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......
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
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!
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
I'd suggest a consult and ongoing relationship with
a pain management clinic that works with clients who
also have addiction issues...at 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
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
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!