I have come to believe this.
Recently, my sister was ill in hospital with sepsis. I found her covered to the neck despite her high temperature. She was nil by mouth, as she was expected to die. But how long would it take for her to die, and why couldn’t she eat or drink until her body was unable to do so any longer?
The next day I became angry as I discovered they were using the drug to dry up her chest, throat, and mouth secretions. Now her thirst was truly evident, her temperature was down, and in every way she looked so much better. Although of course, she was not.
I rang the hospice which is attached to the hospital and use the same palliative care team. They said they would put her on the list to be admitted and also advisedme to call the Clinical Management team. I did this and encountered wonderful women, so compassionte and understanding. They went to my sister’s notes and wrote in that she should be hydrated, given mouth swabs with a taste, and some electolytes.
My sister was able to speak with me a little. Mainly I told her happy memories, and sang to her. She smiled. Oh, beautiful smiles.
My sister died 11 days after they started nil by mouth. Imagine if she had been thirsty for all that time. It’s unthinkable.
I did make complaints about a nurse who tried to wrestle my sister’s sheet from my hands, and another who jabbed his finger in my face whilst being rude to me. Both were assaults on my sister’s dignity, and totally unacceptable.
My anger was birthed in my love and compassion for my sister. It achieved a more comfortable state for her and she died at peace. Far too young, but at peace and feeling loved.