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03/12/2012 12:01 AM

Needing to Vent & Get Some Suggestions

aeryn
 
Posts: 8
New Member

Hello, I'm usually mostly a lurker here & don't post much. But I really need to vent about things happening with my partner. I'm 51 & he is 74 but until the last 3 months or so acted more like my age, definitely more active than me. He's always had a back problem & pain from it which has really helped him understand some of what I go thru with fibro. I also have back issues from degenerative disc disease so I understand what he is going thru too. Around Christmas his back really flared up, he had about 3 weeks when he could hardly walk at all & needed help to stand up. It's gotten better in that he can stand up by himself & walk most of the time but his pain levels have never went back down. Last month he decided he wanted to get a cane & since then he has gotten more & more dependent on it. On this last Monday the dr gave him oxycontin which he didn't start till this weekend as he owns the only taxi service in our small town & drives during the weekdays. He has been taking percocet & flexeril since late December but the oxycontin really hit him hard, which I kind of expected would happen. Now this is what has also been happening since his back got worse & he has been taking the percocet & flexeril on a regular basis, not that I'm sure the percocet and/or flexeril is the cause. His mental status has been getting steadily worse, he has memory problems & at times can not tell me who was on the phone as soon as he hangs up. He's just not himself, it's hard to describe but I've been living with this man for several years and he's just not right. It can be hard for him to even follow a conversation, he & his son have been rebuilding cars for years & he knows parts inside & out but now is having trouble even having a conversation with his son on this, He forgets what they are talking about in the middle of what he is was saying. I am wondering if the percocet and/or flexeril could be the cause since none of this was happening before he started living on them or if maybe they are causing interactions with his other meds (mostly blood pressure meds & gabapentin). He takes more pain meds per day than I do now. So here comes the part I feel really guilty about, I don't get around all that great on my best days but now I am having to be more & more of a caregiver when most days I feel I could use a caregiver myself. I'm flaring constantly with the increased stress & worry & I'm beginning to feel resentful & that just makes me feel more guilty. I've tried talking to his son about if he has noticed these problems but he just blows me off, I'm sure it is hard for him to see this in his dad when he has always been so active. I know I need to talk to my partner about this but I'm just not sure how to bring this topic up or how to mention it to the dr without having talked to him about it first. I guess I've just been hoping things would get better on they're own but they're not. I'm almost at the end of my rope & could really use some suggestions as to how to handle this.
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03/12/2012 12:25 AM
MoiraWolf
MoiraWolf  
Posts: 3416
Senior Member

He's 74? While it *might* be some oddball reaction to the pain meds... because of his age, one of my first suspicions would be Alzheimers. I would try to have a convo with him about it and he if can't concentrate enough to discuss it, make an appointment to see his doctor without him, so you can discuss your concerns with the doctor and let him make the evaluation.

If it *is* something like Alzheimers or Senile Dementia, things aren't going to get better. Yes, there are some medications which will allow him to be more himself for a bit longer, but both are degenerative diseases. IF it's not meds, and is an organic brain disorder, then you'll have to have a conversation with him (if he's capable) and with his son about what's to be done. With your conditions, you cannot be his primary caregiver. I know you'd probably like to, and having both my grandmothers who had Alzheimers before their passing, I know what it can be like. He may have to go live with the son, or in some type of assisted living facility (or even a nursing home, depending on how fast his mental ability might degenerate further).

I hope it's just the medication and that by changing it, or stopping it, he will get better and be his old self.

But I'm a pessimist. I'd rather think the worst, and prepare for it, then be pleasantly surprised when it's not that bad... than expect and plan for the best, only to find out it's much worse and be surprised and unprepared for that.


03/12/2012 12:44 AM
aeryn
 
Posts: 8
New Member

Unfortunately, Alzheimer's and Senile Dementia have crossed my mind but I just so really hate to think that could be the problem. Before the back flare in December he showed no signs of either so that has been my reasoning in hoping that it could be a med issue instead. I know in the part of me that sees things realistically that if Alzheimer's, etc is the problem that I could not be his caregiver and it just tears my heart out to even think of that being it. I also realize the back flare could have just been the trigger that brings it to the surface. I also tend to prepare for the worst but hope for the best & it's easy to do that with my health issues but not at all easy for someone I love Sad

Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate having this forum to have someone to talk too!!!


03/12/2012 05:45 AM
broken
broken  
Posts: 11066
Group Leader

It honestly can be a simple as a urinary infection,seriously.. I have seen it. but I can tell you my husband had a sever muscel pull in his neck and was put on high hitting meds and it changed him severly,even after he stopped them he still has memory problems and he is only 43, so I know it can happen..

though with the age it can be worrisome about alzhiemers,dementia..

I would have your honey go for a full physical, and as you know pain causes weird memory with us..is he still taking the oxy? but like I said it truly can be as simple as an infection..

due you notice the memory being worse at certain times? what is going on at the time alot of noise or distractions..try and keep a diary for him before the doc appointment but again I encourage you to have him have a work up..

one way to know if it is a urinary infection is smell and color


03/12/2012 06:00 AM
mabri
mabri  
Posts: 4769
VIP Member

aeryn,

We're so glad you posted, and hope that you will continue to. Members are always encouraged to post, as the interaction is really where you get the best advantage from the group.

As far as your partner, I'm not really sure that I have anything to add. I'm not very familiar with this issue, however, I do believe you should get him to the dr as soon as possible. I agree with the record of his behavior, and talking to him first...however if it is something (meds/infection) that can be fixed, it's best to take care of it as quickly as possible. Please let us know what you find out, and hope to hear back from you soon. HUGS


03/12/2012 10:53 AM
aeryn
 
Posts: 8
New Member

I was able to talk to my partner this morning, he actually made it easy by sort of bringing it up himself, at least he mentioned he was having a weird morning which made an opening. He told me he realized he was having these problems too & that as he knew it was happening it scared him too. He has an appt with a neurosurgeon for his back & our dr has also been encouraging him to go to pain management for nerve blocks which he has had before but he really hates. He wants the nerve blocks to be permanent, even tho he realizes they are not which has made him refuse to go thru it again. I've kept telling him that even if they only give him a few months to a year of pain relief (which is how long they lasted the last time he had them) they are worth it and now he is willing to revisit the idea as he wants to get off the pain meds to see if that is causing his problems. He is also upset that he can't work on his truck (a 1938 chevy & his favorite toy, lol) in this condition so that is actually helping him make the decision to go thru the pain management procedure again. I also need nerve blocks in my neck & lower back & have an appt for this Friday the 16th, I had thought that if he saw me go thru it first that it might make it easier for him to decide to go for it. I'm actually looking forward to getting mine done. I woke up this morning with my neck causing such a nasty headache, I can hardly wait to get rid of those for awhile!

@Broken - it is so good to hear that someone else has had this type of reaction to heavy duty pain meds. It really scares me to consider the alternatives, ie Alzheimer's, organic brain disease. Tho I am keeping myself prepared to hear the worst & keeping my fingers crossed & hoping for the best. As for the oxy, no he is not going to take any more of those, he had a horrible day yesterday after just taking 2 doses (the first Saturday evening & the next at the 12 hr mark yesterday morning) & he is still feeling off center from them this morning. I had a horrible time keeping him in bed last night, he kept waking up & thinking it was time to get up. I didn't go to sleep til 4am as every time he needed to get up to the bathroom he was so off balance I was afraid he would fall. He is moving slowly today but much improved over yesterday. I like the idea of keeping a journal of his symptoms & plan to start that today. As for the urinary infection possibility, he has a benign enlarged prostate he takes flomax for. I asked him if he has had any burning & he said no. I told him not to flush the next time so I can check the color/odor.

I can't express just how much having this forum & you all to talk to about this & your responses have helped me!! Thank you so much!! I plan to hang out here more often & I promise to keep posting. I'll do an introduction post today Smile

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