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Morphine.. what to expect when my mom starts to use it??
Shinny75
6 Posts

Hey there….

My mom has been using tylenol extra strength for pain management..
Recently she has said that the tylenol is not working like it used to.
I suggested to start using the morphine that was prescribed to her.

And she has been soooooooo resistant to taking it..
She doesn't want to get addicted and she doesn't want to sleep all day because of it.

I've told her to maybe just start off with a ¼ of a tablet and see how that works.

I was wondering how does morphine make you feel with your pain and the sleepiness and maybe wooziness… I've never used it before myself so I can't relate to how it makes my mom feel.

13 Replies
ACH2015
2147 Posts

Hi @Shinny75 I have been on several pain meds including morphine. The key is to take the meds before the pain reaches a 10 out of 10 - or worse. My homecare nurse told me to take the meds as prescribed at the lowest dose possible. If you get into a rhythm the pain is managed well, and you won't feel disoriented, sleepy etc.. If you are taking too much, it is as bad as not taking enough. Staving off pain means paying attention to signs of oncoming pain. If it's already bad, its too late and larg doses of meds won't really help. Using the lowest dose is the best way to start. Dulling the pain to a point where you can function normally is the best way to do so. Driving, or using machinery is best not done until you get a feel for the drugs.

this link https://www.drugs.com/morphine.html talks about uses, precautions and possible side effects. Also…. its a good idea to talk to the doctor that is providing the R/X to look at your mom's situation and see if she may be predisposed to any side effects.

You won't get hooked on any medication by taking it at the lowest dose and working up as and when needed.

Hope this helps.

Keep well.

ACH2015

Boby1511
595 Posts

@Shinny75

hi there. Sorry to meet you here.

My docs always tell me that if you have legit pain and taking pain meds because of it you really shouldn't get addicted.

Pain itself brings health issues. Too much stress on the body. You shouldn't leave yourself suffering.

Morphine, did this one, brings constipation! Bad constipation for me. And made me nauseous. I really didn't have a tolerance. Consider getting some restrolax if she runs into issues, after you discuss with her doctors. I'm daily with the restrolax, its relatively harmless.

I switched to Tramadol, its a milder opioid and less addicting. Perhaps ask her docs. I found the Tramadol works well enough. You can always go up to the morphine if the Tramadol isn't enough.

It is also true that staying ahead of pain is easier than catching up to it. I would take the meds at the earliest sign if you don't want to take them every 4 hours.

My biggest worry has always been built up tolerance. The more you take the more you will need eventually to do the same job. Which means when the big pain comes the meds may not be enough.

Hoping you mom gets some needed relief.

@Shinny75 my husband has been taking morphine for the past couple of months post surgery. He goes about his regular day within the limits of his healing and is not out of it at all. He takes the minimum suggested dosage and he chats and functions normally. Rather the opposite if he goes too long without meds and the pain gets on top of him (he gets very uncomfortable and antsy). He’s used it several times before with other surgeries and has never had an issue weaning off when the time came to transition away from the meds. I hope our messages of positive experiences will help eliminate your Mum’s reluctance so she can get some relief from her pain. Hugs 🤗

Kuching
329 Posts

@Shinny75 My husband was on various opioids, including morphine, for pancreatic cancer. He started off on too strong a dose, and it caused hallucinations, so yes, as others have said, start small! On the other hand, don’t “chase the pain”. Stay ahead if it. Try and find a level at which she is comfortable - it may take a while.

Also, I would still use the Tylenol as well, because there is some evidence that a combination of the two works better than either one alone. Probably best to talk to her doctor about when to take what. For instance, my husband was on slow-release morphine, with Tylenol for “break-through” pain.

Good luck, and let us know how it’s going.

Shinny75
6 Posts

Tku Boby!

Shinny75
6 Posts

Tks for that.. I will pass on these messages to my mom.
I told her I was receiving some good feed back on the morphine but she is reluctant to hear it… I wonder to myself, WHY? doesnt she want to hear any options to ease her pain???
But Tks.. I will try and read these out to her again.

Shinny75
6 Posts

Tku Kuching!!

@Shinny75

Like @Kuching my wife died of pancreatic cancer and was on morphine to manage the pain. She had issues with addiction but in the context of life expectancy, morphine addiction really wasn't an issue. Pain management was. Ultimately her liver quit metabolizing the morphine and the build up in her body lead to some really wonderful hallucinations. But I lost my wife. Her move to hospice put her on fentanyl and I got my wife back for those final days. Quite a gift.

I guess I would like to step back though and suggest a look at this thread. https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewtopic/68/69232 Managing serious illness as a caregiver requires “Walking two roads.” Continuing to hope for the best is important but planning for the rest is important.

As a Stage 4 cancer patient myself, I know how important hope is. I have seen your other post on sleeping discomfort though and I sense that the big picture is pretty grim. Broken bones often presage a steady decline that is difficult to reverse. This is discussion to have with the palliative team that surely must be engaged at this point. What is the big picture? What is the road map? What does your mother want this time to look like? I love the term “tender conversations." These are hard conversations to have but they are important.

Thanks for reaching out and allowing us to be part of your journey with this illness and with your mother.

Stay in touch.

Angus

law1
584 Posts

Welcome @Shinny75

You have written to a group of wonderfully supportive, intelligent, and a fun group of folks touched by cancer. This website is a real cross-section of ideas, reference, caregiving topics and all things dealing with the cancer world.

Regarding morphine and pain management….it is strongly advised taking a prescription like morphine before your pain begins…..otherwise, drugs cannot catchup to the pain in time. And, oncologists are aware of the dosage so as to avoid your possible addiction. I was grateful for my supply during my hideous tongue blisters and pain when fighting tongue cancer. Addiction was not part of the equation because the Rx is carefully reviewed by the doctor and pharmacist.

You are not taking tainted dangerous street drugs, you are closely monitored. Often opiates can hinder one's appetite, and invite irregular bowel movements---keep a log to discuss issues with your oncologist.

Good Luck!!!

Boby1511
595 Posts

@Shinny75

Perhaps part of the reluctance comes from fear. Its hard to deny you sick when you have to take drugs everyday.

But pain needs to be managed. And there are lots of options. You need to know what will work for you and sometimes that takes a bit of playing around with the medications.

Doctors have limits, they needs us to tell them whats working and not working.

I swear by the Tramadol. Its a synthetic opioid so less addicting. I find its still effective. I was on morphine and extra strength tylenol in the hospital and begging for meds every 4 hours. (any more and you can overdose). I find Tramadol does better for me. No nausea and I can still poop! Opioids can bring constipation.

She needs to find the option that works for her. My roomie in the hospital stage 4 with bone mets swore by perks. Never tried those.

I hope you mom finds some relief soon. Happy that she has you looking out for her.

Hugs.

Shinny75
6 Posts

Hi Angus.. Tku for the time you took to reply.. I will let you know how it goes with my mom…
There is no palliative team in place yet.. She has a CAT scan October 25 and from there we will see how the Chemo worked..

I went into sleep country today and they have be frames that incline!!!! There is hope there.. I mentioned it to my mom BUT she is such a bad place, she doesn't seem to react to anything positive to help her situation.. It is cause she is in denial still……

((sigh))

Boby1511
595 Posts

@Shinny75

Palliative care is actually really great. The doctors have more time for their patients than oncologists. They are pain/symptom management experts.

They are very responsive. Just pick up the phone, they answer or get right back to you. Same day service.

Perhaps you could request this on behalf of your mother? She can talk to them. They will do an in person meeting to assesses. (You will discuss quality/quantity of life, what you want from treatment).

My palliative doctor is great. Very nice lady. We meet once a month to chat.

Its not hospice care, which is quite a bit scarier and not for everyone. I personally plan to never go there.

Perhaps she could also ask for a mood drug… something to relax her a little. There is no need to suffer. My heart goes out to your mom, it sounds like she is struggling.

Take care of you both.

Oh there are some nice incline adjustable beds available online. Some are reasonably priced. Those foam mattress places have some. They are not bad. (Not sure if I should name the store. there are a couple of them anyway).

Boby1511
595 Posts

@Shinny75

Just to clarify.

With palliative care - you keep your oncologist/radiologist. Its just another doctor/nurse gets added to your team. I still had treatment after being in palliative care.

They also coordinate your care - so if you need home care for any reason, this will go thru them. It just tidies stuff up.

I also have kept both my surgeons.

Plus if you happen to need an expert in another field - they make the referral.

As well, if you do have some stuff come up faster than your next oncologist apt or scan or whatever, your palliative doc can make these things happen faster.

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