Death and Dying
This category is for questions relating to the process of death and dying, and general questions about death.
Asked in Death and Dying, Hospice
What are the signs of approaching death?
The dying process occurs in two stages: the pre-active stage of dying and the active stage. The pre active stage may last about two weeks, while the active stage of dying lasts about three days. Symptoms of the pre-active stage include restlessness, agitation, social withdrawal, increased sleep, decreased appetite and drinking, pausing in the breathing, speaking about dead relatives or friends, swelling of the hands or legs, or requests to settle financial or family affairs. Symptoms of the active stage of dying may include coma, hallucinations, longer pauses in the breathing, very rapid breathing, lung congestion, inability to drink, urinary or bowel incontinence, dark color of the urine, a dramatic drop in blood pressure, very cold hands and feet, numbness in the legs or feet, a bluish or purple coloring to the person's arms, hands, legs, and feet. Because this is such a sensitive question and one we all think of from time to time (some fearing it, others able to cope with it) when we know it can happen at any age and not just to the elderly a more informative explanation is needed. I have been through this process many times, recently my own mother and the following information is excellent. The following is from a Hospice and the copyright allows the original copy to copies with the stipulation that no alterations are made and that the name of the Hospice is shown: Preparing for Approaching Death When a person enters the final stage of the dying process, two different dynamics are at work which are closely interrelated and interdependent. On the physical plane, the body begins the final process of shutting down, which will end when all the physical systems cease to function. Usually this is an orderly and undramatic progressive series of physical changes which are not medical emergencies requiring invasive interventions. These physical changes are a normal, natural way in which the body prepares itself to stop, and the most appropriate kinds of responses are comfort enhancing measures. The other dynamic of the dying process at work is on the emotional-spiritual-mental plane, and is a different kind of process. The spirit of the dying person begins the final process of release from the body, its immediate environment, and all attachments. This release also tends to follow its own priorities, which may include the resolution of whatever is unfinished of a practical nature and reception of permission to "let go" from family members. These events are the normal, natural way in which the spirit prepares to move from this existence into the next dimension of life. The most appropriate kinds of responses to the emotional-spiritual-mental changes are those which support and encourage this release and transition. When a person's body is ready and wanting to stop, but the person is still unresolved or unreconciled over some important issue or with some significant relationship, he or she may tend to linger in order to finish whatever needs finishing even though he or she may be uncomfortable or debilitated. On the other hand, when a person is emotionally-spiritually-mentally resolved and ready for this release, but his or her body has not completed its final physical shut down, the person will continue to live until that shut down process ceases. The experience we call death occurs when the body completes its natural process of shutting down, and when the spirit completes its natural process of reconciling and finishing. These two processes need to happen in a way appropriate and unique to the values, beliefs, and lifestyle of the dying person. Therefore, as you seek to prepare yourself as this event approaches, the members of your Hospice care team want you to know what to expect and how to respond in ways that will help your loved one accomplish this transition with support, understanding, and ease. This is the great gift of love you have to offer your loved one as this moment approaches. The emotional-spiritual-mental and physical signs and symptoms of impending death which follow are offered to help you understand the natural kinds of things which may happen and how you can respond appropriately. Not all these signs and symptoms will occur with every person, nor will they occur in this particular sequence. Each person is unique and needs to do things in his or her own way. This is not the time to try to change your loved one, but the time to give full acceptance, support, and comfort. The following signs and symptoms described are indicative of how the body prepares itself for the final stage of life. Coolness The person´s hands and arms, feet and then legs may be increasingly cool to the touch, and at the same time the color of the skin may change. This a normal indication that the circulation of blood is decreasing to the body's extremities and being reserved for the most vital organs. Keep the person warm with a blanket, but do not use one that is electric. Sleeping The person may spend an increasing amount of time sleeping, and appear to be uncommunicative or unresponsive and at times be difficult to arouse. This normal change is due in part to changes in the metabolism of the body. Sit with your loved one, hold his or her hand, but do not shake it or speak loudly. Speak softly and naturally. Plan to spend time with your loved one during those times when he or she seems most alert or awake. Do not talk about the person in the person's presence. Speak to him or her directly as you normally would, even though there may be no response. Never assume the person cannot hear; hearing is the last of the senses to be lost. Disorientation The person may seem to be confused about the time, place, and identity of people surrounding him or her including close and familiar people. This is also due in part to the metabolism changes. Identify yourself by name before you speak rather than to ask the person to guess who you are. Speak softly, clearly, and truthfully when you need to communicate something important for the patient's comfort, such as, It is time to take your medication, and explain the reason for the communication, such as, so you won't begin to hurt. Do not use this method to try to manipulate the patient to meet your needs. Incontinence The person may lose control of urine and/or bowel matter as the muscles in that area begin to relax. Discuss with your Hospice nurse what can be done to protect the bed and keep your loved one clean and comfortable. Congestion The person may have gurgling sounds coming from his or her chest as though marbles were rolling around inside these sounds may become very loud. This normal change is due to the decrease of fluid intake and an inability to cough up normal secretions. Suctioning usually only increases the secretions and causes sharp discomfort. Gently turn the person s head to the side and allow gravity to drain the secretions. You may also gently wipe the mouth with a moist cloth. The sound of the congestion does not indicate the onset of severe or new pain. Restlessness The person may make restless and repetitive motions such as pulling at bed linen or clothing. This often happens and is due in part to the decrease in oxygen circulation to the brain and to metabolism changes. Do not interfere with or try to restrain such motions. To have a calming effect, speak in a quiet, natural way, lightly massage the forehead, read to the person, or play some soothing music. Urine Decrease The person´s urine output normally decreases and may become tea colored referred to as concentrated urine. This is due to the decreased fluid intake as well as decrease in circulation through the kidneys. Consult with your Hospice nurse to determine whether there may be a need to insert or irrigate a catheter. Fluid and Food Decrease The person may have a decrease in appetite and thirst, wanting little or no food or fluid. The body will naturally begin to conserve energy which is expended on these tasks. Do not try to force food or drink into the person, or try to use guilt to manipulate them into eating or drinking something. To do this only makes the person much more uncomfortable. Small chips of ice, frozen Gatorade or juice may be refreshing in the mouth. If the person is able to swallow, fluids may be given in small amounts by syringe (ask the Hospice nurse for guidance). Glycerin swabs may help keep the mouth and lips moist and comfortable. A cool, moist washcloth on the forehead may also increase physical comfort. Breathing Pattern Change The person s regular breathing pattern may change with the onset of a different breathing pace. A particular pattern consists of breathing irregularly, i.e., shallow breaths with periods of no breathing of five to thirty seconds and up to a full minute. This is called Cheyne-Stokes breathing. The person may also experience periods of rapid shallow pant-like breathing. These patterns are very common and indicate decrease in circulation in the internal organs. Elevating the head, and/or turning the person onto his or her side may bring comfort. Hold your loved one's hand. Speak gently. Normal Emotional, Spiritual, and Mental Signs and Symptoms with Appropriate Responses Withdrawal The person may seem unresponsive, withdrawn, or in a comatose-like state. This indicates preparation for release, a detaching from surroundings and relationships, and a beginning of letting go. Since hearing remains all the way to the end, speak to your loved one in your normal tone of voice, identifying yourself by name when you speak, hold his or her hand, and say whatever you need to say that will help the person let go. Vision-like Experiences The person may speak or claim to have spoken to persons who have already died, or to see or have seen places not presently accessible or visible to you. This does not indicate an hallucination or a drug reaction. The person is beginning to detach from this life and is being prepared for the transition so it will not be frightening. Do not contradict, explain away, belittle or argue about what the person claims to have seen or heard. Just because you cannot see or hear it does not mean it is not real to your loved one. Affirm his or her experience. They are normal and common. If they frighten your loved one, explain that they are normal occurrences. Restlessness The person may perform repetitive and restless tasks. This may in part indicate that something still unresolved or unfinished is disturbing him or her, and prevents him or her from letting go. Your Hospice team members will assist you in identifying what may be happening, and help you find ways to help the person find release from the tension or fear. Other things which may be helpful in calming the person are to recall a favorite place the person enjoyed, a favorite experience, read something comforting, play music, and give assurance that it is OK to let go. Fluid and Food Decrease When the person may want little or no fluid or food, this may indicate readiness for the final shut down. Do not try to force food or fluid. You may help your loved one by giving permission to let go whenever he or she is ready. At the same time affirm the person s ongoing value to you and the good you will carry forward into your life that you received from him or her. Decreased Socialization The person may only want to be with a very few or even just one person. This is a sign of preparation for release and affirms from whom the support is most needed in order to make the appropriate transition. If you are not part of this inner circle at the end, it does not mean you are not loved or are unimportant. It means you have already fulfilled your task with your loved one, and it is the time for you to say Good-bye. If you are part of the final inner circle of support, the person needs your affirmation, support, and permission. Unusual Communication The person may make a seemingly out of character or non sequitur statement, gesture, or request. This indicates that he or she is ready to say Good-bye and is testing you to see if you are ready to let him or her go. Accept the moment as a beautiful gift when it is offered. Kiss, hug, hold, cry, and say whatever you most need to say. Giving Permission Giving permission to your loved one to let go, without making him or her guilty for leaving or trying to keep him or her with you to meet your own needs, can be difficult. A dying person will normally try to hold on, even though it brings prolonged discomfort, in order to be sure those who are going to be left behind will be all right. Therefore, your ability to release the dying person from this concern and give him or her assurance that it is all right to let go whenever he or she is ready is one of the greatest gifts you have to give your loved one at this time. Saying Good-bye When the person is ready to die and you are able to let go, then is the time to say good-bye. Saying good-bye is your final gift of love to your loved one, for it achieves closure and makes the final release possible. It may be helpful to lay in bed and hold the person, or to take his or her hand and then say everything you need to say. It may be as simple as saying, I love you. It may include recounting favorite memories, places, and activities you shared. It may include saying, I 'm sorry for whatever I contributed to any tension or difficulties in our relationship. It may also include saying, Thank you for... Tears are a normal and natural part of saying good-bye. Tears do not need to be hidden from your loved one or apologized for. Tears express your love and help you to let go. How Will You Know When Death Has Occurred? Although you may be prepared for the death process, you may not be prepared for the actual death moment. It may be helpful for you and your family to think about and discuss what you would do if you were the one present at the death moment. The death of a hospice patient is not an emergency. Nothing must be done immediately. The signs of death include such things as no breathing, no heartbeat, release of bowel and bladder, no response, eyelids slightly open, pupils enlarged, eyes fixed on a certain spot, no blinking, jaw relaxed and mouth slightly open. A hospice nurse will come to assist you if needed or desired. If not, phone support is available. The body does not have to be moved until you are ready. If the family wants to assist in preparing the body by bathing or dressing, that may be done. Call the funeral home when you are ready to have the body moved, and identify the person as a Hospice patient. The police do not need to be called. The Hospice nurse will notify the physician. Thank you We of Hospice thank you for the privilege of assisting you with the care of your loved one. We salute you for all you have done to surround your loved one with understanding care, to provide your loved one with comfort and calm, and to enable your loved one to leave this world with a special sense of peace and love. You have given your loved one one of the most wonderful, beautiful, and sensitive gifts we humans have to offer, and in giving that gift have given yourself a wonderful gift as well. Related Articles: Saying Good-bye Keeping Watch Copyright © North Central Florida Hospice, Inc. 1996 Please note: These articles are being made publicly available in the hope that they benefit others in the hospice community. Feel free to use them provided you credit Hospice of North Central Florida with sole authorship and do not alter the content. Please include this note in any copies you choose to make. Thank you.
Asked in First Aid, Death and Dying, CPR
Can you revive a dead person?
Yes but not always . Recent developments in in 2013 in America, Japan and Australia have meant that clinically dead people from 1 to 3 hours have been resurrected after cardiac arrest using mechanical CPR combined with ECMO treatment( extracorporeal membrane oxygenation - an artificial lung hat keeps oxygen and blood flowing to the brain and vital organs) . A new machine called "Äuto Pulse" uses a band that wraps around and squuezes the entire chest providing precise and consistent compressions. Brain death is a different matter. Once someone has no activity in the brain stem or brain they are technically dead .However you can revive the body and keep it alive on a life support system BUT the person is considered dead. Keeping a body alive is occassionally done in order to be able to harvest organs or in unusual circumstances to keep a viable environment for a fetus to allow it to continue to develop until it is ready to be born when the mother has died. Generally while health care professionals will do their best to revive someone, even then the success rate is low. Typically they'll perform CPR as long as needed or until a doctor call the time of death. But during CPR the brain is still being deprived of oxygen so if the person does survive they often have varying levels of brain damage. The determination of death has always been a problem. In times prior to the 19th century a "'wake" was conducted for the dead. A wake is a period of lasting from 3 to 14 days so that people could observe the body to see if the victim was really dead rather than comatose. This was more than enough time for decomposition to set in which is absolute proof of death. Once decomposition begins ressurection is impossible. Early morticians would often perform "tests" on the apparent cadavers, either something painful that might cause a response, or some act that would make sure the subject was truly dead. In the 1980's the call on death was no EKG and flat EEG, or cessation of breathing for over 9 minutes or so. However, this wasn't always reliable either. Sudden immersion in ice-water sometimes causes "diving reflex" to activate and victims can in rare instances be revived after appearing clinically dead . This is thought to be akin to the reflexive reaction marine mammals experience when they dive deeply and remain submerged for as much as an hour or more. During this time, blood transfuses, body processes decline sharply, breathing stops, and pulse can drop as low as 3 beats per minute, or less. In humans, the likelihood of diving reflex kicking in is dramatically improved with the coldness of the water, the youth of the victim, and the face being immersed.
Asked by Jameson Hauck in Heart, Cardiovascular Health, Death and Dying
Has a person ever been scared to death?
Yes. Notably (and unfortunately), this happened in 2008, when a fleeing bank robber broke into a 79-year-old woman’s house to hide from police. The woman died of a heart attack, and the robber was given a life sentence for causing her death. While every cardiac event is different, here’s some information about what fear does to your heart: When you feel you’re in danger, your brain orders a surge of adrenaline to course through your body—this triggers your fight-or-flight response, which, among other things, raises your heart rate. The intent is to pump blood to your muscles and other vital organs, preparing you for battle or escape, but in extreme circumstances and risk-prone hearts, this can cause a heart attack. That’s horrifying, but death by fear is rare. Here’s Vincent Bufalino, MD, in his interview with the American Heart Association: “You can have a sudden cardiac-related event related to an adrenaline surge, but I think it would be a stretch to say you could get that from someone coming in a werewolf costume to your front door. [Something that will give you a heart attack] is the kind of thing that you can't prepare for. If it happens, it happens, and you hope your body doesn't overreact to that event.” So, yes, someone has been scared to death, but this isn’t something you need to worry about.
Asked in Death and Dying, Academic Writing
Write an application to principal for leave?
What is the proper burial for a pet?
The proper burial for a pet is to bury it in your backyard or pet cemetery. You can also carve your pets name in a piece of wood. The Egyptians would mummify their cats, since they worshiped them, and they likely did the same for their dogs. Since it's difficult to do so to a pet, and the supplies aren't commonly found anymore, you could wrap your pet in a clean cloth, place it in a box (cardboard or wood depending on the size of the animal. NO plastic), and bury it in your yard. Say a few words for your pet, whether it be about your pet, or to bid farewell and well being in the beyond (heaven or whatever you believe in).
Asked in Death and Dying
What does marbling mean in association with death?
Typically, the first visible sign of putrefaction is a greenish discolouration of the skin of the anterior abdominal wall. This most commonly begins in the right iliac fossa, i.e. over the area of the caecum, (where the contents of the bowel are more fluid and full of bacteria), but occasionally, the first changes are peri-umbilical, or in the left iliac fossa. The discolouration, due to sulph-haemoglobin formation, spreads to involve the entire anterior abdominal wall, and then the flanks, chest, limbs and face. As this colour change evolves, the superficial veins of the skin become visible as a purple-brown network of arborescent markings, which tend to be most prominent around the shoulders and upper chest, abdomen and groins. This change, owing to its characteristic appearance, is often described as "marbling".
Asked in Religion & Spirituality, Death and Dying
Can dying people hear you?
Yes, many studies show that people are conscious to their suroundings for at least a couple hours after they are dead. Also according to many religions, this is correct. (This includes Christianity) It's also scientifically proven that hearing is the last of the 5 senses to 'go' when a person is in the throes of death. So, if a person is dying, talking to them does work, even if they can't talk back.
Asked in Miscarriages, Pregnancy, Death and Dying
What happens to the dead fetus inside a dead mother?
Asked in Death and Dying, Islam
How did yazid die?
He was on a long hunting trip...some say he reached till almost the south of Lebanon, I forgot the name of the village. Anyways he got lost from his group, long story short, he met a farmer and told him that he was thirsty, and if he could get him some water... The man got him some water, and Yazeed (L.A.) drank. After that, he said to the man..."If only you knew who is the person standing in front of you, you would be running and busying yourself to please him" The man said, why who are you ? He said (L.A.): I am the prince of believers, Yazeed... Then the man got angry and said: "You are the killer of Al-Hussein (a.s.) ?!?!?! Yazeed replied positively...then the farmer took rocks and started throwing them at Yazeed (L.A.) while following him... In such a hurry and fear...Yazeed (L.A.) rode his horse, and accidentally slipped while his leg was still stuck to the horse... The horse dragged Yazeed (L.A.) for long distances, until the horse got back to the hunting group, with him (L.A.) dead...
Asked in The Bible, Death and Dying
What can you read in Bible if someone died?
1st Corinthians 15:12-21: Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen? And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. v.20 But Christ is risen from the dead, and became the first fruits of them that sleep. Another answer These are my 2 favorite passages on that subject: John 14:1-7: [Jesus speaking] "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." Romans 14:7-9: For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
Can you drop dead from ecstasy?
Why do dead bodies float on water?
Dead bodies float on water much the same way living bodies do. And yes, living bodies do float on water. But if you panic and exhale, you will sink. IF you stay calm and keep your lungs inflated you will float. This is because of density. Anything less dense than water floats, and anything more dense than water sinks. Our human bodies have a density close to that of water and we WILL float if we keep our chest expanded and lungs filled with air. When people drown, their lungs are full of water and they sink. After a number of hours, up to a few days, gases from decomposition trapped inside their body make them buoyant and they will float. Then carrion eaters, blow flies, and other flesh eating creatures will puncture through their tissues, releasing the trapped gases, and causing them to sink again.
How long does it take to die of heart failure?
I don't know but brain damage occurs after 3 minutes. Heart failure means that your heart can no longer pump blood adequately through the heart and out to the rest of the body. The blood literally "backs up" into the pulmonary system (lungs) and your lungs become too fluid filled to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. This process deprives your body's tissues/organs from the oxygen it needs and they begin to fail. This can be a very slow process if it is a chronic condition, or it can occur very quickly depending on how quickly the heart function is failing, and why (example: heart failure due to chronic high blood pressure or heart attack which results in heart tissue death)
Asked in Death and Dying
How do you know if you had a near-death experience?
Usually you first start to panic and in your internal thoughts you keep repeating to yourself "I'm going to die" then suddenly, everything goes black. Then, you start to accept your fate and become utterly relaxed. You may see a warming light or just utter blackness, sometimes with mysterious voices. I myself have had a near death experience and I have to admit that it was one of the most scariest and weirdest experiences of my life so far.