Discussions that mention morphine

Pain Management board

Hi ya'll. It's been the most awful week I've had in a while. Both physically and mentally exahusting. Here comes a LONG post. I need your help, prayers and thoughts. I wasn't sure whether to post this on the addiction boards or not, but I felt it more appropriate here, because I believe my brother is having a reaction to pain meds.

As some of you may remember my brother had a hip replacement on Tuesday. Well, he's not done so well.

He was on a PCA (patient controlled anesthesia) pump with morphine in it, and on Wed. I received a phone call on my cell phone from the nurse, asking if I thought my brother "drank". I indicated to her that I felt that he wasn't anything more than a social drinker. I told them I would be right to the hospital.

I got there, and he was itiching so bad. They changed his "itchy" meds from benedryl to Attarax(sp?). When my mom had her hip and knee replaced (by the same doc BTW), she had a very similar story to what I am getting ready to tell you.

The doc decided to leave him on the PCA morphine, and would remove the cathether and PCA on Thur. and he was scheduled to go home on Friday. (yesterday). At night he's had trouble sleeping, and because he's NEVER been in the hospital (he's 49), he was/is very anxious. I left the hosp. at 9:30 pm on Wed. night, and he was doing so/so. When I called on Thursday am to check on he, HE WAS A NEW MAN. At 6 am, they had removed his cathether, and PCA pump, and WOWEEE!!! He sounded strong, was walking on his own, etc. I spent some time with him on Thurs. chatting, and he was FINE!!!! I left that day, because I think he thought I was "hovering" over him. He's a bachelor, and said he had to learn to do things for himself. He lives in AL, and will go to my moms house here in town for recovery.

Yesterday very early morning, I got a frantic phone call to go to hosp. ASAP. I arrived, and my brother was in restraints, and they are now sedating him with Ativan, Valium, AND Librium. They say that they are concerned of his "agitated state", and his hand "tremors". He has ALWAYS had some sort of hand shakes, though not sure why. They have asked someone to stay with him 24/7 and I spoke to the Head Nurse and it appears they are giving him these meds because they feel he is in WD's from Alcohol. ??? :confused:

Because I have another brother who has died of chirossis in 1985, and one who is literally at death's door (age 54), I guess it's possible. But I would not have guessed it with this brother. I know it can be heridetary.

Yesterday he was in and out of lucid moments. Saying CRAZY stuff. Mostly confusion about where he was, and what he needed to do, etc. Of course after they gave him those (to me what I consider) high power meds, he was OUT of it. He slept on and off for most of the day. Later, he woke, and was very lucid, and we had some great convo's.

Now to my question: IS it possible that this is all a reaction to the meds. He's never taken anything like morphine, percocet, never mind the ativan, valium, and librium!! He does have high BP, but other than that, pretty solid guy!! Like I said, my mother had a similar reaction to pain meds, and she's NEVER taken a drink in her life.

I just can't face the thought of yet another brother with these problems. I think I NEED for this to be a reaction to the pain meds...., ya know.

I'm hoping he had a decent night last night, and will go home today. I will know in a bit. They said if it IS alcohol WD's it will only last 1-2 days, then he will be "fine". He won't remember it...blah, blah, blah.

They are having someone come in to discuss what he's "been through", and make some recommendations, but I swear guys, I think it's a med reaction.

Sorry for the long read. I'm just at such a loss. If nothing else...please PRAY, and LOUD. My other bro. is not doing well at all right now. It just sucks!!


[COLOR="Blue"]~!~ Becky ~!~
Becky, I'm so sorry your brother is having such a rough time. I will say some extra prayers for him, and for you too.

I can not take Morphine sulfate at all! I have a different reaction (hammering headache and vomiting), but I have heard of the itching and so on, from others who have an allergy to it.

I don't mean to pry, but did you ask your brother, while he was lucid, about drinking? I'm sure it can't be an easy thing to do. I have a friend who was a very convincing functioning alcoholic for 15 years. Few people ever realized he was so bad, because he covered himself so well. It wasn't till he began to have serious medical issues (liver, kidneys, etc.) that it all came out in the open. I know it's the last thing you want to think about right now, but it makes me wonder about why the hospital staff were so quick to assume DT's. Maybe he said something when he wasn't lucid that caused a red flag, so to speak.

I wish I could be there to give you a great big hug. I know you have had some really bad pain yourself and this can't be helping that either. If there is anything I can do, please don't hesitate to ask. I'll be checking on and off today. (Slowly coming back to my old self) Hang in there, my friend, and keep us posted, OK? God bless and I am sending cyber hugs and lifting you and your brother up as high as I can. CMP/MM (((((Becky and family)))))
The other option is to go to his house and do some minor probing....Kitchen, den, or whatever, and see if you can find some alcohol. If you don't....Or there is a minor amount, chances are he doesn't drink. Conversely, alcoholics are usually well stashed.

Good luck.


This is exactly what I would do. Go thru the trash, look thru his closets, vehicle, wallet for receipts, etc. and you will have your answer. I know it is an invasion of his privacy but you need to do it to find out.

Personally I suspect it is the meds. Have they changed his meds from the morphine? I can't take morphine. I had a very bad reaction at 17 when I had my first back surgery. I ended up vomiting blood, thrashing, hullicinating, and they finally had to sedate me and put in stomach drains, etc. I have been told to NEVER take morphine again. So I would definitely not rule it out but as hard as it may be -- I would make an excuse to go to his place and snoop a little. Remember you are a loving sister who cares.

Wow! I think we all need to pray again at 6:00 because this board has had so much pain and suffering this week.
UPDATE: Another long read! Soo Sorry! :(

My brother has be released to come home late Saturday. He is staying at my mom's house here in town.

I'm still not convinced that he has a problem (at least one of any type of severity) with alcohol. I had my hubbs speak with him regarding his hand tremors. He indicated that the tremors started after one of the medications (don't know which one) that his PCP gave him for his High BP. His doc indicated at that time they could change to another med, but it would "affect his sex life" and Brother simply stated, he'd "just put up with the shakes"!

On Saturday, upon being released, he had my hubbs go to his SUV to look for his computer, which we all knew was in my other sister's car, but it gave my hubbs a reason to search his vehicle high and low for any signs of beer or other alcohol. He found NOTHING. NADA, ZERO, ZILCH! Not a drop. And he looked everywhere, under seats, in his suitcase, in his console, everwhere one might hide a bottle or a beer. None was found. In my minds eye, if he were "jonesing" there would at least be "something" hidden. He also did a once over in the room he's staying in at my mom's and found nothing.

My brother lives in Alabama, so it's not so easy to just run over to his apartment and do a "snoop job" for signs of alcholol.

I'm more inclined to believe it was a reaction to the pain meds, (maybe because at this time I just NEED to believe that) and then to the benzos that they gave him to off-set the "shakes". I think this will be very easy to veryfiy with his prescribing doc to see if this is indeed the case.

My brother did admit, that he got "ugly" with the Wed. evening nurse, and she was the one who had him restrained, and started him on the Ativan, Valium, and Librium. While he was on those medications, he was "out of his mind", talking crazy stuff. Once they got him out of the restraints, he settled WAY down, and became more like the brother I know. Once they stopped the valium, and ativan, the crazy talking stopped as well.

I know I've said it before, but my mother who has never taken a drink in her life, EVER, had a similiar reaction to these types of medications, and even myself, when I had my two level fusion, was saying some WEIRD stuff, and when I noticed my hubbs and daughter laughing at the things I was saying, I would get uber angry for laughing at me. And I was "tolerant" to the level of narcotics that they were giving me.

My brother has never taken anything stronger than a tylenol for a headache, and his BP medications. So, whether it's that I just can't fathom the thought of yet another brother traveling down this dangerous and unpredictable road of alcoholism, and having lost one to chirossis of the liver, and one very near death (he was just served eviction papers on Friday and is now homeless :( and will NOT admit to his disease process, nor let anyone help) is just more than I can bear!

Now that this particular brother is off of the benzos and morphine, he's lucid, and is quite aware of what is going on around him. His pain medication for the hip replacement is Percocet (though I don't know what the strength is) and he is not demonstrating any type of bizarre behavior from that med. He is not in near the amount of pain that he was in PRIOR to the surgery. He says it is a different kind of pain, (surgical pain). His pain prior to the surgery was bone on bone, and had been in pain for 5 years, and he had a very strenuous physical job where he had to walk miles a day in order to do his job. He was a railroad inspector, and had to inspect the rails. His job suggested that they put him on disability for 6 months so he can draw a full check for those six months, but in all likely hood he will not be able to go back to that kind of work. His doc (ortho) has said, IF he does go back to his job, his hip will last AT MOSt 5 years, due to the amoutn of walking and climbing he has to do. So, in 6 months, he is probably going to put in for his retirement. He's been with the company for over 28 yrs. So he will be able to draw full benefits from what I understand.

He's only 2 years older than me...will be 50 in October. I consider that young. He's considering going back to working for Special Olympics when he retires. He was a Director for our Area Special Olympics many years, way back in the day.

Please keep him in your prayers. Like I said, I'm still not convinced, but I think it's because I have this need to protect him, and want to insure that NOT another brother is going to go down that terrible path that my other two have traveled.

My hubbs was somewhat convinced by what he had to say, and after literally tossing about his SUV, and finding NO evidence of alcohol in his SUV, he doubts that IF he were an alcholic, there would be SOMETHING hidden somewhere. He can't drive for weeks. And with him living in Alabama, and his not being able to get there to snoop about his apt, as you all have suggested. You'd think he'd have a stash hidden somewhere HERE to get him by, at least till he could get home.

My hubbs is leaving tomorrow to go on another trip, and I'm so tempted to go with him, just to get away for 4 days, if nothing eles but to lay around the pool and play in the casino. I am in need of a break BIG TIme!! But I would feel terrible IF (god forbid) something happened!

I'm a big ball of mess, and it seems all I can do these last few days is cry!
:( I'm worn our emotionally, and physically from lack of sleep because I lay there worrying.

Continued Prayers are appreciated. Love you guys.!!!

Thanks for being there for me!

[COLOR="Blue"]~!~ Becky ~!~


I think it was EX that asked, my brother is not married, and lives alone in Alabama. So there is no one to ask. The girl he is dating lives in Georgia.


Brother also did mention that as soon as he was able to drive he was going to see the hospital administrator to file a complaint against the nurse who treated him so badly, and who put him in the restraints, and adminstered the librium, ativan, and valium. So maybe something will come of that. I told him he should call the hospital admin, as I'm not sure how lown it will be before he is able to drive. Guess we will see!!! :confused: