Happy: A Quest for Life After Death

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sleeping Beauty, Part II

Mat was up to his old tricks again recently. A week or so ago, he slept 18 hours. A remaining six-hour day consists of getting up in the mid-afternoon for lunch, going down for a nap shortly thereafter, and then getting up again in time for dinner, the boys' bedtime routine, and a little TV.

I thought he was tired from our trip to San Diego, but then he slept all day Saturday, and Sunday, and Monday .... Finally, on Wednesday, Mat talked to his doctor about it, who thought it was probably the pain meds again. He had already cut his dose by 25 percent in early August because the pain medication seemed to be making him sleepy. That went off without a hitch. This time, the goal is to wean Mat off the medication entirely, in two or three steps.

This latest attempt to reduce Mat's dose has not gone so smoothly. The drug is more --much more -- potent than morphine, and more addictive than heroin. I guess it's not surprising that Mat is going through withdrawal. He's nauseated, jittery, dizzy, in a constant state of craving, and, yes, in pain.

I've always cast a skeptical eye on concerns about addiction to pain medication for terminally ill patients. I've seen first hand that good pain management has a huge impact on quality of life.

What do I think now? I'd still argue for the pain management. But ask me again in a week or so.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand how Mat can go completely off pain meds. Will he switch to another kind if he is able to get off of the current one? I'll be praying for you and Mat as he struggles through this brutal process.

SLP said...

I vote for what works best for Mat's quality of life and your family life.
Sending hugs,

lgandrews said...

Off topic, I just want to let you know that I'll miss you this weekend at the EXPO2 Retreat. I have been thinking of you and Mat (and rest of the family). As always, sending you and yours prayer for peaceful spirits, hopeful hearts, energy to get thru, and whatever else you need, hour by hour. Know you are loved by many many folks, sisters especially. Linda