Mom: “The Woman Allergic to All Pain Meds”

As a child, Mom, the oldest of seven, contracted rheumatic fever which locked one of her heart valves at 10% open. As a result, Mom had dual heart valve replacement surgery. She is allergic to pretty much every pain medication as well as their class of medication, including Dillaudid, Percocet, Microdantin, Ampicillin and Penicillin. As of her heart valve replacement about two years  agom the only medications they found she could take for pain was Tramadol and morphine.

Before last week’s surgery, the surgeon asked if she had any allergies to medications. We gave the list and let them know what meds that seemed to work on her (see above two).  The surgery went off with no problems. Well, at least not until after she woke up in recovery. Mom was exactly how she was when she had her first stroke, which only affected her speech, and she was having some issues with her short-term memory.

She was agitated, snippy, argumentative, mumbling excessively, twitching her hands, her feet kept moving, short tempered, sleeping a lot, etc. When I first noticed this in the emergency room, I asked the nurse if this could have been another stroke because of her behavior and if they had performed any CT-Scans to check, just in case.  They did perform a CT-Scan and the doctor allowed me to review the test results. He informed me that the results were being sent up to neurology to have them confirm the findings.  Not even 30 minutes later, he confirmed that neurology agreed with the ER doctors findings.

If that’s the case, why then all the stroke symptoms?

We immediately expressed our concerns with the doctors at Sutter Roseville Medical Center. We wondered if the Tramadol or the morphine could cause these symptoms. If so, we would like them at least to remove the Tramadol from her medication list. She fell on Monday evening. The surgery took place mid-day on Tuesday, April 1st, which is when we really noticed the change. We think the changes are due to the amount they gave her to get ready for the surgery. They suggested we wait and see what happens until Wednesday which will give her good pain relief for two days. Then they will tapper her off them. The reasoning sounded good so I agreed with it. But right away when I walked in on Thursday morning, I asked, “Is she off the Tramadol?” I did not know Tramadol should not be taken by elderly patients because the kidneys have a hard time processing it out of their systems. After reviewing the nurses logs, it was determined that, through the night, all that mom was given for pain was Extra Strength Tylenol.

Even off the Tramadol about 24 hours had changed her not one bit. I understand that it takes a few days to a few weeks for some medications to work their way out of one’s system and even more so for someone who’s kidneys are only working at 50% (another side effect of the rheumatic fever). We then started to ask ourselves if it just may be the morphine? By this time (Friday) the hospital had started the process of transferring her to a rehabilitation facility so we decided to just wait until we get there and on they intake we’ll let them know, “No morphine.”

Once we arrive at the skilled nursing facility, we discussed with the in-house doctor the issues we had with the Tramadol and morphine. We explained that we already had her taken off the one with no change and that we would like to have the morphine discontinued. They were very nice and accepted that we knew what we were talking about so discontinued the morphine once they received the order from the surgeon.

On Saturday the effects were still present. By Sunday morning, you could tell a major improvement in her attitude and behavior, which you could say was night and day. Even though she was not back to her normal self, I’ll take this mom over Friday’s mom any day. On Sunday she was about 90% back to herself.

It looks like Tramadol and Morphine are now on Mom’s “Allergic To” list or at minimum “Only Use One or the Other, Not Both and only in Small Doses” list. The other pain medicines give Mom all side effects as well as, such as making her itch uncontrollably, break her out in hives or all two, which is really not pretty.

We Relief Cartoon, now call her the “The Woman Allergic to All Pain Meds.” This just goes to prove everyone needs an advocate in their corner at all times.

Who knows your caree better than you?

Avatar of Richard

About Richard

My name is Richard (@kreisr1), I am a Tri-Fecta caregiver, for my mother who has COPD among other health issues. I co-care for my brother in-law who has epilepsy and co-care with my wife's for myself, I deal with Chronic Back Pain.entire life and now after living alone, in a care facility and a group home setting we had to move him in with us to provide him with the care he needs.  Finally, with my wife who is also my co-caregiver I care for myself, I have had chronic pain (mid-low back) for 21-1/2 years thanks to a drunk driver.  I write my own blog, where I share my pain with humor, as I see thing, "Pain Without Humor is Just Painful."  I am involved with in several ways, as well as participating in several of the weekly blogs, I also am involved in their Twitter chats, I also host the following groups, SPOT (Stamp Procrastination Out Today), A Task A Day, The Men's Group, Healthy Caregiver and several others.  I am also the moderator for the Quiz Show and have a seat on the bi-monthly Hot Topic's show. I'm here to not only improve Roberts life, the lives of those I touch on and but to find a way to improve my own live.

6 thoughts on “Mom: “The Woman Allergic to All Pain Meds”

  1. Avatar of MariaMaria

    I totally agree with you about only you knowing your caree and doctors need to listen to you!
    Hope things settle down for you.

  2. Richard

    Maria, Thank you for agreeing with me I just wish some doctors we’ve run into would think the same way. Also, thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my post/blog.

  3. Avatar of RichardRichard Post author

    Larry, Thank you for the comment. This is going on my Caregiving Business Card,

    Front: Richard Kreis
    Caregiver to Carol Kreis (Mom)
    Of course phone number & address

    Back: “Listen to the loved ones, they know them best”

    “Pain without Humor is Just Painful” <– My tag line

    Maybe this will get them to realize who I am and why I keep coming in everyday and spending 4-5 hours with her.

  4. Avatar of DeniseDenise

    Hi Richard–How did your mom do the rest of the week? Are you happy with the rehab facility?

    It must have been soooo unsettling to see such a drastic change in your mom. Thank goodness you were able to pinpoint the potential causes. I agree–you are an amazing advocate for your mom.

  5. Richard (Kreisler)

    Thank you for asking. Each day we have seen improvement in mom and her coming out to her normal self. We really like the rehab facility, they have a TV room with coffee/coco machine, PC’s with internet, several well done patios, library cart, 20 PT’s, 15 OT’s and 3 speech therapist. They take the whole person into account, dietitians come by 2-3 times, social worker with updates twice. They do a lot for the patients. I’m glad mom “came to” and realizes it was her Meds and really not the one staff member.


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