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He said it was to help slow her breathing and help expel carbon monoxide from her lungs and body. She has end stage emphysema - when she had pain in her chest he put her on morphine - is this the only medication to treat it...she is now having trouble finishing sentences and is loopy and wobbly ... I'm afraid it is too high a dose ...she is 75 and quit smoking too late but did quit in her late 50s

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Is she on Hospice? I would think that the medication is to treat her pain and to make her more comfortable. I wouldn't be concerned about her speech if she was comfortable. And can't she just rest and get up only with assistance?

I'm not familiar with this condition. Perhaps someone who is will post.
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I can relate to your uneasiness and concern. Yet, I echo what Sunnygirl1 says, and feel the main thing is her comfort at this very difficult time.

Grace + Peace,
Bob
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Is it a continuous flow of morphine? Is she in hospice? Does she become agitated when morphine wears off or is given another dose? The answers to these questions will help provide some insight as to what the doctors plan is. Did he say for what time period it was. Is she mobile? Was she mobile before the morphine?
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In addition to the important questions others asked here, I'm concerned about whether your mother is in a situation where other people are with her 24/7 in case she falls. The doctor should let you know whether the increased dosage of morphine is to treat her disease or for palliative care, such as hospice. Hospice claims that it prescribes morphine only to relieve pain. From my hospice experiences with two people in my family, I believe this may not be the case. However, I'm relieved that they did not suffer longer than they did. I suggest that before contacting the doctor, you may want to contact hospice to learn more about whether you would chose its services.
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If you think it's problematic in terms of her ability to function, you could request that the doctor reduce the dose to see how she does. It's very unusual for doctors these days to over-prescribe pain meds; it's usually the opposite problem where they don't want to prescribe them at all and the patients are suffering.
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Trust them. Rather there be pain? Morphine will calm your mom too. Went through the same feelings with my wife and morphine. They give it for a reason. Don't put your feelings for the drug into the equation. Think no pain for your mom.
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Curiosity had me googling this as the use of opiates is something that comes up on the site fairly often. There are several sites that quote studies of the benefits of morphine to relieve laboured breathing and air hunger in COPD even when the patient is not yet on hospice. I found a good blog "Five Things to Know About a Possible Option for Really Bad COPD" that is an easy read.
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Oh, important--try Senna. Pooping gets difficult with opiates.
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Morphine WILL make her tired and "loopy"..it will also make her breathing less painful. End stage COPD is horrible. The fight for every breath....poor thing.

I agree, drs are being so stingy with pain meds that they are finding that people are just living with unbearable, yet treatable pain now. Trust the dr. Ask more questions, we aren't getting enough info from you to really make any helpful comments.
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there could never be enough morphine if you are pain and dying
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Wow! I am hesitant to chime in, but do make your concern known to as many doctors as are involved. Over a period of two years I have seen my husband with severe COPD go from sleeping 22 hours a day, shallow breathing, with an unresponsive episode, to being alert, walking with a walker, and even using a tablet to look up info. on the internet. Along the way he broke hip, survived surgery against the odds, and recovered from three weeks in the hospital with pneumonia. His up side has lasted eleven months now. And it all started when a young doc in the emergency room said lets get him off the morphine and see what happens. A miracle? Maybe. I tend to think that the fall from being on the morphine was a painful blessing in disguise. But, I do not know the details of your situation. I do encourage everyone to keep asking. Someone might listen.
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It is hard watching your Mom go through the final stages of life with this dis ease. I have been there, and has the same thoughts. I gave her less morphine and tried to keep her as aware as possible, but as she got less and less oxygen to her brain, and things shut down, it gets harder and the pain gets extreme...morphine keeps them comfortable and peaceful.
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I would just give it more time. The benefits most likely out weigh the other things. She will get use to it once she takes awhile, and it is built up in her system. If your still uncomfortable with it in another week then asking for it to be reduced sounds like a good idea. Prayers for your mom;-)
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I would think the doctor would know what he's doing, not that you shouldn't question him, for sure! He could explain why he recommends it, if you do ask. I know it's a terribly difficult thing. My father died of lung cancer and sort of went into a coma near the end. His breathing sounded labored and bad, and we asked the doctor if this was normal. He said it was, and he took quite a bit of time to explain the dying process to us... (I only hope when it is my turn to go, they anesthesize ME very well indeed, I will probably be alone - I certainly don't want to be alert and die in labored pain!)...Bless you and your mom, I wish you both well.
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First how much morphine and by what route as others have asked. pill, injection subcut, or continuous subcut.
Second. how much does she weigh and has she been on morphine for some time. third... you are worried, but why.. is it because its morphine ??? or what its doing to her
I used to do palliative and long term care for a few years.
Morphine is great stuff, and forget the movies where its used to knock folk off, it has many uses
1. it relaxes the breathing muscles including the bronchii, which means instead of needing a steam engine to get the air out, it will fall out with just a tricycle of effort, by opening them.. it relaxes the skeletal muscles used for breathing, hence it will allow her to drop her shoulders, let her straighten up, and get some sleep
2. it will sedate her but usually after a week most patients get used to it and start waking up for longer spells
3 if she has cardiac problems to go along with her COPD then it also relaxes the main branch supply vessels and eases the work of the poor pump.
so yes that is why morphine in a dose that is tolerated is given.
the bad things are constipation as mentioned.. giving too much and going from relaxing to reducing respiratory action.
then the usual nausea, vomiting and confusion.... they are controlled by reduction in amount etc
I was often horrified how relatives would scream what on morphine when we started it.. they thought I was about to knock off their relative there and then.. and so much time was wasted in explaining that it has it uses. as well as its abuses.!!!
so work out what your worry is all about, and go from there
Now 95% of the COPD cases Ive cared for in their final months would all say, relieve my breathing. they have no QOL they have no interests as its a case of them focusing on their breathing both in and out........ not a life at all. So put aside your fears/worries....... and look at your mother, is she better for it.
Were you concerned when she smoked with the 35 chemicals that were all killers??
Morphine wont cure her, but it will make her days better
I , BTW am highly allergic to the stuff, so not selling it as such only the idea that it can help
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Both my father and brother died from complications of COPD and its so hard to see a loved one having trouble with breathing. My brother was in hospice and my father died in the hospital before entering hospice. When ever you have concerns you should be able to address the hospice and DR that you feel uneasy about your mom being over medication with the morphine. Of course the increase of such a drug will cause these side effects and why are they increasing and your concerns about how unsteady and somewhat incoherent your loved one is. I am not aware of your whole situation but I do wish you all the luck.
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I would voice my concern, but than my preference would be to take non addictive pain killers since they dont mess with mental capacity...since i dont know if non addictive pain killers would evan help her.. .i would tell the doctor....please only use when necessary at mimimoum quantity possible...one after an opration, my mom was afraid the boogie man would get her...it was kind of funny but i told the nurse...if possible no more strong pain killers if possible...i understand your concern...
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Mariamaria--
This is end-stage COPD we're talking about. Addiction isn't a worry. Keeping the patient comfortable is all they're doing. BTW, My SIL hallucinates on 200 mgs of IBUPROFEN, so everyone's ability to stand drugs is very, very different.

We hear "morphine" and freak out--it's a terrific drug at doing to do what it's meant. All my daddy "ate" the last week of his life was two cherry popsicles and constant morphine drops. Thank goodness he was out of pain, is all I can say.
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I seem to have a different opinion than the others. My husband was in the end stage of prostate cancer and was in the hospital. One day when I returned to his room, he remarked, "They want to put me on morphine!" ( as if there's no way they are going to do that to me.) A few days later his condition started going more downhill, yet I still never recall his saying he was in pain. That night they wanted to send him to hospice, although I wasn't ready for that. My husband could speak some and could sit up somewhat and was somewhat coherent. That night at hospice the nurse gave him morphine "to help with his breathing". Not too long after the morphine, my husband's demeanor changed completely. He became almost comatose, stared at the ceiling, didn't talk or move, just laid there on the hospice bed like a mummy. He passed away early the next morning. My suspicion was hospice wanted to help him along with his dying process. I definitely feel that was their intention in giving him morphine. Comments?
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Sorry i did not know the situation....wishing u the best
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Sdnbishou, sorry to hear abiut your husband
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You needed to call her doctor. I would think, like other meds, it depends on the person and what they can tolerate.
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Doctors do expect you to tell them that you think the dose is too high and she is getting loopy or cannot walk well enough. The dose tolerance varies for individuals, and there is no set dose for a weight or age. Its always a matter of trying to strike a balance between benefit and side effects.
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Sdnbishop. I am sorry that the death of your husband has left you with doubts. I will not stand up for the hospice. but can only say from the experiences I have observed and played a part in, that would be unusual
I do know that a person can be chatting really weill with the reles that have just got in from overseas, and much hilarity and 'life' happening in the room.. then family decide to go for a meal, the person has a rest, and wham bam, go in to see that all is OK, to find them in their final breaths, and semi comatose. In one case the family had reunited that afternoon, so since everything seemed great they went out to a restaurant for dinner. I called the daughter about 7pm to say Hey dad isnt so great but could come out of it he might just be very exhausted.. then call them at 8.10 to say sorry but he has passed away. So they all trooped back up to the hospital. I can say that he wasnt given anything I was the only RN on and I had the keys to the medicine cabinet.
For those with breathing problems like increased phlegm. tightness then its 2-5mg depending on size of patient.
Did you meet with the team after to voice your concerns, and maybe get an explanation as to why that nurse gave it , and exactly how much.
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Any morphine can send an elder into bad hallucinations.
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I did meet with the Social Worker from hospice who is the one who spoke with me first about my husband's being transferred. She basically said I need to take it up with the person on duty that night. A survey came in the mail, so I took full advantage of it to express my feelings. I included my phone #, but haven't heard a thing back from them. The entire hospice experience was a nightmare! A hospice nurse confidentially told me the reason the hospital wanted to get my husband "out of there" and transferred to hospice so quickly was that it reflects negatively on the hospital's ratings. No one questions why "X" number of patients die in hospice, but the number of patients dying in the hospital lowers the hospital's ratings. The drug my husband was given is a derivative of morphine. It's Roxanol, a pinkish liquid. I requested a copy of all reports, notes, etc. that hospice had on my husband, but info was sketchy. He had pleural effusion which the oncologist said was from the chemo. His fluid was drained every other day. Breathing was becoming more and more difficult, and I'm not that inhumane to want him to suffer. But I can not rid myself of this worry. I just have this "gut" feeling that things weren't on the up and up. We were totally ignored, and no one explained what was happening. My husband had lost a great deal of weight and was about 155-160 lbs. and 5' 6" and was 68 yrs. old. Thank you for your kindness in replying.
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Muffincat, you gave an excellent, very complex and complete answer! Thank you!
To the OP, yes, I would definitely take your questions to the Dr, but I expect that you will get much the same answers. My Mother died very comfortably with a lot of morphine on board, but she was in a significant amount of pain from Cancer, and her body was shutting down. When my own MIL, was in Hospital with Pneumonia, complications from Severe COPD, the Drs and staff, gave her Morphine to ease her breathing, and she did pass away. COPD, is a very difficult disease to watch a loved one to die from, and its very difficult to watch them struggle to breathe. You should not at all be worried about addiction, but relieved to see her breathing easier, even if they are loopy and or asleep a lot of the time. It takes them so much effort to breathe, that they are often exhausted anyways. Please do everything you can do to keep her comfortable, despite your being uncomfortable with the drug. Ask Her how she feels, and if she is breathing more easier on it, and then go to the Dr with your concerns. Good luck and God bless you and your Mom!
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Sdnbishop: What survey and why did you include your phone #?
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What I keep hearing from pain doctors is that opioids used for pain relief do not lead to addiction the way they do if used "for recreation." I certainly don't get high from taking 4mg of Hydromorphone q. 6 hrs. to manage my chronic pain. I get better relief from this drug (aka Dilaudid) than I ever did from Percocet, which contains acetominophen, which is dangerous for the liver.
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I'm sorry, sdnbishop,that you think there was some malfeasance. It's POSSIBLE. But I don't know that you could prove anything, no matter what some worker with an agenda would whisper to you.....If your loved one passed away in peace, NOT in agony, I'm sorry, I would be grateful for that (I live in terror in another 10-15 years when my time is up, I will be told 'take 2 aspirin, do some mindful deep breathing, we can't give you sh*t to relieve your pain because so many raving junkies highjacked the drugz so they could walk around sh*tfaced 24-7, and so we can't give out painkillers any more. Forbidden..Verboten. Because, junkies.)
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