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question about mother

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Old 09-20-2005, 07:03 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4
tabers HB User
question about mother

After four months of treatment, nothing seems to be working and my mother has decided that she doesn't want any more treatment. She is at her house. We have hospice involved and my sister took a leave of absence from her job. My mother has been very nice during her ordeal, but now she thinks that we are trying to kill her. She won't drink out of a cup unless she sees us pour the water. She has to know exactly what pill she is getting. She also will not take anymore morphine since she thinks this is killing her. Is all this normal?

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Old 09-20-2005, 08:13 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: question about mother

She is probably exerting what little control she feels she has left over the rest of her life. As long as she understands the ramifications of refusing further treatment this may be her way to maintain some dignity and right to decide...

Many people have her same belief about morphine. There may be a point in the final days of life where the amount of morphine needed to relieve pain can also depress the respiratory system to some degree - but most people believe that compassionate pain control in the terminally ill is more important than any side effects of the morphine it takes to give them relief.

Do you think that having someone from Hospice discuss some of these issues with her may help? They may also be able to help you find a way to talk about it with her.
Their knowledge about end of life issues goes far beyond the physical care - see if they have any thoughts.
As much as possible find ways to give your Mom some control and say-so. Even the easy things... it may helps her feel less like a patient and more like a person...

Old 09-20-2005, 11:15 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: England
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ktee_uk HB User
Re: question about mother

Dear Tabers

Im so sorry your mum and family are going through this. It is a time when feelings and nerves become very raw and people you have known all your life seem to react differently to how you thought they would and that means you are affected too.

i can only sympathise and tell you from my own experience with my late mum. We faced a few problems in that mum would not tell me or my brother and sister the whole truth about how she felt physically or mentally. She would maybe tell me a little bit, then my sister aother bit and then my brother so the three of us had to piece together the whole picture by getting together and relating what each of us knew. We had to do this because of the practicalities of caring for someone with medical needs.

Mum also stopped treatment when side affects were too bad for her to cope with. Mum talked to us more about what she did not want rather than what she did want. For example, whilst she would tolerate me doing some jobs for her (meals and housework) it was only for a few days at a time and she was adament that she did not want any of us to become nurses to her and that if it came to it she would rather go to a hospice or nursing home.

This is in fact what happened. She did start taking liquid morphine whilst at home and in the last week of life she had a morpine pump which admiinistered a specific timed dose (not the sort that you press a button yourself). The morphine also had the benefit of reducing the amount of fluid collecting inside her body (ascites) which made it difficult for her to breath. So the morphine helping her breathing. I would say this was when mum was at her most confused which I guess goes hand in hand with an opiate like morphine. It is often difficult to get the dose right first time as different people need different amounts. In mums case she had bad nightmares and "waking dreams" and she did say things out of character but often brutally truthfull which shocked us. (she was probably saying many of the things out loud which she spent 40 years saying under her breath). And I know she felt like she was an animal on exhibit in a zoo probably because we visited her often.

Your mum must be naturally frightened. Hopefully she will be able to overcome her fear of the morphine. I would also hope that there doctors or nurses around that can explain how it works to her. As Ruth says, there are some wonderful people there who know how to guide patients through this time. There may even be someone she already knows.

I hope you find a way to help your mum. Good luck


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