On Thursday night, I asked the nurse to page the on-call doctor, so that I could speak with him. I gave the doctor the short version of the story of my mother’s psychotic reactions to narcotic pain medications. “I’ve been by her side for three months,” I said, “and it is being consistent that when she’s been given narcotic pain medications, she’s gone psycho.
“It’s not just benign delusions – like hallucinating purple elephants,” I continued. “It’s that she thinks the entire hospital is plotting to kill her. That makes it dangerous, because she then refuses to eat, to take a medications, or to receive treatments.”
I asked the doctor to think with me about alternate pain medications, such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). He said that they could give her a combination of Tylenol and ibuprofen. I said that was terrific, and we agreed that he would take her off all narcotics.
Before going to sleep at 2:00 a.m., I called the nurse. Among other things, I wanted to see how my mother was doing and asked if she had received the Tylenol and ibuprofen. He conveyed that he had tried to give it to her, but she didn’t want it. Well, I thought, at least it’s a start.