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Ch.120 Pat is Taken Off Opioid Pain Medicine and Immediately Functions Better

Ch.120 Pat is Taken Off Opioid Pain Medicine and Immediately Functions Better

          December 2021

          Just a few weeks ago I wrote about Pat going almost two hours without pain. Fortunately, Pat is currently generally pain free: the wounds on her bottom have healed and her bullous pemphigoid has finally retreated, at least for now. However, Pat was still being treated with a one time a week opioid patch until she developed a skin reaction to it. Diane, the Refuge nurse, and I agreed that this would be a good time to try eliminating pain killers completely. Pat agreed to a trial period without them.

          The results became obvious immediately. Pat was more “here” than before. She became more observant, noticing stuff in her room that she had never mentioned previously; more communicative, joining conversations and sometimes initiating discussions; Pat smiled frequently and laughed out loud; she also became angrier faster, occasionally making negative comments about how she was being treated.

          There was one other important change: Pat told me on three consecutive mornings that the staff wasn’t listening to her wishes, that her choices weren’t being taken into consideration. I consulted with Diane, who told me she had helped get Pat up that morning and the routine was no different than in the past. I believe that, but I also think the “new” Pat wants considerably more say in her life than the opioid affected Pat. I don’t have any solution to this problem, but I did ask Diane to ask the staff to maximize Pat’s choices whenever possible.

          I have no complaint about Pat’s weeks on the opioid medication. She was in a lot of pain and the staff at The Refuge wanted to alleviate her suffering. I am glad, though, to welcome my “real” Pat back. She’s back just in time for Christmas. I am gifted by her presence.

 Pat’s comments on: Pat is Taken Off Opioid Pain Medicine and Immediately Functions Better.

Ron to Pat: Does it seem different to you now that you are off those meds?

Pat (who has just taken the lid off a yogurt container): Well, yes. I could tell from the lid and licking it off that things were really different. I could hold it up and look at it once and test it once and then let it go. It went into my memory bank.