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Hospice Care/eye color changes 2 weeks prior

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Question
Hello ..

I have looked through many of the answers/questions regarding eye color changes prior to death, including personally asking doctors & eye doctors I know, to no avail. I Noticed you seem to be asked this same question quite often .. I do not however see anyone who says that the eye's changed color two full weeks prior to dying, which is what happened to my mother - while in the hospital recovering from hip surgery. Odd thing, she is (was Japanese) and had deep brown eyes all her life. But, two weeks prior to her sudden death, they were a sky blue color. When I mentioned it, she was curious enough to want to see what she looked like with blue eyes & it made her smile with wonderment.
I should mention, that she also spoke about my father in the present tense as well as telling me that her long deceased cat was staring at me from above the cupboard & not to move too quickly or he might pounce on me as I stood next to her bedside.
Are there any specific clinical explanations for this eye color change at two weeks prior to her death ..? I understand the moments, or minutes prior to death or immediately afterward .. but 2 weeks before seems odd. Any thoughts ? Thank you.

Answer
Hello, Paula--

I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. It is interesting that she experienced the presence of her long gone pet.  People usually experience visits from human beings who have already died.  Since I personally hope to meet up with my pets when I die, I find it both interesting and comforting to think that this might be a bit of evidence of pets' presence in the hereafter.

Another possible explanation is that she may have been experiencing a psychotic type of reaction.  This can happen with pain medications or as the effects of her disease.  Without any information about either one, I do not know if that might be a possible explanation for the cat episode.

I'm not sure why eye color changes are as fascinating as they are, but as you noticed, there has been a lot of posting about it.

My area of expertise is helping people through the dying process, hopefully the hospice experience.  I confess I do not know anything about eye color changes and have not been moved to research it.  My focus has always been and will always be about comfort, reassurance and symptom management.

I'm sorry I cannot answer your questions regarding eye color changes.

Take care,
Christine

Hospice Care

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Christine Johnson

Expertise

I can give suggestions, encouragement and direction on what hospice is and is not, when it is appropriate, and how to go about getting it. I am familiar with Medicaid and Medicare hospice benefits. I can answer general questions about disease process, what dying looks like, how hospice handles pain and other symptoms, what to expect from a hospice when end of life nears. I can provide support, direction and encouragement related to spiritual matters and psychological matters related to death and dying.

Experience

I am a certified hospice and palliative care nurse, and have been the director of nurses for three hospice centers, under two different companies. I have also worked as a contract hospice nurse for a large American hospice company. On a personal level, my father died without benefit of hospice (it was not popular then). I have taken care of dying patients in hospitals and recognize that for most of us, it is preferable to die at home (or in our residence, wherever that may be), comfortably and without anxiety. Also I had no support when my father died; hospice clients are the whole family (however that is defined by the "patient"), and support is provided at least a year after the patient passes. These are the sorts of things (and probably others) that I can help with.

Organizations
HPNA (Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association)

Publications
none yet

Education/Credentials
Registered Nurse (TX), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (TX) ADN Nursing, Excelsior College, Albany, New York (2004) 4.0 GPA BA, Psychology (minor Social Work), Oklahoma University, Norman, OK (1986) 3.67 GPA MHR (MA) Human Relations, Oklahoma University, Norman, OK (1988) 3.5 GPA

Awards and Honors
Phi Beta Kappa (and others)

Past/Present Clients
Unable to name as this would violate their privacy (and HIPAA....)

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