Susan Linnee had not eaten for weeks by the time she entered a Minneapolis hospice on Oct. 5. A 75-year-old editor, she was dying of a brain tumor. But suddenly she perked up and asked for what her brother, Paul, called "odd food": dill pickles, liverwurst and seed bread.
Anecdotally, doctors and nurses interviewed for this article said that a striking number of their dying patients had experienced a rally, also known as terminal lucidity. Bounce-backs generally last only a couple hours, but some go on for so long that the patients can take a break from a hospice for a few months.