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Caregiving Rant

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mom, 93, has been living with us for almost 2 years. Up until a month ago, it was OK living with her. 1-1/2 months ago she came down with pneumonia. Actually, everyone in the house came down with some bronchial ipazooic. While in the hospital for 8 days they found she had cancer of the right lung. It's a good thing she got pneumonia because it was a very early diagnosis.

They operated within two weeks and took out 1/3 of her right lung. She's cancer free and doesn't need chemo nor radiation.

However, there are the pain drugs; Oxycodone and Hydromorphone to be exact.

She almost overdosed on Saturday. She took 20 mg. of oxycodone. So, I've taken over giving her her pills and give her oxycodone, lorazapam, Zofran, Tylenol, stool softener, suppositories, Ducolax, Prune juice, warm milk etc. Pill after pill after pill to counteract the symptoms of the first pill. It's depressing and very tiring. Some every 6 hours, some every 4. All of them with food when she doesn't want to eat anything.

Mom is coming down off the drugs very well though. She tried to go cold turkey and went 27 hours without pills but finally started asking for them again. She's cognizant but still a tiny bit loopy and still in some pain. I think I still need to adjust them downward some more even though there is some breakthrough pain. Maybe smaller doses closer together?

Unfortunately she is going to be on some sort of drug like that for her shoulder pain. She has no cartilage in her left shoulder and she's left handed and uses a walker.

I really wish that I could give her cannabis. It would ease the withdrawal from the opiates, relieve her nausea, relieve her anxiety, and relieve her pain - all without side effects (unless you count the munchies or the sleepies - which in her case would be good). Fortunately there is no way to overdose on cannabis. Unfortunately we're a good year away from even being registered, now that they changed the law a little bit, much less acquiring the leaf/bud legally. We, America, pays Israel to do cannabis research and they use it in their retirement and assisted living homes for pain and for Alzheimer. (Google Cannabis and Israel Research.)

I finally got her into a tub yesterday, she was conscious enough from the drugs to move, but she still wouldn't let me wash her hair. This is a very fastidious woman. She normally uses a walker but I had to get her to the bathroom with a wheelchair. She's afraid now of everything. I believe it's the opiates. She wants to shuffle along instead of taking steps. She wants to sleep 24/7 - bad for the lungs. She doesn't want to sit up and hasn't turned the TV or Netflix on for days. This is not quality of life and she's begun to "wish God would let her die".

But, she is showing signs of getting better. I just wish I didn't have to give her those pills.

Thanks for hearing me out. I needed to talk to someone.

Have a hug full day,
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BOPPY_
    Best to you and your Mom.

    Lee emoticon
    2091 days ago
  • 68ANNE
    Good rant.....I know it's not enough for now but it will get better. Hugs
    2118 days ago
    I know where you are at, love. I am the only caregiver to my 89 y/o Mum, my two sisters in California are not interested at all and refuse to help. Hubby and I moved to South Carolina to take care of her! It's exhausting, frustrating, and I find myself angry and bitter. Am trying therapy for myself to learn how to cope with my anger. Bless you!
    2118 days ago
    I am the caregiver for my 93 year young Mom. My heart goes out to you.
    2118 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9259398
    Am I correct in thinking you're in New Hampshire? What about surrounding states' cannabis laws? I used to live in NH but went out west (sadly) and miss Polly's Pancake Parlor! (Not that I can eat pancakes these days!). My point is look at Vermont - they are fairly progressive. You may be able to make a connection there. For what it's worth, when I lived in Concord, I did call on my senator for assistance and they helped! If anything, tell them what you need in terms of law changes (i.e. cannabis laws that facilitate medical use) - it can't hurt!

    Blessed Be,

    2118 days ago
    Thank you everyone. I am in close contact with Mom's Primary and with the Visiting Nurses who are seeing her three times per week. We're all trying to get the drugs under control and to keep her emotions positive and to get her to walk and do her various exercises - OT & PT also come twice per week.

    But, again, thank you. I was feeling teary-eyed and sorry for myself and angry all at the same time.

    Thank you for being there for me even though we may never meet.
    2118 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/23/2015 5:04:56 PM

    If she is shuffling her feet, it may be because she fears for her balance? Some of those drugs it is very easy to feel light headed/dizzy and a fall at an older age can be very bad.

    Have you talked to her care provider about her behavior? Sudden changes in behavior such as sudden fear, not wanting to get out of bed, wishing death is something that they should know and the change in behavior may be because of the drugs. They might be able to adjust them or start the weaning process.

    I am so sorry you're going through this. :/

    Sending good wishes your way.
    2119 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4199227
    My thoughts and prayers are with you
    2119 days ago
    That is so hard on you, hard to take care of her and hard to watch her deteriorate. Perhaps she qualifies to have someone come in and help? Hugs and prayers to you. --Pam
    2119 days ago
    I am so vey sorry for the struggles you and your mom are going through. It is so hard to watch someone suffer when a simple solution is right at hand. I will ask our Lord to send you a special Angel to help carry you and your mom through this difficult time.

    2119 days ago
    Blessings to you and your family. It's not easy taking care of someone and also not easy to let them go. She may be ready. Maybe it's time to talk to hospice or a social worker to help guide you.
    My prayers are with you.
    2119 days ago
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