February 06 2017
Written By
Barbara Karnes
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Laboring To Leave ~ Difficult Breathing at End of Life

Laboring To Leave ~ Difficult Breathing at End of Life


Barbara Karnes - December 13 2017

Hi Karin, In response to your blog comment about your mother’s breathing in the hours before she died——her breathing fast without pausing was not out of the ordinary. It indicates the body is shutting down, nothing works right. A little oxygen sometimes eases the intensity, often times not. Giving the morphine often slows down the breathing but other times not. Giving the extra morphine and your mother dying 2 hours later is not the result of the morphine. The morphine did not hasten her death. With her body shutting down, her circulation slowed which means the morphine didn’t get to do its work in the usual amount of time. I’m thinking neither the 30 minutes dose or the one 2 hours before your mother’s death had any effect on her body. You didn’t say how the morphine was given, liquid in the side of her mouth, suppository in her rectum, on her skin, under her tongue, by needle in the muscle or in her vein. In a healthy body each way has a different time to take effect. In the vein being the fastest. In a body that is dying none, including in the vein, takes effect in what is considered a normal time frame. The sooner the person dies after the drug was administered the less effect the drug had on pain or time of death.
I hope this information has eased your mind. Know we always do the best we can with the information we have at the time. Let go of the doubts and savor the good times.
Blessings! Barbara

Karin - December 08 2017

I also wonder about the fast and laboured breathing, you answer that it becomes irregular, but what about the fast and regular breathing with NO pauses? My mother was breathing like that when dying for about 7 hours before passing.This was so disturbing and stressful to me, that I rang for the nurse 30 min after she got morphine, and asked if she could have some more, the nurse gave her some more and my mother passed two hours later. I blame myself:(
I wanted to help her but didn’t understand that the morphine made it so much more difficult for her..

I wonder how much longer she could have lived if this had not happened, no one knows..BUT I would really like to know about this fast breathing, everyone is talking about the pauses, like Cheyne-Stokes, but what if there are none??

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