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EDITORIAL RESPONSES  /Go Answer AliceEditorial List

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Go Answer Alice Editorial Responses - Page 2
These are just some of the many responses we received from our Editorial of 04/16/09 - Go Answer Alice

Go to a caregiver support group somewhere---possibly there are some in hospitals......It is very important......

Acupuncture, massage therapy, swimming, whirlpools, and holistic healing. Even though my mom has never been addicted to anything, I find that she is her happiest outdoors.


Alice - I'm so sorry for the pain that both you and your mother are going through.  I am a hospice nurse specializing in pain and symptom management and have also been a family caregiver.  My big suggestion would be to see if your mother's primary physician will make a referral either to a doctor/nurse practitioner or clinic that specializes in pain management.  There they can address both the physical and emotional components of your mother's pain and determine what type of treatment will address the type of pain she is having.  Not knowing where you live, it would be hard to make a suggestion, but most major medical centers have someone in that specialty.  Please make sure you are getting the support that you need, perhaps respite by another family member or friend, or check with your local social services agency to see if there are services your mother qualifies for.  You are not doing your mother any favors by neglecting yourself, so please do the things you need to do to stay healthy...physically, mentally and spiritually.

 Sending you strength   


My husband has a spinal cord injury (T-5) with paralysis from the waist down & in his right arm.  For the past year we have dealt with his reactions to category 3 narcotic meds and his ever increasing pain events.  His pain events would be so bad that during the day (each day) for two hours he'd pound his fist on the table and scream while rocking in his chair; then at night around 3:30am I'd have to transfer him from his bed to his wheelchair.  It so happened that this has happened intensely and daily for the past three weeks. His mood was depressive.
We had been to doctors who prescribed tons of tests, pain blocks and more drugs - that didn't work.  We took him twice to the hospital - that didn't work.  (In fact - in front of our two year old daughter, the doctor said, "Well I see you have been on a lot of meds, what would you like?") My husband refused the meds and demanded that they find out what was causing the pain.  The ER said that they had no answers for him and he should go home.   No one should ever endure this! Nor should Alice not have any support for what she is enduring!

A day later we ran into a friend whose health situation was entirely different but experiencing similar pain.  Making a long story short - we are now seeing their chiropractor for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) or (aka) Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.  It has now been two weeks..he sleeps through the night, has been able to reduce his medication and spends the afternoons in only 1/2 the pain he did before. Our whole family; has reaped huge benefits and improved quality of life as a result of constant pursuit of pain relief.

I don't know if this information will help - but maybe it can point Alice in a direction that would help alleviate part of the problem. 

Please tell her that she is not alone - I do the same caregiving for my husband and I still smile at the end of the day because there isn't anyone out there that can tell me I am doing nothing less then giving him the best care and quality of life that I can.  Hang in there!
L. G.

It sounds to me like this job is just too big for any one person to handle.  You need to call in the professionals and perhaps think of putting Mom in a facility that can help her.  You must not blame yourself.  You are being very courageous and honorable taking care of your Mother and do not deserve any abuse from either your mother or anyone else.

I'd suggest a consult and ongoing relationship with a pain management clinic that works with clients who also have addiction this point the most logical course would be to put her on methadone maintenance (for chronic pain and opiate addiction - methadone is a medically approved treatment for both illnesses.)  Titrating her methadone dose upwards slowly to provide pain control, and a small amount of oral pain medication for breakthrough pain might do the trick.  Adding clonazepam for anxiety might also help - somewhat controversial with methadone in terms of being sedating, but this lady sounds as if some sedation might not be an undesirable side effect. 

Also, counseling for Alice with a therapist who really understands family dynamics of addiction.  And Alice, take care of YOU - you are a good person, no matter what your mother may say when she is drug seeking.

First of all, you're in over your head - you shouldn't be dealing with this woman alone!  Not only is she your mother and you are living in her house, she has got you every way she can.

You need supportive family members, church members, medical community, whatever.  Maybe even hospice - they know lots about these kinds of issues.
You are too young to be put in this position, the same position that you have been put in all your life.  You must fight for your own health and well-being as this woman is on the downward spiral and will take anyone with her that she can.
Ugly but true, call Vitas Hospice if you can.  Get some counseling NOW!



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