Mom is addicted to opiate drug and vindictive when high. What can I do? - AgingCare.com

Mom is addicted to opiate drug and vindictive when high. What can I do?

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My mom is here at my home in AZ for 6 month "visit" which I believe should be permanent due to her need of care. She's 91 and has been in MN living on her own until about a year ago when my nephew moved in with her to help out but due to working isn't there often. Some how some way she got a hold of an opiate pain medicine and started using it to help with her sleep (I'm pretty sure how she got it but I won't go there for now.) Insanely her friggin' doctor kept refilling it based on my mom's "promise" she wouldn't take it during the day. I suspected over the phone this summer she was indeed taking it during the day. Now she's in my home under my care and on her "last" bottle. I'm certain her doctor in MN won't refill it Long distance (I'll turn her into the law if she does) and there is no way my doctor here for her would. My mom when clean DOES want to get off of it, she realizes she has no choice. But she's hidden the bottle (I think I know where it is) and I can always tell when she breaks down and takes it. So I have two questions: first I believe she won't voluntarily give me the bottle, should I take it from her as I do have the opportunity when she's sleeping. There are only a few pills left if my estimates are correct. Second, and this may sound cold, but I can't STAND her when she's high. She's demanding in a rude and "be my slave" manner. If I don't bend to her exacting will she purposely pees on her bedroom floor. I'm so angry right now. I should be compassionate, I know, and I usually am but I just can't take this high ninny in my midsts. She hates going to the doctor, we've discussed her withdrawal symptoms and while clean she sincerely wants to battle it but I'm certain she's going to lie to me this next time. She actually seems to think I don't know when she's high but it's as clear as water. I'm at a loss of what to do just because of the simple fact she WILL run out soon and will have no choice but to get off them. I'm prepared for the compassion she'll need as she goes through withdrawal but dealing with this current druggie is driving me mad. Do I confront her, what do I do if (and she will, I know my mom) she lies about it? Say to her, you're not peeing on my floor anymore or stop acting like a victim when I KNOW you're more capable than that? Geeze I'm stuck. . . She's a wonderful lady that I adore when she's clean. I don't ever get stern with her and I don't really know how to approach this.

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GREAT answers! I will absolutely follow your advice:)
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I absolutely agree with blannie that you should tell the Dr everything you know and suspect before he/she meets Mom. Writing it before the appointment is helpful so you can leave your notes with him so he can refer to them later.
Do you have a reason or can you invent one to visit the dr alone in the near future? After the visit you can tell Mom that you mentioned that she was now staying permanently and he said he would like to meet her for meet and great or "Welcome to Medicare in Arizona " so he knows her history before she has any illnesses, get her vaccines up to date etc baseline B/P and all that good stuff. You could even push your luck and actually make an appointment while you are in the office if you think you can pull that off. I would not rush any of this, maybe take several weeks. While I would tell the Dr you wonder if she is having mini strokes I would not mention this to her. If she has another episode before Dr's visit put the frighteners on her and get her to the ER. Tell her how dangerous mini strokes can be because they can always go on to be full blown strokes leading to death, paralysis loss of speech, consciousness, inability to swallow. The actual definition of a TIA or mini stroke is one in which all symptoms resolve within 24 hours and leave no lasting effects. tell her there can't be any delay in getting medical help because there is only a short period of time in which the so called clot busting drugs can be given which can prevent serious damage to the brain. A few tears at this point may help your case. If Mom can be a tricky customer you are going have to be one step ahead of her and pull out all the stops. Just for the record if Mom does have severe pain requiring a narcotic at 91 I would not be concerned about addiction. The hydrocodone is probably not the right drug for her given her apparent reaction but there are plenty of other choices. Any drug given to the elderly can have unpleasant side effects so extreme caution is necessary is necessary in the choice and dosage. This is a very interesting thread so I hope you are successful.
Hugs
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It's interesting you say that, Captain, because I'm becoming very confused by my mom's actions.
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to this day science / medicine is not prepared to state whether an addiction came first or a mental discrepancy that is being self medicated. your mother may be as bipolar as a housecat and medicating with op;iates to blunt the highs and lows. give her the bennefit of the doubt.
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I would certainly tell the doctor your mother's concerning behaviors and the medication you know she's been taking. If you're thinking your mom might hear you, send him or fax him a letter explaining what's happening and ask that it be put in her file. He needs to have all of the information to make the best decisions about treatment/tests. And your mom may not share that with him.

When I take my mom for a doctor's visit, I have to fill the doctor in because my mom either won't remember or will downplay her problems, which is very common in seniors. When the doctor asks what is going on, my mom will say she's fine when she's not! So that's very common.
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Whoops, Veronica, I didn't mean anyone here bamboozled me:) You all here gave me really excellent advice, especially yourself. I meant my mom might be bamboozling me about not taking the drug anymore. It is very common for addicts to lie. She hasn't had an episode since our talk though it is too soon to say. I haven't been able to get her to let me set up an appointment for her yet. I'm not sure how to broach the subject that I worry she might be experiencing tiny strokes. I'm also finding mom can be a crafty little devil and your words of wisdom to not assume the worst about the doctors is sound advice and very welcomed. On that note: if I do get to set her up an appointment, is it alright for me to tell the doctor my concerns? I know the doctor can't reveal any information to me if my mom doesn't allow it and that's okay with me. I'm just worried she won't be completely honest with him. I'm beginning to suspect she wasn't honest with the physician who did prescribe her the drug. At the same time, I'm so novice with my assumptions I don't want to muddy the waters so to speak. What do you think the doctor would be most comfortable with for it's a certainty I'd be the one to set up the appointment.
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There is still a possibility she is physically addicted... the leg cramps are indicative of this... but you will be armed with much more info when seeing the Dr, and they will have a better picture of where to start and what to look for.... please let us know how things are going... sending you hugs.
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You are an extremely loving are caring daughter for your Mom. I am so glad you have been able to connect with her on this level and she is prepared to move forward medically.
I do not believe anyone here was trying to bamboozle you about the steps that needed to be taken if she was truly an opiate addict which now sounds unlikely.
When you first posted we read the panic in your words and responded accordingly. As time went on you added further information that made it clear that there was probably a different medical explanation.
I am so glad your mother has such a trusting and loving relationship with you and I see an excellent relationship going forward.
In support of doctors everywhere (and I frequently don't agree with their views) the start of this prescribing of hydrocodone sounds as though it was perfectly reasonable. She was having pain related to her PT and it was keeping her awake at night. The Dr determined that prescribing analgesia for a 91 year old was probably safer than sedation so that was what he did. Now of course he should not have continued to mindlessly sign refills for her every month but Drs are busy people and when presented with a stack of paper to sign just do their illegible scribble. I am also guessing she never actually went back for a check up or maybe your brother just called the office and asked for a refill. What I am saying is that these things unfortunately do happen. Of course your brother was wrong to give her the medication in the first place not to mention acting illegally but I am sure he did it with the best of intentions. People do that all the time.
I hope you do not see this post as critical of you and your reactions, it is meant to be supportive both of you and other members. Those on this site have a broad range of experience and in some cases training or have taken the time to educate themselves over many years as they go along. We do not all always agree and that is very healthy and sometimes someone reacts unkindly or indifferently. Others experience your level of anxiety every single day of their caregiving lives and the gut reaction on a bad day is 'suck it up, pull up your big gIrl panties"
I have been wondering where you can buy a pair of those! Do they come in different colors or do you have to sew your own?
Rarely we have a visitor who posts a fictitious question and everyone rushes to help only to discover a few days later that some of the information just does not fit.
You are a very wise daughter and clearly inherited it from a very wise Mama.
Please keep visiting. You may not think you have any caregiving experience but frequently experience in other areas can be very helpful and insightful. For example you could know about elder tax issues or many other subjects, also your mother could contribute ideas about elder living arrangements and what works for her. Hugs for you and your Mom
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I cannot thank all of you enough. Coming to this forum has turned out to be a huge catalyst to a hopeful final solution. It's amazing what has transpired since last I posted. I want to try and answer all of your inquiries within this post rather than reply to each of you so please know I'm talking to all who asked questions. If I miss something please ask again for I may have misunderstood your concerns.

It was as if magic happened and the strength I gained from approaching you all here and getting your advice transpired into reality. My mom and I talked. It was honest, thorough and life altering. It started off innocent enough and soon moved into discussing the future. I've wanted her to live with me for years and now it will be a reality. She's very happy here and I'm happy to have her here. With that discussion came a point where I could let her know I had serious concerns.

Let me try to keep this as simple as I can. First, I do not believe she is taking the "hydrocodone" on the sly as I had suspected. I'm very confident of this. I do believe the withdrawal symptoms should still be addressed by a doctor even if she isn't in current danger. I am now EXTREMELY concerned that something else has been happening and it started this last summer (I even suspect a fall caused it or "it" was the cause of the fall). She had no clue anything was happening and I followed the instincts presented here and didn't scare her by describing what I'm seeing; however, I did explain as part of her staying here I no longer wanted the antedotal remedies from my well meaning brother. I asked her to allow me to set her up with a relationship with my wonderful doctor here (if it takes getting a POA as what was suggested here, I'm all for that if she is, thanks for suggesting it.) I did express at the very LEAST if another episode occurs I want to address it immediately with her and deal with it right then and there. She is in agreement and while I was careful not to frighten her I think I got my point across that "something" is happening beyond her becoming weak.

She wears the full regiment of the padded underwear and pads on top of that, which is why the sudden urinations had me thinking they were purposeful. Now, I'm changing my mind because descriptions here fit what might be happening. I did not want to embarrass her so I didn't press the point, but as we move to me being more involved in her medical history I will gently address it with her. I believe her past physicians unknowingly (or uncaringly) have tossed her into a medicine induced nightmare and I want all her meds checked. Here's why: my mother ended up on hydrocodone because my brother gave it to her to ease her itchy leg syndrome that disrupted her sleep. He had it because of a car accident he was in and I remember her specifically telling me that when she first started taking it. I told her to check with her doctor, which she did, and I assumed it was okay until I could tell she was fearful she was getting addicted. When she got here and I realized it was more serious and I expressed my concern to her and my outrage her doctor would let her have it in the first place her story changed. Then she said she was given it for a slight back injury she got when she was doing physical therapy after a serious fall she had two years ago. I don't know which story is true but my money is on my idiot but well meaning brother.

Lastly, I do realize I may be getting bamboozled about her getting off the medication and I'm keeping my mind open to the great advice offered here. I am absolutely blown away at how instrumental the advice given here has helped us. I'll be a frequent visitor as I am clueless about elderly care and I can use all the help I can get. I love my siblings, I love their support and advice but I like the idea of being able to freely express my fears without breaking my mom's confidence. She's a private lady and they aren't doctors, experts nor any more experienced than I. I find common sense here with a good healthy dose of "get her to a professional" and have garnished almost instantaneous results because of you fantastic caring people. Thank you SO much for the time you have given me!!
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Your mom acknowledges that there is a drug problem. Your husband doesn't think that she has been taking many in the last couple of weeks. How long has she been taking them? Could she have another supply that you don't know about? More than one bottle from different doctors, different pharmacies would not be uncommon. Does the bottle she has show up on an insurance statement, or does another one? Could she be paying cash for some, insurance claim for others?

maybe it is mini strokes. I would get her examined at the hospital next time something like this happens. If she refuses to go and not medically necessary she does not have to agree.

Who has her medical POA? That person should be able to get information. If nobody has it do that NOW!

Also consider a geriatric psychiatrist that could help identify what is going on with her.
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