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Old 08-10-2007, 12:35 AM   #1
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is physical pain associated alzheimer

Hi this is my first time here and i found this forum to be very helpful. My grandmother has had alzheimer's diease for over a decade, maybe 15 years or more. For the past 3 years she's been on a feeding tube because she couldn't eat on her own, so her hands are belted down on the side so that she doesn't take the feeding tube and the I.V. out. However, I was wondering what if she has an itch or something. How would she be able to let us know because she lost her speech many years ago. Recently, she was diagnosed with cancer in the uterus and my mom and aunt didn't want her to go through surgery because she is almost 80 years old. But what concerns me the most is, can people with alzheimer feel physical pain and are they sensitive to touch? If anyone can help with my questions, that'll be awesome. many Thanks

 
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:46 AM   #2
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Re: is physical pain associated alzheimer

Speaking from my own experience with my Mom, YES, an Alzheimer patient can and does feel pain.

Mom had an infection in one eye while I was still living with her - at first I had noticed the redness and asked if it hurt, or itched, and she said no. Then, a few minutes before the doctor's office closed, she said it hurts very badly - luckily I was able to get a prescription phoned in and pick up drops.

Then she fell and had an operation to repair her broken hip. Mom felt intense pain. When they tried to do rehab with her, she couldn't do any of the exercises because the pain was too intense.

Now she is not processing food - and one of the reasons all her childlren are rejecting a feeding tube is because it hurts. Not to mention the fact that the food going in through a tube still has to be processed by the body.

We agree to help her passing by using all pain relieving medicines that can be used, (she also has a small lung cancer, and congestive heart failure), and otherwise let her go in peace. This is all happening right now and is hard for her family. But we feel it is the right way to go.

Sincerely,

Martha

 
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Old 08-10-2007, 01:41 PM   #3
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Re: is physical pain associated alzheimer

From my experience they do feel pain but may not process it or be able to verbalize it. My mom complains of every twinge, pain, and uncomfortable feeling. My Dad on the other hand has had two surgical tooth extracts following abcesses and a big toe nail infection that lead to having his toe nail removed. He has yet to complain of pain. We only knew his tooth was bothering him because he brushed his teeth repeatedly and said there must be a hole in it. We noticed the toe and he never complained at all even after it was removed. The only pain he complains of is a nerve pain he has occassionally in his heel due to his bad leg circulation and then you only get on "Ouch" and he bangs his foot on the floor. We know we have to be watchful of him where as mom complains if she sweats. Each one is different and you learn their peculiarities quickly.

Love, Deb

 
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:18 PM   #4
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Re: is physical pain associated alzheimer

DGabriel10 is absolutely right! In fact, we've just been through the exact same thing! I've been taking DH to the dentist for cleanings to make sure that his teeth were ok as long as possible, and this last visit we discovered that he had not been brushing (learning experience -- we thought he was doing it as long as reminded...). He had developed large cavities that would have been painful. He had been eating ice cream and other foods and never complained. I also found out that he had a toe infection when I tried to figure out why he was looking at his foot one day. It looked very painful, but he had never said anything! Today he had the nail removed due to infection. Not only is he not complaining about pain, but he doesn't even wince when walking. He laughed and said ohhhhhh when the doctor was working on him, and it was definitely painful. If I ask him if it hurts, he does say yes. I don't know if his brain isn't processing how to react to pain or if he can't communicate about it. We're learning to watch for signals that something isn't right.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:58 AM   #5
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Re: is physical pain associated alzheimer

dearest martha,

thank you for being there eventhough you yourself is going thru so much. I'm thankful our paths have crossed through this forum. Thank you for the awesome advice from first hand experience. I never knew a feeding tube inserted was painful. i am so clueless but thanks for sharing your knowledge. your a blessing to this forum and i will keep you and your family in my prayers. me being a christian, i feel that the best thing I can do for you is prayer. remember to take care of yourself cuz taking care of a love one who has alz is very hard and emotionally draining. I've been there you do need a breather every now and then. my prayers and thoughts are with you.

 
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