Congestive Heart Failure Community
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My father is a 45 year old Diabetic with Congestive Heart Failure and an Ejection Fraction of 15%.  He has a defibrillator on the left side of his heart.  He is on Hospice Care and is expected to pass away soon.  He, however, is walking, talking, making his own trips to the bathroom, etc.  He is swollen in his legs and feet constantly and has been admitted to the hospital at least 15 times in the last year or so for breathing problems, leading to the diagnosis of his CHF.  His doctors say there is nothing else they can do to help his heart, and a transplant is virtually impossible due to his Merca infection.  He is now (hospital) bed ridden in the living room of my grandmother's house.  The Hospice Care nurses are actually ensuring, it seems, that he will die in a short amount of time.  They sat us down and described, "If he weren't going to die in a short time, we wouldn't be here..".  They tell my grandmother that all we need to do is give him whatever he wants, so she lets him smoke (he has had pneumonia at least 9 times, sometimes double pneumonia) and gives him all the fluids he wants.  This episode has forced us to move out of our apartment.  I read in the Hospice Care guidelines one of the nurses left that sitting up and talking, walking and quite frankly acting normal could actually mean he was close to death.  This deeply concerns me and desperately need someone's opinion other than doctors or unintelligent nurses.  This has severely impacted my life; I have been pulled out of school because my grandmother was a little paranoid about all of this.  She upsets everybody, including my father, with having nearly every member of our family standing around him, expecting his passing to occur.  His doesn't seem very terminal, but I am not a doctor, so I don't know.  When he was first discharged from the hospital, brought home and admitted to Hospice Care, he was fine; it was like all of the other times he had gotten discharged.  He then got worse, being to where he couldn't even talk, be awaken, or basically do anything on his own.  His defibrillator was constantly shocking and jerking him.   He has since pulled out of this state, behaving like I described earlier.  I desperately need someone's opinion, quick.  We have signed papers to agree for them not to resuscitate him if his heart stops, and papers to agree to call them if he gets bad, rather than the hospital.  Should he continue to smoke and drink whatever he wants, just because he is "terminal"?  What can he do?  Can he strengthen his heart in anyway?  I just need comments and help on my situation.  Anything will help.  Thank you.
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I am sorry you are having such a hard time dealing with your father's plight, and since I'm not a doctor, I don't know if there is anything that can be done to make him live longer.


If your father is going to die anyway, why take the few pleasures away from him that he enjoys?

I had a friend who smoked his entrie life, then he contracted lung cancer.  He confided to me that he loved to smoke, and he wished everyone would just leave him alone about it.  However, they nagged at him, told him how stupid he was, and just plain made the last few months of his life miserable, and the outcome was the same, except for he died on everyone else's terms, instead of his own.  I don't think that was a fair way for him to be treated.  

It sounds like you are in denial, and no one can blame you for that, BUT if your father wants to smoke or drink, and is dying anyway, then please leave him alone and let him live his life, his way, for how ever long he has, because the truth is, the outcome is going to be the same, regardless.....and even if he can get a couple of more months, or so, if he is miserable, what has been accomplished? There is more to life than longevity, and when you are terminal, enjoying whatever you want is all there is left.

So, no matter how painful it is for you, or the rest of the family, let your father have what he wants, as much as he wants, and let him enjoy what he has left.  You have the rest of your life to find happiness, your father doesn't, so don't take what he does have away from him.

I'm sorry if I've said things that you didn't want to hear, but for your own good you need to work through the denial, and come to grips with the inevitable, otherwise the loss is going be a lot harder for you when it does happen.

My prayers are with you.
My mother died July 19, 2007 from CHF and complications from diabeties. 2 days before her passing, she was just having difficulty breathing and on oxygen. The night one night she call my name and I jumped up and ran to her and she was soaking wet and felt "something" as she explained in her heart (a blood clot had also entered her heart), I had an ambulance rush her to the emergency room and she seems as she might pull through, but her lungs continued to fill with fluid and the more they took out the more the body would produce. My mother was able to walk, function, but towards the end was just too weak. The fluid filled her lungs and she couldn't breath and as a result suffered a massive heart attack. She was rushed to the CCICU where she was breathing through a machine, but due to the lack of oxygen to her brain, she suffered perminant brain damange and was purplish gray in color. She never made it out alive, but was surrounded by her entire family when she passed. There are no words for the experience of losing my beloved mom. She was only 70 and life will never be the same. You will be able to tell by his inability to breath normally, swelling of feet, feeling weak and the shortness of breath will be so intense that we would yell for a nurse, because she couldn't breath at all. All you can do is be there and support him and put the rest in the doctors hands and God's hands.....Judy
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