19 October 2011

Medication issues

Ok, so, my mum takes a whole lotta pills.  And, until recently, they were doing their job of keeping her comfortable.  Last week however, we mentioned that she is in some pain when she wakes up.  The nurse thought that she should switch to a pain pill that would last through the night so that she would still be comfortable when she awoke.  Good idea.  Wrong pill.

They prescribed morphine tablets, which apparently work for lots of people.  My mum, who takes handfulls of vicodin and flexeril and other stuff every day, is quite susceptible to the effects of morphine.  We found this out the hard way.

My pop gave her the prescribed dose of two blue pills on Friday evening.  Then the prescribed dose of one blue pill on Saturday morning.  She slept 11 1/2 hours on Friday night, and she slept nearly the whole time I was there on Saturday morning and was pretty groggy the rest of the day.  On Saturday night Pop gave her half the recommended dose, just one blue pill.  She slept really well again.  On Sunday morning he broke a pill in half and gave that to her.  At this point I said, let's not give her anymore!  Let's go back to the vicodin.  He spoke with the nurse on Sunday and she said yes, go back to the vicodin, give her some extra haldol to counteract the morphine and increase the steroid.  (Also, it turns out, you shouldn't break those morphine tablets in half.  They just work faster.)

Another consequence of the morphine was the loss of strength in her legs.  She is having a hell of a time standing and walking.  She has needed help getting up for a while now, but since this weekend she is so much weaker.

And, a consequence of the increase in the steroids is that old demon, 'roid rage.  Holy smokes!  My mother has always had a strong will.  When you mix that with steroids and anger at fate, well, you have a pretty potent old lady rage going on.  Since this weekend, I'm going over earlier in the mornings and going back at night to help my pop get her up and into bed.  It has been crazy.

One thing she insists on is spending a very long time on the toilet.  This became a problem when she had been there for 3 hours and refused to get up.  Yes, three hours on the pot.  I arrived at 9am, as usual, and my pop said that she had been there since 6.  He couldn't wrestle her up by himself and every time he tried she told him no.  Well, he's a good husband, and when his wife says no, he listens to her.  I said this is ridiculous and she can't stay on the toilet for three hours. Her feet were like ice!  Cold!  Circulation cut off!  I said we were getting her up and that there would be no arguing about it.  We decided who would lift where and on the count of three up she would come.  This whole time she was saying NO!  I said, Yes!  We started to lift her and she said, "No, stop, put me down!"  And, dammit, my pop started to lower her back down!  I said, Pop, No, we HAVE TO GET HER OUT OF HERE!  Well, we did.  And she was mad.  And this keeps happening.  In fact, yesterday, after we got her to the living room, she looked at me and said, "Don't you have somewhere else to go?"

You gotta laugh.  It's the only choice.  I know it's the drugs talking.  At times, though, all I can think is, good thing her short term memory is gone... she won't remember the next day how mad she was.

This morning we switched her old comfortable leather chair for a firmer, higher wing back chair.  And, tonight when I leave work, I'm headed to the store to buy one of those elevated toilet seat things.  And then I'll go over to their house and put it on and give her 10 minutes on the pot.  Then she's up and out and into bed.  I can be strong willed too...


elf said...

"potent old lady rage"... cracked me up. You, strong willed? Never would have guessed... it's a good thing you are, for your Dad's sake.

Anonymous said...

I've seen potent old lady rage up close and personal before. Thankfully for me it wasnt personal - not a family member. I worked (many many moons ago) on an alzheimers ward in a nursing home ... there was a lady who lived on the ward who everyone called Babe. To be honest, I cannot remember her real name. I do remember, however, the awful horrible names she called me and other staff who tried to help her. You are right, you have to smile. You are even more right that when you combine, old lady pain, old lady memory issues, old lady meds and everything else you get a combination of rage and words that you didn't know an old lady could say! Rhymes with shunt ... yikes. Loudly. Babe would only wear pink and wow could she swing a fist if you tried to put anything else on her ...

one day I was looking through a book called "Such and Such City, 100 years". (just trying to keep this a bit anonymous out of respect for her) ... and there she was in all the glory of her youth ... she had lived quite the life... one of the elite of society in her day and had met some famous movie stars of her time and owned a place that these stars would visit ... it made me sad and happy to read this article about her. Sad because life beats you up along the way and you make it, have some laughs and then you deteriorate to a level that some 'snot nosed kid' (her words) ends up wiping your bottom... then came the happy feelings when I realized she had a good life and this was only a small chapter ... it helped me to understand her rage even more. How dare we young ones tell her how to dress, eat, live and breathe! haha, so cute. I have not experienced what you are going through right now, watching a parent deteriorate. I feel for you. The sorrow at watching your parent/child roles reverse must be extremely difficult at times.

Im sorry for the long comment ... if I hadn't written it now I would have forgotten by morning! =) your mom and dad are lucky to have you.

remember to take care of yourself!


weese said...

is she getting some sort of softener or laxative?? that is very very important with all the pain meds - be they morphine or vicodin or percs. she will definetly have bowel issues..thus the long sits on the toilet i would think.
we used senna and colace and miralax. load her up!

the only daughter said...

Indeed, will of steel. Much needed.

e said...


sigh: how great that you were able to see another perspective on that angry old lady's life. Makes you think, doesn't it?

weese, yes, she is taking a laxative daily and she is actually pooping better than she has in years. Thank god, because if we added constipation to her catalog of woes the rage would be even worse.

deb: damn right!

Grumpy Granny said...

Oh my goodness. God bless you all. I hope you can get the pain med issue straightened out.

I remember my dad going to the bathroom when he was terminal but still mobile. Out of "modesty" he locked the door to the TINY bathroom in his and my mom's bedroom and promptly passed out. Now, my dad was 6'7" and the bathroom was hardly 6' x 10' so he was wedged up against the door and no one could get in. My 2 brothers, both about 6'4", had to take the door OFF THE HINGES to get him out and on his feet again. Needless to say, my mom was livid, lecturing him on the fact that nobody wanted to see an old man in the bathroom so he didn't need to lock the door ever again.

We all have stories...

Big hugs!!!


Anonymous said...

You are one amazingly strong woman. I hope the new seat helped a little - 3 hours is a scary amount of time without proper circulation.