Now I know what you may be thinking but this is NOT a blog about the after-life, heaven and hell, reincarnation or any other kind of mumbo-jumbo like that. This question is posed towards what happens as we die, you know, scientifically speaking if you will. See, I feel that too much is unknown about what dying feels like or what, if anything, happens after you die. However, I have done a little research on the process that occurs in the days and hours leading up to a natural death, and knowing what’s going on may be helpful to me. Up until I’ve never really thought about it but who does really? But I feel that learning and knowing this could help me understand what I will eventually go through down the line.
(Keep in mind, this is merely the average death. Not so much of a killing, disease or etc.)
First off, during the dying process, the body’s systems shut down. A dying person has less energy and begins to sleep more and more. The body is conserving the little energy it has, and as a result, needs less nourishment and sustenance. In the days (or sometimes weeks) before death, I’ve learned people eat and drink less. They may lose all interest in food and drink, and you shouldn’t force them to eat. In fact, pushing food or drink on a dying person could cause him or her to choke — at this point, it has become difficult to swallow and the mouth is very dry.
As the person takes in less food and drink, he or she will urinate less frequently and have fewer bowel movements. The person may also experience loss of bladder and bowel control. People who are dying may become confused, agitated or restless, which could be a result of the brain receiving less oxygen. As I’ve seen through personal experience, it can be disconcerting and painful to hear a loved one so confused in his or her last days.
The skin will also show the effects of slowing circulation and less oxygen, the extremities, and later, the entire body, may be cool to the touch and may turn blue or light gray. Some skin may show signs of mottling, which is reddish-blue blotchiness. As the person gets closer to death, it will become harder and harder to breathe. Respiration will be noisy and irregular; it will sometimes seem as if the person can’t breathe at all. When there’s fluid in the lungs, it can cause a sound known as the death rattle. It may be possible to alleviate the gurgling and congestion by raising the person’s head. If the dying person is experiencing pain, he or she will usually be given medications to manage it.
And just to put this into a scientific perspective, clinical death occurs when the person’s heartbeat, breathing and circulation stop. Four to six minutes later, biological death occurs. That’s when brain cells begin to die from lack of oxygen, and resuscitation is impossible. Your Thoughts?