Friday, July 23, 2010

July 23, 2010

Pain is an intensely unpleasant feeling that only the person experiencing it can know. The causes are many and it can be compounded by anxiety or fear. When it lasts for a long time it can cause depression and sleep issues which only multiplies the pain.

Morphine. One word conjures up different images for people. I recall parts of the great movie, Band of Brothers, in which Cpl Eugene Roe as played by the brilliant actor Shane Taylor, distributes morphine to his fallen comrades. Morphine was a gift in war time. It is fast acting and is a potent opiate analgesic psychoactive drug. It is often regarded as the gold standard or benchmark of analgesics used to relieve severe or agonizing pain and suffering.

The pain medications that mom has been taking are not working so I drove to the hospital today and they released morphine to me to give to mom. I’ll be setting my alarm clock for every 3 hours to check on her and administer more if she needs it. The whole objective now is to keep her calm, quiet, and comfortable.

For the first couple of days she will probably sleep right through the Morphine doses. We’ll be monitoring her blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and breathing every 3 hours and make necessary adjustments. She may feel like she is in some type of mental fog for a few days but once her body adjusts to the morphine, those will lessen and she will tolerate it a lot better. Addiction is always an issue with Morphine but when administered and monitored correctly, addiction usually doesn’t start to kick in for a few months. We only anticipate needing the Morphine for a few weeks.

Many have asked how Dad is doing through all of this.  To be honest, I'm sure that this has not been helpful to his dementia.  The doctor is not happy with what appears to be a fairly rapid decline in his cognitive health.  But he knows that Mom needs to fight this.  There is a lot to remember to care for Mom and he admits he doesn't know most of it and that's ok. That's why I'm here.  He is able to do some tube feeding which is a huge help for me.  He will give mom some food in the morning through her g-tube and then for lunch.  I administer the medications and monitor the feeding. 
We have increased greatly the amount of access we have to the g-tube and it seems that we are constantly giving her something.  We give her a lot of water because she is unable to swallow right now.  Mom typically drinks 8 - 10 full glasses a day, maybe more.  So we've increased the water through the tube.  We're going through more rubber gloves than I ever imagined possible!  We use on average 16 to 24 in one day. 
On a brighter note, Dad's back is healing really well.  The place where they took the skin cancer is almost closed up completely.  I will continue dressing the wound every night for about another two weeks.  And the g-tube for mom is looking great.  We still clean around it twice a day but yesterday there was nothing to clean and today it's looking the same.  So her body is still fighting and working, and that's very good news.  She has not spiked a temperature at all and her blood pressure, besides the night she decided to go into atrial fibrillation, has been great.  We monitor her weight as well and she's maintaining.
We're still on the road to recovery.  And to let you all know that we are still managing to crack at least one smile in this household everyday (a requirement I made in to law when this ordeal began)...I'll leave you with this thought which will hopefully put a smile on your face. 
Never criticize someone unless you walk a mile in his or her shoes, and then when you criticize them you'll be a mile away and have their shoes!

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