Discussions that mention morphine

Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia board


First let me say how sorry I am that your MIL is in the final stage and near the end. It doesn't matter how old they may be or how much of them this disease has already taken, it is very hard to lose a parent (in-law). My thoughts are with you and your spouse.

End of life is very difficult to predict and every person goes through it in their own time and on their own schedule. This is why you can never get a doctor or nurse to say how near the end is. I've lost my MIL and my father in the last two years (my father with Alzheimer). The books they give you are generalizations and don't really tell you how long each sign might last, whether hours, or days. My MIL was started on morphine to help with pain and never became conscious again. She died about 5 days later. She had been eating/drinking up to the day they started the morphine. My father suffered complications, a UTI which went septic, pneumonia and c-diff infection from all the antibiotics for the septacemia. He went three weeks with out food other than a spoonful every now and then but was on a intravenous drip for antibiotics and this also helped with hydration. I was told a person can live about 3 weeks without food. He was started on morphine after the three weeks as he had fluid in his airways from the water he had drank and was having great trouble breathing and as a result ery anxious and uncomfortable but was more conscious than my MIL was while on the morphine (though he could not talk), he died about five days after the start of the morphine as well, but as I said had not eaten in over three weeks by this time.

It seems that if they start morphine when end of life is already near, that it will be a matter of days, but no one knows for sure. The person may have things to resolve in their own minds and seems to wait until they are ready, then they take their final breath and if you are there you will take it with them. It is so hard, but somehow you will find the strength to get through this.

I felt so sad reading your post knowing how you are feeling. My thoughts are with you and your family.

You can tell if an AD patient (awake or not) is in pain by their facial expressions, movements in their body, if you touch them it depends on their response.

I just had a favourite darling pass away, in the end he was on a morphine pump, but it was enough to make him pain free, as long as we didn't touch his arm (he had an embolism that had cut off circulation, therefore the limb was dying on him, one of the most PAINFUL things to happen to you). He could no longer talk to us, eat, drink or take medications, but we could tell. And yes, we would say "Are you in pain?" and sometimes he would squeeze both eyes together tightly, and (because we knew him well) we knew that was him saying 'yes' and we could give him breakthrough pain relief.

Hang in there, I hope the end isn't far away for everybody's sake.