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Vicodin

Hi all,

Been reading your posts....and been saying WOW!  My mom takes 7.5 mg vicodin every 4 hours around the clock, and more if she can get her hands on it....she is a new dialysis patient, has chronic neck pain (degeneration), and just this week she entered a nursing home for rehabilitation (our suggestion).

Long story short, she is 70, a recovered alcoholic (dry 15 yrs.) and during that time she also had been addicted to prescription drugs (vicodin, librium).  Started dialysis in May 2008, staph infection June 2008, C-diff June 2008, heart attack end of June 2008.  Mom is in CONSTANT pain, drs. test and test and find nothing new....during May, June she's made multiple ER visits, driven herself or called an ambulance, and DEMANDS injections (dilaudid) with her vicodin  she takes.  She ends up getting it.....today she went by ambulance from the nursing home, and she got morphine for the first time.

My 3 siblings and I are involved, and can't get the drs. to see an addiction....Mom even asked my sister in law to go get pills from her home and bring them to the nursing home(she didn't).  When we asked her about this, she said the pills were for "situations" she ran into.  One of her hospitalizations she had her own vicodin, and took it along with the 7.5 every 4 hours the hospital was giving her.  We didn't find out about it until after her discharge from the hospital.  

What the heck do we do???  We are desperately trying to help her....she goes from one "pain" to another, denies she even had a heart attack (although she had a stent put in for blockage).  Can we help her when she denies the vicondin and other drugs are a problem?  Or do we have to wait for her to realize this?  We all want our mom back so bad.

A Loving Daughter
9 Responses
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536882 tn?1225512859
To address your  question (sorry), You can't do anything about the situation.  If she truly has relapsed and is again addicted, she has to realize this for herself.  The only thing you can do is not encourage her addictive behavior (ie the bringing extra pills in without nurses knowing, allowing her to call 911 when it's not a true emergency, demanding IV medication when oral meds will work etc.)  Those things you can do something about.  But if she has relapsed, unfortunately she has to realize this....and want to quit.  I wish you the best.
Helpful - 0
536882 tn?1225512859
Pain is a very subjective symptom.  Sometimes doctors can find a cause, and sometimes not.  Your mother has been through a lot of stuff in the last 3 months.  Having to go on dialysis alone has got to be really tough on her emotionally and physically.  She has undoubtedly lost her sense of self since she probably has been hospitalized most of the last few months.  And the fact that she has to go into a nursing home is probably devastating to her.  Just think about it, you can't wake up when you want, can't go in and get a cup of tea when you want, can't nap when you wish, have to share a bathroom sometimes, don't have any of your own furniture to enjoy....i'm sure she is having difficulty coping with all of the life changes she has endured.  Is she using the vicodin to cope????  Well, maybe?  4 a day isn't very much however.  With her chronic neck pain, and dialysis alone i'm sure she has pain.  My question to you would be, does her taking the pain medication interfere with her daily living?  If she is overmedicating, and unable to say participate in physical therapy, nodding off at meal time, etc then she's getting too much.  Another thing to consider is that many medications are dialized out of the body during dialysis.  You should ask if her pain medication is one of them.  If so, see if she can get on something that isn't removed with dialysis.

At her age, it is only fair to allow her to live as pain free as possible and still allow her to maintain a sense of self-care.  She should be allowed to take enough medication to be able to do as much for herself as she can.  If you are concerned for her safety because of her drug use, definitely address it-with her and the MD.  She may be adding her own extra meds because her pain is not well controlled?  Once she gets home, have someone put her pills into a weekly dispenser and don't leave large quantities for her. But leave enough that she doesn't suffer.  Just because she has a history of addiction doesn't mean she isn't in pain.  Nobody should suffer in pain, but you are a good daughter to be concerned about that.  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi, I'm sorry that you feel that you're losing your mom and are wanting her back.  I have to say I understand that as I'm a nurse and work in a nursing home as well. I'm very sorry to hear that your mother has that type of addiction to deal with, but  I just wanted to add that the points worried made are very much the truth.  With her need for dialysis, her body is already working against her.  With that much of a tolerance she already obviously has, her age, and health conditions, I don't think it would be a good thing for her to go through that type of withdrawl.  Physically or mentally.  If the drs. truly havent seen her addiction, they will see that once she is in the nursing home.  However, with her health conditions pain (her neck, general aging, effects of dialysis) pain is to be expected and maybe a bit more if they are doing therapy with her.  I don't doubt that she has pain, and probably having a hard time dealing with it because of her tolerance to the meds.  However, in that type of a facility and 24 hour a day care once they see it I would hope (cause they should) get her on something more effective for her so she isn't taking something every 4 hours.  If she is truly having emotional needs for the pills then they should also check into getting her on something to assist with that as well.  I don't think a pill free mom is what you will be able to get back at this stage, but I do hope and thing you maybe able to have your moms situation in better control.  Best wishes for you and your family
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Ok...I am going to agree even though it sounds out there....but I think you are right.

Daughter...I know it's not the answer you wanted or probably expected....but if it were my mother I would let it go... but we are all different and she is going to have to be the one to want the change. I understand wanting her back.

Your family will be in my prayers.....glad you posted and feel free to post here anytime there is lots of info, friends and support.

JoAnn
Helpful - 0
401095 tn?1351391770
k...thanks for the support gtm...going out on a limb is hard sometimes... there are just alot more angles to look at i guess...never that addiction is good...but in some cases it is the better of the alternative
Helpful - 0
352798 tn?1399298154
Thanks worried for your input. I was feeling that too.
Helpful - 0
401095 tn?1351391770
Being a nurse and dealing with the elderly...i would probably let it go...dialysis...it is a really depressing way to to live ur last years here on earth///my first job was in dialysis and it was so deprssing it was difficult for even me to handle and now i work with cancer patients as a norm...but that is me and u r u....sometimes quality of life is just the goal to end life peacefully....i see so much suffering and call me crazy...but i would let it go
Helpful - 0
352798 tn?1399298154
Regardless of age, it is up to the person taking it to realize they have a problem. The first and hardest step is admitting it. I would try again to get her Dr aware of what you have found. (Like the extra pills in the hospital). Addiction knows no boundaries. All ages, all walks of life. At her age and problems, there may be nothing the Dr will want to do.
Helpful - 0
175734 tn?1225134440
That really is bad.....It must be hard to tell someone at her age what to do.....It's like you start off as a baby and you end as a baby.

I know doctors just give my grandfather tons of med's....not cause they dont care....but why have someone at that age feel bad or be in pain.....

I hope this works out for you..
Helpful - 0
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