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Drugs vs. Deterioration

Posted by

Hello all,

Me and my mum are looking after my dad who has advanced oesophageal cancer. He is now bedridden and requires help with most things. He has been suffering badly with pain and also a chronic cough. In the last week he has had a syringe driver fitted and an increase of medication. (From oramorph to medazalam) The level of pain medication he is on was based on how often we were having to call out nurses to administer from his “just in case” meds. He was ok after the switch for a couple of days, but then seems to have now deteriorated quite badly. He can barely keep his eyes open, and is quite confused. Last week he could just about stand up to pee but is now really struggling to do that. 

We are not sure if these are signs that he is deteriorating or if these are side effects of the drugs? He really needs the pain relief but it might need scaled back as he is barely with us. How can we tell? We also wonder if the nurse/doctors will give us a heads up when he is on his last days? They haven’t really said what to expect. 

Any advice would be much appreciated! 

Posted by

Hi Pot Noodle,

It’s a hard confusing journey you are currently on with your mum and dad but the morphine is needed to help your dads pain but it’s catch 22 where you feel your losing precious time whilst trying to do your best.

My mum sadly passed last month after a brave fight. My mum also had oesophageal cancer that had spread to lungs and liver. My mum was in the hospice  and the morphine does make them sleepy (we got syringe driver in the last week). The doctors will have an incling in my opinion  but do ask for yourself, I asked the docs if what I thought in my head was right and I trust my gut,  as i sadly was. 
In my experience with my mum there was good days and sleepy days, confusion can be due to the meds but also the cancer too as they fight on each day. They are always with you even if it doesn’t seem that with the meds, I believe my mum was well aware and still with us even if to me it didn’t seem like that. 

Remember you are doing an amazing job with your mum and treasure all the time you have with your dad. 

Take care