None of us can predict when death will come. However, doctors and nurses who deal with seriously ill patients know that the approach of death is accompanied by certain symptoms.
The signs of impending death are different for each person, and not all of the symptoms listed below are “required.” But there’s something in common.
Loss of appetite
The body’s need for energy is becoming less. A person may begin to resist eating and drinking, or there are only certain dishes (for example, cereals). First of all, a dying person refuses meat, because it is difficult for a weakened organism to digest it. And then the most favorite foods no longer cause any appetite. By the end of his life, the patient happens to be even physically unable to swallow what is in his mouth.
It is impossible to force the dying person to feed, no matter how much you worry about the fact that he does not eat. You can periodically offer the patient some water, ice or ice cream. And to keep his lips dry, wet them with a damp cloth or moisturize with lip balm.
Excessive Fatigue and Drowsiness
On the verge of death, a person begins to sleep atypically a lot, and it is becoming more and more difficult to wake him up. Metabolism slows down, and inadequate intake of food and water contribute to dehydration, which includes a protective mechanism and hibernates. This patient should not be denied – let him sleep. Do not shove it so that he finally woke up. What you will say to a person in such a state, he can quite hear and remember, no matter how deep the dream may seem. In the end, even in a coma, patients hear and are aware of the words that are addressed to them.
Due to the loss of appetite and the resulting lack of energy, the dying person does not succeed in even the simplest things – for example, he cannot turn over on his side, lift his head or draw juice through a straw. All that can be done is to try to provide him with maximum comfort.
Clouded consciousness and disorientation
Organs begin to fail, including the brain. A person may cease to understand where he is and who is near him, start talking nonsense or rushing around the bed. At the same time you need to keep calm. Each time, approaching the dying person, you should call yourself by name and speak extremely gently with him.
The breath of the dying becomes intermittent and uneven. Often they have observed the so-called Cheyne-Stokes breathing: the superficial and rare respiratory movements gradually become deeper and longer, weakened and lowered again, followed by a pause, after which the cycle repeats. Sometimes the dying wheezes or breathes louder than usual. To help in this situation, you can raise his head, put an extra pillow or sit in a reclining position so that the person does not fall on his side.
As vitality fades away, a person loses interest in what is happening around. He may stop talking, answer questions, or simply turn away from everyone. This is a natural part of the dying process, not your fault. Show the dying person that you are there by simply touching him or taking his hand in yours if he is not against it, and talk to him even if this conversation is your monologue.
Violation of urination
Since water enters the body a little, and the kidneys work worse, the dying “walks in a small way” are really small, and the concentrated urine has a brownish or reddish hue. That is why in the hospices in the last days of his life, a catheter is often installed in the terminally ill. Due to renal insufficiency, the amount of toxins in the blood increases, which contributes to the quiet confluence of the dying into the coma and peaceful death.
Swelling of the legs
When the kidneys fail, biological fluids, instead of being excreted, accumulate in the body – most often in the legs. Because of this, many die off before death. You can’t do anything here, and it doesn’t make any sense: swelling is a side effect of approaching death, not its cause.
“icing” of the tips of the fingers and toes
A few hours or even minutes before death, blood is drained from peripheral organs in order to maintain vital ones. For this reason, the limbs become noticeably colder than the rest of the body, and the nails may become pale or bluish. A warm blanket will help to provide comfort for the dying person; they need to cover it more freely in order not to create a feeling of being wrapped in lacy clothes.
On pale skin, a characteristic “pattern” of purple, reddish or bluish spots appears – a result of impaired blood circulation and uneven filling of veins with blood. The first these spots usually appear on the soles and feet.