As evidenced by the many blog posts I have done about food over the years, you all know of my great appreciation for "good eats". Food is part of celebrations all over the world and is closely tied to our concept of love and family.
When Angie was in the last weeks of her life she was not interested in food at all. The only meal she still enjoyed was breakfast. When I asked her if she wanted me to bring her something she usually said no. This is very common when people are at the end of life. They simply are not hungry. At this stage, trying to make people eat is not helpful and can make them feel uncomfortable. They should be allowed to eat what they want, when they want, and in the amount that they want. This is called "comfort feeding".
I am also a big believer in letting people have what they want even if you know that some of it might go down the wrong way and they will cough a bit. When people are dying, aspirating food (which may cause pneumonia) is not something to be concerned about. Any symptoms that cause discomfort from pneumonia can be treated. When my mom's health care providers asked me about using "thickened liquids" I told them no thank you. The only thing mom asked for in her last 3 days was diet coke and water. Thickened diet coke and water does not taste the same.
Sometimes I am asked by families about IV fluids at the end of life because they don't want their loved one to "starve to death" or be "dying of thirst". IV fluids do not provide comfort and when someone's body is shutting down the extra fluids can actually lead to swelling which is uncomfortable. I have taught many family members how to provide good oral care and give their loved one drops of liquids safely. A clean, moist mouth and lips provides much comfort to they dying person.
Angie loved shrimp pasta, deviled eggs, peanuts, huevos rancheros with tortillas, and ice box cheese cake a whole lot. I am very glad that she enjoyed them while she still had her appetite for them.