Mommy I broke my Back!!


Vic as a young Mommy!

Vic has had an absolutely amazing week.  Her pain has been beautifully controlled.  We have had severe bouts of vomiting and cramping but compared to a month ago – it was a walk in the park!

The Jurnista is definitely working!  I have an appointment with Prof Froehlich on Tuesday, the 14th of August, and she will then give me feedback on Hospice.  I was completely prepared to tell her I don’t need Hospice on any level anymore.  Vic’s pain is so well under control that I can handle her care with no assistance or problems at all.

My baby sister (she is only 55 years old) Lorraine, spent some time with us over the long weekend in-between umpiring at the South African National Netball Tournament.  She was amazed at how well Vic looked.  (Remember she last saw Vic when she fell at the end of June).  Vic has been amazing.  This week she has been far more mobile.  She started thinking (arguing) about driving again…..  The first time in months!

This morning Vic went to breakfast with her friend Angela.  She was so excited.

Two hours later Vic literally shuffled into the house.  “Mommy I broke my back!”

My heart stopped.

On a certain level I am angry.  I am angry that Vic wasn’t more careful.  I am angry that I slipped into a false sense of security!  I am angry that the Jurnista is masking the pain so well that Vic is pushing her body’s boundaries.

Conclusion:  Vic is still a very sick little girl.  The fact that her pain is better controlled does not mean that she is well.  If any of us had spent the amount of time vomiting and cramping that she has this week we would be in bed hooked up to an IV and praying for death.  This week Vic’s amazing resilience again amazed me.  She is strong beyond comprehension!

My heart bleeds for her that her fragile body has once again failed her incredible will to live.  It is clear that she is merely holding onto life, as she knows it, with her fingertips……

I will go to the meeting with Prof Froehlich and continue my fight for Hospice to become involved.  Vic will never function on any level again.  She is confined to bed relying on medication to keep her sane.  Maybe she will have a good couple of days here or there but her sentence has not been commuted.

Pain medication – Dependence or Addiction?


Pain medication – Dependence or Addiction?.. 

 

Pain medication – Dependence or Addiction?


28 days pain medication

What are the different types of pain medication options?

Different strokes for different folk… What pain medication works for one type of pain does not work for a different type of pain.  Simple example: – Morphine does not relieve toothache or headaches….. It relieves bone pain.

Medicines can often help control chronic pain. Many different drugs, both prescription and non-prescription, are used to treat chronic pain. All these medicines can cause side effects and should be taken exactly as they are prescribed. In some cases, it may take several weeks before medicines work to reduce pain. To avoid dangerous drug interactions, tell your doctor all the medicines you are taking (including herbal and other complementary medicines).

Medication Choices

You will likely be given medicines that cause the fewest side effects first (such as acetaminophen) to treat chronic pain. The dose will be increased or the medicines will be changed as needed. Medicines used to treat chronic pain include the following:

Recommended Related to Pain Management

Other therapies that may be used to treat chronic pain include:

  • Nerve block injections. An anesthetic is injected into the affected nerve to relieve pain. The anesthetic may relieve pain for several days, but the pain often returns. Although nerve blocks do not normally cure chronic pain, they may allow you to begin physical therapy and improve your range of motion.
  • Epidural steroid injections (injecting steroids around the spine). Although these injections have been used for many years and may provide relief for low back or neck pain caused by disc disease or pinched nerves, they may not work for everyone.
  • Trigger point injections. These may relieve pain by injecting a local anesthetic into trigger points (or specific tender areas) linked to chronic fascial pain or fibromyalgia. These injections do not relieve chronic pain in everyone.http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/tc/chronic-pain-medications

Vic’s pain medication as at 4.8.2012 (Transcribed from medication received from Pain Clinic

TABLET NO OF TABLETS PER DAY
TRAMADOL 50MG 4 3 TIMES PER DAY
AUSTRELL PARACETAMOL 500MG 2 3 TIMES PER DAY
STILPAYNE 2 3 TIMES PER DAY
CYMBALTA 60 2 1 TIMES PER DAY
NEURONTIN 100MG 6 3 TIMES PER DAY
SRM RHOTARD 400MG (MORPHINE)   2 TIMES PER DAY
ELTROXIN .1MG 1 IN MORNING
BACTRIM 1 3 X PER DAY
LOSEC 20MG 1 IN MORNING
STEMITIL 5MG 1 2 TIMES PER DAY
MORPHINE SYRUP 25MG/5ML AS NEEDED
JURNISTA 4MG 1 1 TIMES PER DAY
PANAFORTE 1 2 TIMES PER DAY
DEGRONOL 2 2 TIMES PER DAY

This is scary.  The amount of opioids Vic takes would certainly kill most people.  Is Vic an addict?  Certainly not!!

Opioids work by mimicking the body’s natural painkillers known as endorphins. They control pain by blocking pain messages to the brain. Because morphine is an opioid, some people worry about becoming addicted. When you take an opioid to control pain, it is unlikely that you will become addicted. The body uses the drug to control pain, not to give you a ‘high’ http://cancerhelp.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/cancer-drugs/morphine

I read a heart rendering account of chronic pain and the fear of being treated as an addict written by Tracy Rydzy, a Licensed Social Worker.  http://ohwhatapain.wordpress.com/being-treated-like-an-addict/  Tracy writes a heart rendering blog on chronic pain and prejudge that she faces every day.  Tracy writes: “I may be on medication, but I am intelligent and I know what is going on.  Please understand that I didn’t choose this for myself.  I don’t want these damn pills, but I have no other choice right now as I have exhausted my other options for pain relief.  Don’t hold my condition against me.  I understand the pen is mightier than the sword, so I can’t even ask to change dosages, I can’t request anything different, I certainly can’t be rude in any way (regardless of how you treat me) and I can’t question you because you hold my ability to move and get out of bed in your little prescription pad.”

We are so fortunate that we have access to The Pain Clinic run by very sympathetic professionals.  We do not have a problem getting a prescription for the medication.  Our problem lies in the fact that from time to time the pharmacy of the Helen Joseph Clinic runs out of Morphine both in tablet or syrup form.  Sometimes we are able to get a private script from the Pain Clinic and other times I have to go back the next day, sit in a queue again, get the script and then get it filled privately.  Try and get 4.2 litres of morphine syrup from a pharmacy….  Sometimes I am busy and then find it easier to pay a doctor for an appointment to get a script.  We may get a script for 1 litre….

Fortunately Vic’s eldest sister is a pharmacist and we are known to the staff at that particular pharmacy.  The times we have tried to use other pharmacies (because they do not have morphine in stock) we are treated with suspicion.

“Many people confuse physical dependence, which is the occurrence of withdrawal when the drug is stopped, with addiction. Withdrawal is a physical phenomenon that means that the body has adapted to the drug in such a way that a “rebound” occurs when the drug is suddenly stopped. The kind of symptoms that occur include rapid pulse, sweating, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, runny nose, “gooseflesh,” and anxiety. All people who take opioids for a period of time can potentially have this withdrawal syndrome if the drug is stopped or the dose is suddenly lowered. This is not a problem as long as it is prevented by avoiding sudden reductions in the dose.

Physical dependence is entirely different from addiction. Addiction is defined by a loss of control over the drug, compulsive use of the drug, and continued use of the drug even if it is harming the person or others. People who become addicted often deny that they have a problem, even as they desperately try to maintain the supply of the drug.

Addiction is a “bio psychosocial” disease. This means that most people who become addicted to drugs are probably predisposed (it is in the genes) but only develop the problem if they have access to the drug and take it at a time and in a way that leaves them vulnerable. A very large experience in the treatment of patients with chronic pain indicates that the risk of addiction among people with no prior history of substance abuse who are given an opioid for pain is very low. The history of substance abuse doesn’t mean that a patient should never get an opioid for pain, but does suggest that the doctor must be very cautious when prescribing and monitoring this therapy.

People with chronic pain should understand the difference between physical dependence and addiction. Unreasonable fears about addiction should not be the reason that doctors refuse this therapy or patients refuse to take it.

Tolerance to opioid drugs occurs but is seldom a clinical problem. Tolerance means that taking the drug changes the body in such a way that the drug loses its effect over time. If the effect that is lost is a side effect, like sleepiness, tolerance is a good thing. If the effect is pain relief, tolerance is a problem. Fortunately, a very large experience indicates that most patients can reach a favorable balance between pain relief and side effects then stabilize at this dose for a long period of time. If doses need to be increased because pain returns, it is more commonly due to worsening of the painful disease than it is to tolerance. “

Vic is “embarrassed” the amount of medication she needs to take to control her pain.  She is oversensitive to the point of being paranoid about being called an addict.

Is my child an addict?  Hell no!!  Does it worry me that she needs increasing amounts of medication to handle the pain associated with the deterioration of her little body?  Hell no!!  Whatever it takes for one pain-free moment in her little life!  Tracy to you and all the other chronic pain sufferers out there – I wish you all a sympathetic doctor, nurse and pharmacist!

Vic’s final hospital visit 30.7.2012


Vic's Humerus after Five Weeks

This weekend I saw raw resentment towards me in my little girl’s eyes.

We checked into Hospital on Saturday morning at 08:00.  Vic was seriously peeved that she did not get a private room as per the doctor’s instruction.  Just to aggravate the situation the lady in the opposite bed was truly strange… She was loud and used bad language.  She kept arguing with her husband, she would tell him to make a sexual departure, he would storm out of the room and she would shout obscenities at him.

Then she started telling us about this wonderful neurosurgeon that she works for.  She and Vic ended up comparing back-op war wounds … Of course Vic won the contest hands down!  Vic then said that she had decided no more surgeries…wow!  Did this set the neighbour off!  She took the moral high-ground and started telling us that we must have faith and God will heal Vic.  Vic was in hospital because we keep asking God to heal her.  We should only ask once and then have faith…

She laid hands on Vic when I went downstairs for a cup of tea.  I would never have allowed it!!

Please don’t misunderstand me – I have nothing against religion.  Religion is important.  I do have a problem with a person who curses and swears and behaves in the most appalling manner and then think they can cure my child.  Jared said to me today “Oumie, I don’t want to be a Christian like that …”

I do not stand in judgement of anyone.  It is not for me to judge. I do have a problem with the ultra-religious people who judge others…surely that is the biggest sin?  As my friend Marlene used to say “Who died that you think you became God?”  If you are a Christian then surely you must believe that the blood of Jesus was spilt for ALL sinners and not only a select, elite group of Christians.  If you disapprove of someone’s lifestyle or actions, condemn the sin and not the person…

People who claim to be “deeply religious” have turned their backs on their loved ones because of a lifestyle choice they made.  They will not allow their own sons and daughters into their homes because they disapprove of the lifestyle choice.  Yes, our loved ones make decisions that we do not condone or support but does that give us the right to turn our backs on them because of that?  Surely love is unconditional?  Through thick and thin?

I digress… Immediately after laying hands on Vic the lady swore at her son and made a racist remark… I suppose the Jesus she proclaims only died for white South Africans…

Jared sat at hospital with us all day Saturday.  He is old enough to want to do it!  That young man adores his Mommy.  Jon-Daniel copes in a different way.  He went to a private coaching cricket lesson at the Club in the morning and then went to Nathan, his best friend.  Jon-Daniel makes Vic laugh.  Jared makes Vic coffee.

Two different boys with two different ways of coping and two different ways of expressing their love.   Yet united in their love and despair for their mother.

Vic ended up going into theatre just before 19:00 Saturday night…she was starving!!  Poor little poppet!  I was really annoyed that we had to wait from 10:00 to 19:00 to see the inside of the theatre.  HOWEVER, this is where there is a twist in the tale…a second surgeon appeared in the waiting area and looked at the x-rays.  He was most impressed by the complexity of the fracture…He is a humerus specialist who has in-depth knowledge and experience with Osteogenesis Imperfecta!  I must add that he too had never had an OI patient as old as Vic.  So Vic had two specialists operating on her little arm.

By 21:15 the anaesthetist came through to tell me the operation went well and that he was sending Vic to ICU – mainly because they are petrified of the high dosages of opiates that Vic is on and how it may counteract with the medication that Vic’s on.

History was made Saturday.  A doctor wrote on Vic’s file “Mother of patient to stay with her”!  In the past doctors would make U-turns in the passages to avoid me and here is this wonderful man telling the ICU staff “This mother must stay”.  What a bright and intelligent young man he is even if he charged double medical aid rates.

Vic was however extremely angry with me because she was sent to ICU.  Vic is petrified of ICU and does not appreciate that her pain control is so much better in there than in a ward.  She cannot be given the amount of opiates that she needs, for pain control, out of ICU.

I am delighted as I told the anaesthetist that the Jurnista is new and although I did not give her one Friday night as I was scared that it may adversely affect the anaesthetic and post-op pain control.  (Thank you Google for the fact sheet).  When he said that it is better for her to go to ICU all Vic kept saying was “No Mommy, No Mommy!”  She cried.  I saw the resentment in her dark, sad eyes when she looked at me.

Image
Vic’s Humerus Pinned and Fixed

For once I did not care.  I love my child and I will do anything and everything to spare her pain.

I have to find out which anaesthetic they used.  The last two procedures at the Union resulted in terrible aggression in Vic.  Vicky is normally a meek and mild little soul but boy, did she rip into me and her ICU sister.  She told me exactly what she did and did not think of me.  It was a horrific experience.  I hope and pray that it was the anaesthetic and not actual resentment towards me that triggered her hate speech.

Vic ended up spending 2.5 days in ICU.  I never left her side but to go shower at home and take Jared to the urologist this morning.  The ICU at a standard hospital is actually not equipped to handle someone as ill as Vic and in such a pain control programme.  I also think they were too scared to be left alone with her after the tongue-lashing she gave them whilst I was showering on Sunday morning.

Well this is now behind us.  We will hope and pray that the sepsis in Vic’s abdomen and spine will not attack the pins in her arm.  That Vicky will get better and enjoy some Jurnista quality of life!

I want to blog on ICU’s and what we subject our loved ones to next.  I am just too tired and emotionally drained to even attempt it today.

Vic Update 29.7.2012


Vic finally went to theatre on Saturday evening for an “emergency” operation. The arm was pinned. It is a long story that I will share once Vic is out of ICU.

She is doing well. Pain control as always was a major issue but is now under control again.

I have decided that Jurnista is a wonder drug.

Tomorrow Vic will go back to the ward.

Now we start worrying about the sepsis spreading from the septic spine and abdomen to the virgin arm.