Our expert says:
Although the fluid in the abdomen looks as if you need to drain it, doing that causes the patient to lose a lot of protein and the blood pressure can drop dramatically causing shock - and it fills up again within a day or two. We only really remove the fluid if it impairs the patient's breathing. I worked in a hospice for 2 years and that is ideally where your husband should have been for the last few weeks, but it is not so easily accessable to all patients. Patients with end stage cancer do not really feel hungry as their whole metabolism changes. Putting him on a drip would not have nourished his body but may have rehidrated him somewhat. I believe that a patient should at least be made comfortable, given sufficient painkillers, and kept rehidrated, although it will not make much difference in his quantity of life, it may make a difference in the quality of the last few hours. Unfortunately, if you took him to a provincial hospital, due to the shortage of beds, they sometimes have to make the very difficult decision whether to save a bed for a patient that have a chance of recovering or admitting a terminal cancer patient - I'm sure if he could the doctor would have admitted him earlier. I know how I had to "fight" for a bed for a patient sometimes when I still worked at a provincial hospital!! There is nothing really you or the doctor could have done to save him - it was just a question of time and with pancreas cancer one does not want them to suffer for weeks with these pains. Chemotherapy only helps up to a point, and if the cancer is too far spread it does more harm than good. I know it is so difficult to lose someone you love, but I am sure that he knew that you did your utmost best to help him. It is normal and OK to feel sad and to miss him terribly, especially as his illness came so quickly, give yourself the luxury of mourning him - it can take up to a year to really get "over it". You may find that every 3 months or so you go through a "dip", feeling very blue and sad, it is also OK to feel like this, it is a way of coping with what has happened.
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