discussion

This post is a response to a comment I received a few days ago. The comment was made on my post titled “Time to Say Good By to Mother” https://deborahfoster.wordpress.com/time-to-say-goodby-to-mother/

The comment came in the form of a post on another blog or website.

http://news.technophobiac.com/2008/03/27/how-not-to-say-goodbye-to-a-loved-one/

This comment was very respectful of us as a family and very understanding of our sorrow and grief.  I appreciate that. I also understand the writer’s position on the debate of whether or not to remove a feeding tube from a terminal patient, and do not disagree with the statements made in the comment.  I must, however, make one statement in my defense at this point.  Rightly or wrongly,  I did not know, yes, even in this post Terri Shiavo era, the physical effects  dehydration would have on my mother’s body.  At the time of Mother’s death, April 15, 2005, Terri Shiavo’s case was still very much in the media, but somehow, I just don’t remember those details being stated.  At any rate, the truth is I did not know and was not told about what she would experience as her body with through the process of dying resulting from the denial of hydration and nutrition.

As a result of this comment, however, I have mentally revisited the days of agony in which we first made the decision to insert a feeding tube in Mother and then the day in which the decision was made to remove it.

I also realized that almost everyday there is someone who reads my posts about Mother’s feeding tube as a result of a internet search for information about this subject. Additionally, realistically speaking, almost every family will one day face the feeding tube dilemma, as they make life and death decisions for a precious loved one.

It is so hard.  I don’t have enough wisdom to give every family advice.  However, I plan to do some writing about what we learned from this experience and also another time in my life when my father-in-law, dying from Alzheimer’s Disease, existed for a year and a half because of a feeding tube.

There is no doubt that this discussion of feeding tubes will be very emotional for all of us who have had to face ‘the decision’.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.  I know there are families who are wrangling with this delimma even as I write this post.  It is my prayer that my words, our discussion, perhaps even debate, will be helpful to you and your family.

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One thought on “Feeding Tube Discussion

  1. Thank you so very much for this blog. As I type this comment, my family and I are faced with this dilemma. Our dad is in hospital now and hasn’t eaten (down to liquids only) in several days. Earlier today the doctor informed us that he would perform the procedure on tomorrow morning to insert a feeding tube. Less than an hour ago, he returned to my dad’s room to inform my mother that he has decided that he will not be performing the procedure because it would be too risky. My dad had a stint inserted over a month ago and since that time, as per the doctor, the tumors have protruded through the stint, making it near impossible to swallow. This is very difficult for us, as basically it appears that their alternative to allow the patient to simply starve to death. My dad is in his right mind and very alert. I just know that we do not want to just sit and watch our dad slowly deteriorate. Thank you for allowing me to vent.

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