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  • Death by Advil

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    Old 08-01-2003, 10:27 PM   #1
    Snowgoose
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    Post Death by Advil

    My younger sister had chronic, severe pain for several years. During that time, she went from 115 lbs. to 80 lbs. Her pain was caused by severe osteoporosis. The osteoporosis was caused by the drug Prednisone, which she took for 29 years (from the time she was 21) for myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune neuromuscular disease).

    Long-term use of Prednisone destroyed her bones. Her hip fractured when she was 36 years old. In the years after that, she suffered from multiple vertebral compression fractures, rib fractures, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and finally, earlier this year, kyphoscoliosis (hunchback). She said she could no longer see herself in the bathroom mirror, because her spine had curved forward so much. And she never wanted to be seen again in public, because she was now a hunchback.

    Oxycontin was what her PM doc prescribed, but it eventually stopped helping. She could no longer walk because of the pain. Her PM doc said there was nothing more he could do to help her and suggested she call hospice.

    The day before her appointment with hospice, she took 8 Advil for her pain. The Advil ate a hole all the way through the wall of her stomach, and she got peritonitis. It took the ER 9 hours to figure out what was wrong with her, and all the while her digestive organs were being flooded with bacteria and stomach acid. They performed surgery to repair the perforated ulcer in her stomach and to clean out her poisoned body cavity.

    When she regained consciousness, she had a respirator down her throat and taped to her mouth, so she could not talk. She had tubes in her chest, tubes in her abdomen, a catheter, and 4 IV bags of different antibiotics being pumped into her veins. She was in ICU for 18 days, then a regular hospital room for 2 days, then a rehab center for a week. By the time she was discharged, she weighed 70 lbs. and could no longer breathe without using an oxygen tank.

    The day after she arrived home from the rehab center, she had a bowel obstruction, caused by adhesions that formed due to the peritonitis. She was rushed back to the hospital. They said she needed surgery for the obstructed bowel and that they would have to do a colostomy. But chances were slim that she would survive the surgery, due to her failing lungs and emaciated body.

    She decided not to have the surgery because even if she recovered from it, she would continue to have a life filled with nothing but increasing pain, her body and bones were falling apart, her lungs were failing, her face would forever be facing the floor, and she had nothing to look forward to but hospice.

    She told the doctor that she wanted to die, and when he concurred with her decision, it brought a great big smile to her face. While she waited to die, her bowel perforated and peritonitis set in again. The doctor ordered increasing amounts of morphine, to a maximum of 10 mg, until my sister's heart stopped beating. She was 50 years old. She died on July 20, 2003, one month after she took 8 Advil.

     
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    Old 08-02-2003, 05:38 AM   #2
    jessilynn68
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    Snowgoose -

    I am so sorry you lost your sister, and in such a horrible way. Its not nearly enough, but you have my deepest sympathies.

    Last year, my mom started having problems with her kidneys. She was havng some pain, and her urine was "foamy." After several useless trips to the docs, a good urologist said it was because she had been taking ibuprofen for so long. He said if she kept taking it, eventually, it would shut her kidneys down. BTW, she had been taking it under another doc's advice for a "virus" she had that they could never figure out exactly what it was. The lack of information out there about this "harmless" drug is scary. The only reason my mom is ok today is that SHE was persistent, not the docs, and she got lucky finding the urologist she has now. She has to go for tests every 2 months though, for the rest of her life.

    Again, I am so sorry about your sister. I won't give the usual platitudes abouther being pain-free and all now, because I know that doesn't help terribly much. So again, all I will say, is I am so very sorry.

    [This message has been edited by jessilynn68 (edited 08-02-2003).]

     
    Old 08-02-2003, 01:11 PM   #3
    HockeyCrystal
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    I just wanted to express my utmost sympathy, and as well thank you for sharing your sister's story with us. I myself will probably not be taking much advil in the future. I don't want something like this to happen to anyone I know either, so I'll be dissuading people I know from taking advil and other nsaids that have ibuprofen in them. Thanks again, and I also am so very sorry for your loss. I will pray for you & your family and the loss you're enduring now.. Good luck hun.

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    Old 08-02-2003, 05:42 PM   #4
    cattys
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    I am so sorry to hear about your sister. She is in a good place now no more pain or suffering.

    I take advil all the time for a chronic pain condition.

    Thanks so much for your story. I think my advil days are over.

    http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif Take care. http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif
    Cattys


     
    Old 08-02-2003, 10:42 PM   #5
    Snowgoose
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    Thank you all for your sympathy. I appreciate your taking the time to read my message and post a reply. I have nothing against Advil, but I posted the details of the last month of my sister's life to serve as a warning to anyone who might think that an over-the-counter painkiller doesn't have the potential to do great harm or kill you if you take more than the recommended dosage. Years ago, every time I got a toothache, I used to swallow 6 Excedrin to mute the pain, but it never occurred to me that I was playing Russian roulette with my life.

     
    Old 08-04-2003, 02:29 PM   #6
    lindao1
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    Dear Snowgoose;

    My heart goes out to you, my dear. I'm so sorry for the loss of your sister, but I'm sure she is now at peace - no more pain, no more suffering. What your sister had to endure the last month of her life is a disgrace.

    Know that we care and are here to support you. I,too, will be much more careful when taking Advil. I only take it occasionally because of ulcers, but now I will think before I take them.

    You will always have your memories to keep your sister alive. No one can take that from you. Remember the good times you two had and that will keep her close to your heart.
    "An angel on her way to heaven,
    One perfumed, starlit night,
    Remembered one she'd left behind,
    And pausing in her flight;
    Looked back to earth, then shed a tear
    For love left all forlorn,
    Behold! Where fell that pearly drop
    A pure white rose was born."
    Take care my dear and I pray that God will comfort you. Lindao

     
    Old 08-06-2003, 04:41 AM   #7
    curvil
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    snowgoose,
    I am SO SORRY for your loss. Words cannot express the pain that was left to you and your family with the loss of your sister. I dont know what to say

    My sincere sympathy to you and your family. Your sister was a brave person, I can only hope that when my time comes I have the strength she had, God be with you and your family,

    http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/love1.gif shedevil

    ------------------
    laminectomy 1999
    discectomy 2001
    spinal fusion L5S1 2002
    partial hardware removal
    2002
    chronic back pain
    failed back syndrome
    right leg and foot numbness, loss of sensation, burning pain
    __________________
    laminectomy 1999
    discectomy 2001
    spinal fusion L5S1 2002
    partial hardware removal
    2002
    chronic back pain
    failed back syndrome
    right leg and foot numbness, loss of sensation, burning pain

     
    Old 08-06-2003, 09:16 AM   #8
    Snowgoose
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    Shedevil,

    Thank you for your kind words. My sister's death was an emotional shock to me, my parents and siblings -- she was the middle child and the first to die in a family of 7. But we realize that her unbearable pain, the deterioration of her body, and the loss of the quality of her life caused her existence to be unlivable.

    I hope that you find relief from your pain. My sister did not have the surgical procedures that you've had (she did have glue injected between her vertebrae, which didn't help), but like you, she had chronic back pain, burning pain (in her back and ribcage), numbness and loss of sensation (first in her buttocks, then in her legs), and when she was still able to walk, she said it felt like she was walking on broken glass.

    Some of the things that she did or didn't do, which might have changed the outcome, were: She stopped going for physical therapy in water after only a couple of sessions because she said it hurt too much. She didn't do any kind of exercise, even though she was told she had muscle atrophy. She refused to wear a custom-made back brace because she said it was uncomfortable, but she told her doctor she was wearing the brace every day as prescribed. She stayed awake all night, every night, and slept during the day. She had no appetite for anything except chocolate candy, she ate very little real food and drank lots of sodas (bad for the bones because it contains phosphorous). She took no supplements, no calcium, and no bone-rebuilding medication such as Fosamax, and she smoked cigarettes (also bad for the bones).

    I can't blame her for any of the things she did or didn't do regarding her health. Self-indulgence and lack of self-care seem to be traits that run in my family. Including my deceased sister, 5 out of 7 in the family smoke cigarettes, 5 drink too many sodas, 6 do little exercise, all the women are underweight, have a poor appetite, and have severe osteoporosis (must be hereditary). Considering the fact that all 5 children have lived apart from my parents and apart from each other since reaching adulthood decades ago, I wonder why so many of us have so much in common.

     
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