Knowing that death is coming can be frightening, but know that you are not alone in this. You probably want your death to be as smooth and painless as possible. Fortunately, there are ways to work around the pain and discomfort to make the experience easier. It's also important that you focus on your own comfort and spending time with your friends and family. Finally, don't forget to take care of your emotional needs to feel at peace.
Note: This article is dedicated to end-of-life care. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, read this article or call the Center for the Valorization of Life (CVV), on number 188, if you are in Brazil, or the suicide prevention service in your country.
Method 1 of 4: Keeping Comfort
Step 1. Try to spend your last days in a place where you feel comfortable
If you choose, spend your last days at home, with your family, or somewhere else you feel comfortable. Talk to your family and all the professionals involved in your treatment about your options and choose what is best for you.
If you are hospitalized, ask your friends and family to bring items that make you feel more comfortable, such as photos, blankets and pillows from your home
Step 2. Do the things you enjoy
Spend your time doing what you want. Whenever you have energy, use it for fun. If you're too tired, watch your favorite TV shows or read a book.
Try, for example, playing a board game with your sister when you're feeling good, or going for a walk with your dog
Step 3. Listen to music to improve mood
Music can make you feel happier and even relieve pain. Choose songs that you like or that bring back memories of a good time in your life. Listen to them as much as you can to make yourself feel better.
A good idea is to buy a voice-activated device that plays the songs you choose. If you don't know how to do this, ask a friend or relative to help.
Step 4. Get plenty of rest to compensate for excessive tiredness
You may be getting tired easily. This is perfectly normal. Don't try to force yourself to have more strength than you really have. Get plenty of rest so you can enjoy what time you have left.
There is nothing wrong with spending most of the day in bed or in an armchair, for example
Step 5. Keep some extra blankets handy in case you get cold
You may find it difficult to adjust to the temperature. So it's always good to have extra blankets around so you can cover yourself and find out whenever you need to. Always keep some blankets handy in case you get cold.
- Do not use heated blankets. You could end up getting hot or even burning yourself.
- If you have a caregiver, ask them to help you get comfortable.
Step 6. Ask for help with household chores so you don't get too tired
Try not to despair of everyday things like cooking or cleaning. Instead, ask your caregiver, friends and family for help. It is best to divide the tasks among several people so that nothing remains to be done.
It's okay if some things get forgotten. The most important thing now is your comfort and rest. Do not worry
Method 2 of 4: Relieving Pain or Discomfort
Step 1. Talk to your doctor about palliatives for pain
If you are already undergoing a palliative treatment, great! Palliatives help to control the pain and other symptoms of your problem over the course of the broader treatment. Ask your doctor for recommendations if you are not already on any palliative care.
With the help of doctors, nurses and other health professionals, you will be able to relieve pain as well as other symptoms
Step 2. Prepare a list of advanced instructions for your wishes to be followed
The list of advanced instructions is a written document detailing the type of terminal care you prefer. Include the treatments you want to have, whether or not you want to stay alive at all costs, and what you want done if you lose the ability to make decisions. Give copies of the list to the doctor, other professionals, and your family members.
Ask someone you trust to help you write the list. If necessary, give it to a lawyer and register it with a notary
Step 3. Ask your doctor for a prescription for painkillers to feel more comfortable
Stronger pain relievers can only be purchased with a prescription. Talk to your doctor about ways to alleviate your discomfort. Follow the recipe to the letter. Usually, the recommendation is that you always take the medicine at the same time to keep the pain under control.
- Ideally, you should take the medicine before you feel pain again. It is much easier to prevent pain than to make it go away.
- Talk to your doctor if the pain reliever stops working. It may be that he prescribes something stronger, like morphine.
Did you know?
You don't have to worry about getting addicted to painkillers if you're dealing with terminal pain. As long as your doctor has no reservations, you can take any medication.
Step 4. Change your position frequently so you don't develop bedsores
You may have to spend a lot of time at rest. Stay lying down for as long as necessary. However, to avoid bed sores, change position every 30 minutes or an hour. Use pillows and pillows to get your body into a comfortable position.
Ask for help if you have difficulty moving. There's nothing wrong with feeling weak. Your caregiver, friends and family will be more than happy to help you
Step 5. Sit upright and use a ventilator or humidifier to alleviate breathing problems
Having trouble breathing can be quite unpleasant. To breathe better, try lifting your torso with the help of a triangular backrest or an adjustable bed. Open the window or turn on the fan to circulate the air. Another option is to use a humidifier to increase the moisture level in the air and relieve nasal discomfort.
The medical term for this type of problem is dyspnea. If you are having trouble breathing, your doctor may recommend painkillers or oxygen to reduce your discomfort
Step 6. Ask for medication to control nausea and constipation
Digestive problems such as nausea and constipation are super common. If you're experiencing something like this, don't feel obligated to eat when you don't want to, and talk to your doctor about medications that can help you feel better. Take the medicine as directed on the prescription.
Your doctor can also give you some advice on how to avoid nausea and constipation
Step 7. Use alcohol-free body lotions to moisturize dry and irritated skin
Your skin can be very dry and therefore painful. In some cases, it can even crack. Fortunately, to avoid this problem, you can use an alcohol-free body lotion at least once a day. Apply it with your own hands or ask for help.
Reapply the lotion when the skin starts to dry again. You may need to moisturize your hands whenever you wash them, for example
Method 3 of 4: Spending Time with Friends and Family
Step 1. Invite friends and family to visit whenever possible
Spending time with family and friends can greatly improve your mood. However, people don't always show up so often just because they don't know what you prefer. Call and text your friends and family and make it clear that you want to receive visits, as well as the days and times that are best for you.
Say, “I really wanted to see my family right now. Please come visit me around dinner so we can talk this week. On what days can you?”
it's okay if you want to spend time alone to think or relax. Tell people you need space and ask them to leave you alone for a while.
Step 2. Tell the people you love how you are feeling
Sharing your feelings will ease your mind. A good conversation can also create good memories for your friends and family. Make a list of people you'd like to talk to before you leave and tick off those you've already talked to in person.
- Tell your friends and family how much you love them, for example.
- Thank the people you need to thank.
- Forgive those who have hurt you in the past.
- Apologize for mistakes you made.
Step 3. Recognize the experiences and relationships that have given your life meaning
Think carefully about your life and your best memories. Talk to family and friends about your experiences and what they meant to you. Take a look at photographs, if possible, to remind yourself of the most important things in your life.
This way, you will realize how full and meaningful your life has been, so you can be at peace with yourself
Step 4. Fulfill as many wishes as you can
Discover the activities and experiences you can still enjoy in your last days. Then ask friends and family to help you do things you've always wanted to do. Don't be worried about fulfilling all your dreams. Enjoy the time you have doing the things you can do.
Take a car trip to the Iguaçu Falls, watch the sun set on a beach in the Northeast or buy a ticket for a cruise, for example
Method 4 of 4: Dealing With Emotional Pain
Step 1. Whenever you are sad, open up with someone you trust
It's quite possible (and perfectly normal) that you're suffering from fears and worries. Unburden yourself with a friend or relative and ask for advice or just a little comfort.
Say something like: “I don't know who will take care of my dogs after I leave. Do you have any suggestions?”, or: “I'm afraid I'll have to go back to the hospital. Is it okay if I vent a little?”
Step 2. Talk to a therapist if you are having trouble accepting death
It is quite possible that you are having difficulty accepting your diagnosis or the idea of dying. This is perfectly normal. See a therapist to deal with the problem. The ideal is to find a professional with experience with terminal patients. One option is to ask your doctor for a recommendation.
- If you are undergoing palliative care, it is quite possible that you already have a therapist. Talk to him if you need advice.
- See if your health plan covers therapy sessions.
Maybe you don't think why go to a therapist at this point in the league, but your emotional side is very important. Talking to a therapist can help make your last days more peaceful. The sessions will be worth it.
Step 3. Ask your spiritual leader to visit you at least once a week
It is normal to question faith and have doubts about the afterlife. Talk to members of your spiritual or religious community about important issues like this and make peace with your faith. A spiritual leader can provide answers, support and comfort to a dying patient.
- You can also call more than one spiritual leader to visit you. This way, you will be able to see them more often.
- If you are out of your faith, talk to him about how to get your life back on track according to your beliefs.
invite members of your spiritual community to pray with you or talk about your faith.
Step 4. Don't prematurely end your life
Even if you are in a lot of pain, suicide is not a solution. Maybe you don't see any more options, but hope is always there. Talk to someone you trust, go to the hospital, or call a suicide prevention service.