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And for our part, we would REALLY just once in a great while like to be able to have a conversation about something ELSE.
She actually faked appendicitis so well they took out a completely healthy appendix.
Now she is 87, a mess, covered in a veritable road map of scars from 50+ surgeries over the years, and nobody listens to her complaints. Oddly, once the local hospitals refused to give her Demerol shots for her migraines, she stopped having them. Now she's just old, and most 87 yo's have a plethora of aches and pains, and yet she rarely says much about hurting all the time.
Daddy completely ignored her "illnesses", which probably made it worse, I don't know. She blamed us kids for everything. We're ALL messed up.
I think you are pretty clear headed about your thinking process. Some people revel in being ill, and probably your hubby does have some serious depression going on, but you can't change that. He has to want to. IF he'd go to a psych dr and IF he'd go to counseling, there's a chance he may find out why he "needs" to be sick.
My heart goes out to you, this is a sad way to live, isn't it?
BTW, I myself suffer from chronic back pain. I DO know what it's like to hurt all day, everyday. BUT, I don't share that with all and sundry. It's MY pain, not theirs. And I function every day. It can be done. In fact, my dad used to say "90% of the work in the world is being done by people who don't feel very good."
My DH is a hypochondriac and I believe it is the #1 reason he's still here at 95 - to be 96 in 2 months. The flip-side to hypochondria is you could be finding problems earlier.
Then find out where the pain is. A lot of pain is gas and you need to know where gas pains hit. In my experience, it tends to be sharp pains under the left breast but there are many places gas can hit and hurt. Try something like Zantac or Gas-X to see if it helps. As long as you stay within the dosage, it won't hurt him and if the pain goes away, you will have found your problem. I now give Ray 1 Gas-X every morning, chewable as he has trouble swallowing.
It goes without saying that anything you give him needs to be told to his physician.
I'll tell you a little secret:
The less you depend on pain pills, the more likely doctors will be willing to trust you with temporary narcotics when you do have a legitimate problem as long as you use those narcotics properly as prescribed. I'm currently on Percocets for my broken ankle I broke on July 4. Percocets are only meant to be short term, very temporary. I'm in the process of gradually weaning off whereas before I needed them every four hours when I first broke my ankle. Now I'm in the process of weaning off of them and finding natural alternatives to deal with the pain. You may use my story as an example and try to wean this patient off of pain pills altogether because too much medicine over time has been known to cause internal organ damage. That means the more you take over a period of years, the higher risk you are for not only side effects, but organ damage and even failure. Water pills are a big culprit for kidney failure, I knew one particular person who is kidney died due to water pills that were prescribed to him. Another person I currently know was also on a water pill and I told him this particular story about this other friend and he had to go off the water pill after consulting with his doctor because his kidney was on the way out as well. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and learn to know the signs when something may be wrong. Popping a pill is not always the answer to every problem, although these days there's a pill for that just like "there's an app for that". Sometimes you just have to think outside the pillbox and go for natural alternatives. Dealing with a hypochondriac may be hard, but sometimes you just have to lock up all the pills or just downright get rid of them. There are some pharmacies but I don't know if all participate in drug surrender. One time I went off of a specific medication and when I had to, another new medication would've conflicted with it so I was able to surrender it's at the window of my local CVS drive-through. I'm no longer on those medications now that I'm past whatever it was I was going through at the time, but again, pills or just not always the answer. Before pills were ever invented, people went to different plants and made their own medicine, something we should be doing today and living off the land God gave us. If there were more farmers market's and people eating healthy, there would be fewer pharmacies, and not one on every corner it seems. You may try visiting the produce department and introducing fresh produce into this persons diet and make it enjoyable by providing dips for certain veggies, favorite dressings for salads, just go organic if possible, but it sounds like this patient may very well need a total diet change to regain their health. People back in Bible days lived several hundred years before they finally died, our bodies are very capable of living much longer than we actually do today but the problem is the modern diet. Changing our diets back to the natural diet of our forefathers will help us not only feel better but need less medication because they are secure in natural plants
The truth of the matter is this: surgeons and primary care physicians really don't know how to manage chronic pain. Opiate abuse really is a problem, but for some chronic pain patients, opiate use is a real lifesaver. We, the public (and that includes many people with medical training) have become so afraid of opiates that patients who really need them are not being properly medicated, which means that they are still in pain--and it can be a lot of pain. There are many doctors who responsibly do pain management, who really do know their patients and make sure that they responsibly use (and not abuse) their medications.
I would take him to primary care for a referral to a chronic pain management clinic. There are good ones, where there are neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and mental health professionals on staff. Chronic pain is very difficult to treat, because for most people, no one treatment really works well but it's a combination of treatments that works. They also realize that it's important to care for the caregivers and spouses, for chronic pain really does affect their lives as well. Most mental health professionals don't have the knowledge or expertise needed to work with those affected by chronic pain, and that includes the spouse. Not only would he benefit from visiting a really good comprehensive chronic pain management clinic, but you would benefit as well.
Please be aware that many chronic pain management clinics promote questionable practices (also known as quackery). For example, a chronic pain management clinic in a well known rehabilitation hospital in my area is run by people promoting questionable medical practices--not science based medicine. They do a really good job hiding the fact that this clinic promotes medical quackery from the public (and from busy physicians), by only discussing science based medicine on the clinic's main page--and not linking to the biographies of the clinic providers. To get the biographies of the clinic providers, you have to dig much further into the web site and search on that clinic. Only then do you see that that particular clinic is staffed almost exclusively by people who promote questionable medical practices--practices that are not science-based. The doctor running the clinic is especially interested in 'energy healing' and Reiki, and other forms of New Age woo and is an editor for three journals devoted to promoting woo. Most of the physical therapists are yoga teachers and deeply into New Age Spirituality and Mysticism. The psychologist is an 'energy healer'. What you want is science based medicine, not woo or quackery. Any medical professional who promotes woo is incompetent--and this clinic is staffed from top to bottom by incompetent people. When I showed this to my doctor (who was thinking about making a referral), he thanked me for the printouts. He told me that he would never ever refer someone to them and that he would show his colleagues at the next staff meeting what I discovered.
And this almost sounds like a bit of an addiction.
Even though he has a pump that will prevent withdrawal it does not give the same effect that taking an opiod or other pain killer would.
And depending on how long he had back issues with pain he may not fully recognize that he is out of pain. A person can be in pain for so long they do not remember what it is like to be pain free.
Hey, I am also a senior citizen and I get my own aches and pains, but I don't complain about it. In fact, doing housework helps the aches/pains, but try telling a spouse that :P
Anyway, I use to be a hypochondriac, any new pills I would get I would read the report that comes with a new prescription, and before I knew it I was getting those side effects... mind over matter, psychosomatic issue.... which can be quite common. I had noticed when I was spending time dealing with my very elderly parents that I forgot about any aches, pains or other health issues. I just didn't care anymore, yet I am still alive years later :)
I know that with some of my loved ones, this mental component causes them to have multiple ailments. This mental component can be caused by things like depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. These conditions can cause them to believe that they have pain and sickness all over their body, even when there is nothing actually wrong. The mind plays tricks on them or actually causes them to feel pain. I'd talk to a doctor about it. They may be able to refer him to a psychiatrist, if they think it would benefit. I know cases where medication for anxiety and depression has helped a great deal.
I know it's stressful when there are so many complaints, but, I found relief in telling them to see their doctor and let the doctor explain what's going on. I found that calling them out on it, doesn't work. To them, the pain is real and nothing I say can change it.
I'm just guessing here, but does he have dementia? Folks with dementia often have difficulty localizing pain and expressing it accurately.
Is it possible that that's what is going on?