Am I sensitive or what?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I have been dealing with-my very, very, very, very, very (did I say VERY?) needy 81-yr-old cousin, whom I flew in from NYC last wk and placed in a convalescent/rehab center
    (I'll save that story for another day, incl. the cat and security), and knew, intellectually, how hard it would be to deal with-difficult child AND her. She is a former actress and is her own worst enemy. No one knows how much pain she's really in, despite a broken coccyx which should have healed by now, a broken hip, which was repaired 2 yrs ago, and a compression fracture between L2 and L3. She is addicted to oxycontin, by the way. :anxious: Her conversational mainstay is: "In NY, they never let you go with-o pain medications." (Oh, yeah?) and "Run down the hall and ask the nurse if she has my pain medications." (Every 4 min. ... the dr said I was enabling her.)
    She needs rehab. She needs to learn to walk again.
    I need a nap. (In fact, I took one today, instead of visiting her again as I had promised her. She'll be ticked but the world did not end.)

    A different cousin called and invited me to a MaryKay mtng (I buy and use it but am NOT a sales person NOR an extrovert, so I opted out of being a consultant many yrs ago) and she asked me to be her model. I had mixed feelings--one more thing to do. A favor for someone else. But She's fun, it's close to home, it's only an hr-and-a-half, blah blah blah.
    I went. It was fun and relaxing. I looked great when I left. They did the hard sell and I didn't worry in the least; I had already placed an order the day b4, by coincidence, for eye makeup remover, etc, and simply added a cpl things to the list and didn't even hand it in. No pressure.

    I drive home, walk in the door. Kitchen and DR are a mess.
    husband and difficult child are upstairs in our bed, in the dark, watching a laptop DVD. I walk in, hoping to show them my supposedly gorgeous face.
    difficult child doesn't miss a beat: "GO AWAY."
    I am slammed to the ground.
    Why do I let that happen?
    I thought I was above that.

    The good news is, it incentivized me to do a search of cities in VA where I want to move. We have lived in an area that is conducive to husband's career but not mine. He came up with-the idea of moving to another area that is more conducive to my expertise, and opening a 2nd location for himself.
    Of course, he's all talk and no action ... so I did a Google search and found a great private spec. needs school and tons of artists and writers.
    When life gives you lemons ... (not to mention a P-O'd adrenaline rush) ...

    I'm planning on securing a Realtor within the next 6 mo's, assuming the real estate mkt picks up, and moving within a yr.
    Fingers crossed!

    No more getting kicked out of my own bed and getting dissed by a difficult child with-an attitude and a husband who won't or can't stick up for me.

    P.S. If my cousin lives that long, it will be a miracle. I'll deal with-moving her if and when the time comes.
  2. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Terry, is she actually addicted to the "high" the oxy can cause, or has she become dependent on it?

    There's a BIG difference between being habituated to opiates used for pain control (some people will require that doses be increased as time goes on), and being addicted to the euphoric effects of the medication.
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    difficult child actually booted you out of your own room? Yikes.

    Sounds like you have a good plan. Stick with it.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree. I'm a long-term pain patient and although I know I would have some withdrawal issues if I stopped taking the pain medications, I know it's not addiction because I take it primarily for pain. I actually hate any muscle-weakness/fatigue feeling and will choose to keep some pain noticeable, rather than be completely pain free but risk sedation.

    On pain medications - I function. Off pain medications - I can't move and I'm useless to anybody.

    But from what you describe with this cousin, it sounds like she is simply waiting to die, she's not trying to improve her life or function to any extent. It'd as if she's taking pain medications to alleviate boredom, as much as anything. Some patients will do this, and also constantly compare their problems with other people's, as if it's a competition. "My pain must be a lot worse than yours, because I take more/stronger pain medications than you do," is something I had unfortunately heard. It's not meant to be a competition. Besides, how we each deal with pain is very different. mother in law cannot take opiate medications at all. They cause vomiting in her. So she went through recovery from open heart surgery (bypass surgery) taking nothing stronger than paracetamol!
    She had a fall yesterday, we were concerned it was a broken hip. The ambulance officers wanted to give her the whistle plus a pethidine injection and were still concerned it might not be enough. She only wanted one paracetamol tablet. They compromised and got her to take a second one. She said, "They put me to sleep..."

    And here I am, finding that two combined paracetamol/codeine tabs barely touch my pain, on top of my other medications! I am not saying my pain is worse than hers was yesterday. No way could it be. But she can manage her pain more easily (thank goodness for her).

    Is your cousin a pain competitor? Or is she genuinely in pain and having it managed appropriately?

    I had an aunt who was an actress and a drama queen. When she went into a nursing home she made their lives a misery, she was always very demanding and would milk every opportunity for sympathy and attention. But I remember when she was well, she was a wonderful person to chat to. But the signs were always there - she thrived on attention. When illness became part of her world, she used that too, like every other facet of her life.

    Sad, really.

    If only your cousin could find a positive interest and some attention in another way, that could encourage her to get active again.

    As for the metaphorical slap in the face after your make-over - praise from that pair would also be meaningless. It's how YOU feel about yourself that matters.

  5. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Marg, for the last five years of his like, husband was only able to function if he used strong painkillers...morphine and Oxycontin.

    He was very lucky with his pain mgmt team as they kept him properly medicated. There's a balance between being too drugged to function and being able to function.

    The only thing he had to do for the last couple of years was to give up driving because his medications made him dizzy.

    We did notice that there was a period of sedation from the medications before he got used to the effects. And, yes, his medications were increased a few times over the years. At the end he was on Fentanyl, which is something like 80x as strong as morphine.

    And yet, a dose that would've laid me out cold and likely killed me, was tolerated. He was not an addict. He was dependent on his pain medications and in fact. used to complain about how he wished they would come out with a pain medication that was effective, but didn't have any sedation effects.

    Me? I accidentally took one of his painkillers (when I went to proper dispensers) and wound up in the ER. I ODed on a dose that didn't effect husband beyond pain management.

    The one thing he did have to do was submit to periodic urine tests to make certain he was taking his painkillers as prescribed (as opposed to selling them or something), and he had to learn to overcome his stubborness and take medications as soon as he started to hurt as opposed to waiting until he was in agony.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Thank goodness I don't have to take urine tests.

    But the medications I'm on (much the same as your husband) are one reason why (so I've been told) I will never be allowed to visit the US.

    But lately I've been thinking, and I'm going to ask for more information. Someone could have been leading me up the garden path.

  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Marg, she sounds just like your aunt.

    Going North, I am not sure. I think she really needs pain medications, but she has been taken from 40 mg of oxy, every 3 hrs, down to 40 mgs time release twice a day, and nothing seems to have changed. So I think the lower dose is better. Plus, the nurses make her move around, eat on schedule, etc, which she didn't do in her own home, even with-the svc I hired. They were too "soft." It takes a strong personality to deal with-this person!

    Yes, Marg, I agree, compliments from my husband and difficult child are meaningless. Still, when you're on a "high," it's nice to share the fun. :(
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Okay Terry, how'd you find an artistic community with a school like you describe? Hmmmmm ~ living in the wrong part of the country I suppose.

    In Seattle, husband & I lived a large part of our married life there in the Fremont/Ballard area. Full of musicians, artists, writers. We loved the area.

    Hope your cousin rehabs quickly. on the other hand, she is 81 & I'm a big fan of letting someone that old, who has lived a long rich life do what is necessary until they die. Let them live in peace & practically pain free. Heck, bring her a 6 pack or a bottle of whiskey, We brought beer to my grandpa who died at 97; the man is an adult, he can have his beer, his ice cream anything he wants - just because he's 97 & has lived a long life. His body is worn out - his peers were gone, we weren't going to allow some of his favorite things be taken away by a doctor as well.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Timer, yrs ago, I had Seattle on my list of places to live, until I found out how much it rains. :(
    Yes, I agree, my cousin should get what she wants ... but ... what she was doing wasn't working. You know the expression, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." (Ben Franklin)
    She said alcohol doesn't taste good because the pain medications make everything taste funny.
    She still enjoys watching old movies and reminiscing, and she cannot do that when she is doped up, so we are trying to find a happy medium.
    Meanwhile, I'm checking out Charlottesville, VA. :)
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I have found with a number of different medications (including the slow-release form of dex we get for our kids) that it often means a lower dose, when you switch to it. also if your aunt was self-medicating, even following doctor's orders, there is an anxiety component that can make you take more, or at least allow for the possibility of taking more, pain medications. If she was trying to NOT get addicted (something I used to do, before I got told by my doctor to stop worrying about it) then she may have been waiting until she needed it, before taking more - this is a common mistake. You often take less if you use it to maintain your pain under control. I now know that for me, if my pain gets out of control (because for whatever reason I have no pain medications on board) then I need a much bigger priming dose to get the pain under control. Maintenance is lower. Slow-release means less breakthrough pain, and frankly - it is the breakthrough pain that we notice and that scares us into taking more medications.

    With your aunt being allowed to do what she wants - from the sound of it, she needs to accept that the attention from rehab physiotherapists is also valuable attention. She needs to learn to value the positive attention from achieving goals. But yes - if she wants ice cream (metaphorically as well) then let her have what she wants. But keep moving and keep that pain under control!

    Boredom is bad for her; being left to her own devices sounds bad for her. But put her in a room of admirers and she will probably find her pain levels drop down a long way! I'm not saying she's not feeling pain, but she probably gets an endorphin rush from an audience.

  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely, Marg. :)
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I hope this goes through. I have had a couple of responses not go through and I cannot post anything as a new thread. Not sure why.

    Anyway, if your cousin is only expected to live 6 months WHY should she go through rehab? As she is in real pain this would be incredibly cruel. ANY doctor suggesting that someone at the end of their live needs to go through rehab is a fool, a mean one at that.

    Detoxing from anything is bad. From pain medications it is grueling and very physically demanding. I question whether she would even have the strength to survive it in the shape she is in. Do you watch House? Last season ended with House in rehab. They showed a very sanitized version of detoxing. It is U.G. L.Y.

    There is NO point in putting your cousin through this. Finding the right dose and getting her moving, THAT is realistic and a worthwhile goal as it will let her live however long she has in a much happier way. Just don't let them put her in a detox/rehab situation. Please.

    Marg and GN are very right about pain medications. They have excellent points, though I doubt fentanyl is 80 times the strength of morphine. for one thing, there are no real equivalents in opiates. Hydrocodone is not X times weaker than oxycodone or whatever. My pain doctor says it does NOT work that way.

    I hope you can find ways to keep your cousin engaged. Maybe find a scout troop she can coach through something?
  13. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    It might be 8 times stronger. I quoted something I'd read fairly recently that. If wrong, I apologize.

    I agree a hundred percent with letting her be comfortable and live out the time she has left.

    husband refused further treatment beyond pain medications a few days before he died. Not only did I bring in a bottle of his favorite single-malt Scotch, but the staff looked in the other direction when I did so.

    It was a simple pleasure for him. He would drink a shot or two of the whiskey some evenings...and sip it like it was a fine cognac. No one saw any reason for him to not have that small pleasure when we and he knew he was actively dieing.

    Now my mother is 75, has the diseases of aging and spinal stenosis on top of the usual arthritis. When she shattered her wrist last year, she busted her tail rehabbing from the injury. She belongs to a seniors' health club, and I can assure you her body's going to wear out before her soul does.

    It's a very diiferent thing that I feel is entirely an individual decision, assuming the individual is lucid.

    husband just wore out. He was exhausted and couldn't do it anymore.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It all depends on what is meant by "rehab".

    I've been in rehab, but it had nothing to do with medication. I was going through a program of physical rehabilitation. The main process was to first assess what I was physically capable of, and then to work with me to try to improve my stamina. I was in hospital for three weeks in all, part of the process included a visit to the Independent Living Centre which is Occupational Therapy heaven; they have loads of gadgets, gizmos etc to help improve your life. If you have arthritis, for example, you will find the potato peeler of your dreams in this place. I got to try out electric scooters (those little old lady ones) and various crutches. I found my double adjustable canada crutches there. They didn't supply me, everything they have there is for display only, to give us a chance to try things out before we waste money on something that looks good but doesn't work for us.

    I didn't read this rehab as drug rehab - I read it as physical rehab/therapy to improve her physical condition as far as possible.

    My mother was 84 and in rehab after her stroke. The situation really looked hopeless, but she wanted to get as fit as she could, to learn how to walk again. Any post-injury/post long-term illness/post surgery of any seriousness, really needs rehab of this kind, to make sure you are doing the best for yourself tat you can. Of any age, any prognosis. Even someone not expected to live - you don't give up on them. What do they do for themselves in the meantime? Someone dying could still benefit from advice on what kind of wheelchair cushion will be the most comfortable.

    It's all about quality of life and as much independence as possible, for as long as possible.

  15. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Marg, I've done the long term rehab (we call it PT, here) after having my left knee completely reconstructed thirty years ago (note to self, having a horse fall on you is NOT a good thing).

    Here in the US, if the patient is fairly mobile, it is done on an outpatient basis. In other cases, the patient is moved to a nursing/rehab facility.

    I agree that "rehab" will not extend life in many cases, but it improves quality of life. I also believe that going through it should be entirely up to the patient.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Rehab can be either/or here and this post just shows how people read the word "rehab" so badly.

    Most of you guys know that after I was in the regular hospital with meningitis, I went into "rehab" to learn to reuse my legs and hands again. Plus I needed help with my brain for a bit.

    I had people in real life think I had gone to drug rehab!!! Even some people that worked with Tony and knew I had been in the hospital Just the word rehab brings those thoughts to peoples brains. As if I would need drug rehab after almost
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I don't know anything about crazy former aunt actresses addicted to pain medications, I had a husband that was a crack addict and was a drama queen though so I kinda understand the energy drain. I don't have any friends that would even care to ask me to a party and make me up, but I have former friends that make up things and pretend I exist. But I do know how it feels to finally FINALLY take 5 minutes for YOU and do something that you wouldn't normally do for YOU and do it, feeling a twinge of guilt...and DO IT, come home to "show off" and then get 'oh......uh huh...(between the new Boost commercial and the one for AD's)....WHAT? OH did you do something for yourself? Good. :mad:

    What I DO like in all of this? What I call the B adrenaline. Keep it, hone it, and use it. It's golden and in 8 months you'll really BE wondering why you did not do THIS for YOU sooner. BEST WISHES.

    Thanks for the Valentine. It has been the highlight of my week!!

    Hugs & love and by the way - you look VERY pretty!
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Because of the mention of the cousin being addicted to pain medications I thought rehab was "drug rehab". THAT would be a terrible use of time if the cousin is not expected to live much longer.

    Rehab to learn to walk again and to be able to regain whatever strength she can is a GREAT idea. Sorry if I got the rehabs wrong.