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  1. #1
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    Question Morphine and dementia

    As many regular members will know, mum is now in late stages of terminal cancer and mid-stage Alz+LBD.

    The last couple of days I and the nurses have been puzzling her wakefulness and lucidity. Yes, she is hallucinating and she has told us she is hearing voices but she says everyone is friendly so it's not the biggest concern ..... could it be her LBD? Could it be the morphine? By all accounts the dosage of morphine she is on would render any other mortal soul completely 'zonked' (sorry, best word I can find). They cannot understand why it is not completely knocking her out ......

    Maybe I'm sat here trying to make sense of everything that's going on ....... but I have found as mum's morphine dose has increased so has her mental ability? Bizarre? One-off case? (Mum's always been a battler defying docs for many years) ... or is there something here .....? One nurse started to ponder neuro-receptors .... lost me completely - I know a bandage from a tube of antiseptic and that's my lot ......

    Any ideas?

    Karen
     

  2. #2
    The only thing I know about morphine is that the more pain you are in, the higher dose you can withstand without the "doped up" side effects, Of course one of the reasons these drugs are abused is that they can produce euphoria so I imagine there's a fairly short leap from that to actual hallucinations. I'm so glad for her that these visions, howsoever caused, are benign and friendly. As to why her mental abilities have improved - I used to ponder this when my mother had had a drink (or 2) because she would seem to be much more on the ball: I ended up putting it down to 1) loss of inhibitions and 2) possibly increased blood flow
    Jennifer

    Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.

    A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.

    Abraham J. Heschel
     

  3. #3
    My understanding of neuro receptors is that they are little things in your brain between which all the important messages are sent by chemicals/hormones...So for example your mum gets the morphine, and usually these little neuro receptors would pass on the message to each other all throughout the brain that its time to sleep now...but maybe with dementia, these messages are not being sent as effectively as they usually would be.
    Now I definitely only have a vague grasp of what neuro receptors which also double up I think as neuro transmitters (i.e. they send and receive) so I could be completely wrong...but I think that is what it all means.
    Nat

    The mantra that gets me through the bad times:
    "This too in time will pass... This too in time will pass...."
     

  4. #4
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    Nat - don't get techinical with me at this time of night!

    they can produce euphoria so I imagine there's a fairly short leap from that to actual hallucinations.
    Thanks Jennifer .... certainly mood swings like I have never seen ... like within five minutes changes ..... and perhaps any semblance of depression which has affected mum is now lifted?

    I'm so glad for her that these visions, howsoever caused, are benign and friendly
    It is strangely comforting to witness ...... first the frown, and you can see mum trying to 'listen' or work out what she is 'seeing' ...... then she either starts patting herself and / or smiling hugely ...... Mum keeps saying she doesn't know who it is but she knows it's a lady. We have agreed it must be her fairy godmother. In my heart I believe it is her own mother calling her home.

    Karen, x
     

  5. #5
    In my heart I believe it is her own mother calling her home.
    Got goosebumps reading that. Several of my relatives who have passed away have also talked about friendly people and sometimes they have even named their siblings or parent, in the room with them near the end. Sometimes too this has happened when they didn't actually pass away but came awfully close to it.
    Its a comforting thought.
    Nat

    The mantra that gets me through the bad times:
    "This too in time will pass... This too in time will pass...."
     

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tender Face
    In my heart I believe it is her own mother calling her home.
    Hi Karen,

    This also happen to my dad a few days before he passed away, he also was on morphine and in and out of consciousness. Dad clearly was trying to focus on something high in the corner of the room. Suddenly dad said, mum, mum is that you, oh mum it is. Then dad turned looked at me and said, look at the people do we know them who are they waiting for. The nurse told him that no one was there, dad was too fixated on what he was seeing....then said, look the soldiers are marching....he called out, hey cobber. I believe that departed souls do wait around the dying and take them home.
    kindness in another's trouble,
    Courage in your own....
     

  7. #7
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    Hi Karen

    Your Mum's experiences do not surprise me. For the last six month + of Mum's life she was rarely on her own. Often, from her conversations with them, they were her relatives. They did not worry or upset her (apart from the day she was shouting at my Dad!) All of them had passed on.

    At the start she kept telling them that she wasn't coming yet, then that would be coming, then she would be coming soon.

    Her conversations with her "Angels" were more lucid than most she had with me, although occasionally if they were not around she would be able to answer the odd question monosyllabically. Then I had the odd question about her engagement ring three weeks before she died.

    Dad had morhpine and as he became accustomed to the dose it did not dope him at all. He did not have dementia, just pain from the cancer.

    LIke Taffy I have come to believe

    that departed souls do wait around the dying and take them home.
    Wishing your Mum and yourself peace

    Love

    Mameeskye
     

  8. #8
    Hi,
    When my dad was dying of cancer in 1992- he was given morphine- sadly not through a pump as the ward he was on did not have one- simply as a bolus injection every few hours. My mum and I sat by his bed for days just waiting for him to pass. On the morning he died I suggested to mum that it was futile sitting here as I thought he would not pass over as he was "hanging on to us". Mum got up , kissed him and told him to go to his mum- Dad's mum had died when he was a child. We kissed him and told the nurses we were going to have a coffee in the canteen and would return later. We had literally just bought the coffees and a young nurse came in and told us dad had gone. Whether Dad needed permission from my mum to go or whether his parents were waiting for him I will never know?

    Julie xx
    Manx Proverb

    Ny jean shin dy bragh paardail roosyn ta shiu graihagh orroo fegooish focklyn graihagh, foddee ny jean shiu meeiteil ad arraagh.

    Never part with those you love without loving words, perhaps you will not meet them again.
     

  9. #9

    Interesting poser

    And can't really add much to it myself, but just popped in to say I'm thinking of you both, and hope she continues to see friendly faces all around her - past, present & future.

    Love
    XxXxX
    Lynne
    former Carer

    "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way", lyric line from 'Time', by Pink Floyd

     

  10. #10
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    Dear Karen
    Follow your heart
    This happened to my Nan and she used to say her sister had come to fetch her.
    As long as your Mum is not upset that is the main thing.

    Much love to you both.
    Roseann
     

  11. #11
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    I'm not sure what to say, apart from my thoughts are with you and your family.

    Lanie
     

  12. #12
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    Amazing Day

    Bless you all ... yes, I believe it is the morphine and nothing to do with dementia now .... mum today presented bright-eyed and downright cheeky during some long spells of wakefulness ...... (thanks again Jennifer, that word 'euphoria' rattled round much of the afternoon).

    The nurses could not believe the difference from yesterday and how she is today, although now bed bound of course, so organised for her two new 'best friends' (fellow residents she became attached to when she was able to get to the lounge) to visit her in her room (Mohammed and mountain stuff) to share a whisky - and blow me down if mum didn't manage a wee dram - albeit it with much coughing and spluttering. But she enjoyed it - and that's all that matters!

    She is surrounded by such loving and caring staff in the NH and, yes, her 'angels' too ........ it's a huge comfort at such a devastating time.

    Love, Karen, x
     

  13. #13
    Karen, I think everyone just about said anything I could possibly say. i think at times tho moms "angels" were guiding me. someetimes the emotional rollercoaster would appear and then her "angels" would appear to her and it would sort of have a calming efecct on me. It lifted the thought of her being all alone in her world and made it easier to handle..tho the conversations for me were not of those she had with "others".

    to get to the morphine thing...I had a doctor tell me that the real problem was not with the pain killers but with anesthesia...medications like versed (it is known as the amnesia drug) that dr.s use to put a patient out for surgery. He said those pose the greatest problem to a dementia patient. From my own experience she was given the versed for some tests early on and when she came out she didn't know who I was and wanted to know where her baby was. It took 2 days to get her back to reality. During her last weeek or so we used an analgesic morphine on her and it didn't seem to change her at all. But heay all that matters is that your mom is happy and comfortable.


    Hugs

    Nancy
     

  14. #14
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    HI ALL

    just reading about morphine when my mum was dying i asked the doctor i think she is in pain he said theres pain and discumfort with his arms folded i see i thought he knows himself what it feels like does he. in the end they gave her small amounts of morphine i dont think it worked that well only to be told we can not give her more because of her weight. I think she had that anasthetic the night befor she died it was aufull to see

    kathy x
     

  15. #15
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    Alzheimers and morphine

    hello, my grandmother was hospitalized 2 years ago and we noticed she was a lot more alert. She has full blown Alzheimers and can barely form a sentence most of the time. She was hospitalized because she broke her hip and contracted MRSA from the surgery. When she got home her alzheimers was just as bad as before she was hospitalized. We figured this was just a fluke, she was just having a few good days. However, last week she was hospitalized again(for the MRSA). This time she was EXTREMELY alert. Remembering stuff i did when i was 5(I'm 18 now). She went home a couple days ago and she is now back to barely being able to form sentences...she had entire conversations in the hospital
    She still takes her anti-biotics and all her other med is the same in the hospital and home, except for one thing, the morphine. It may also just be the stimulation of being in the hospital and seeing a lot of family and talking to other people(nurses/docs) as apposed to being stuck at home. so i think the morphine might be having a reverse effect on her kinda like how some anti-depressants can make people more depressed. But i dont know anything about meds so that is solely speculation.
    God bless,
    Vyx
     

 

 

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