By: Tracie B. <>
Fri Aug 9 08:42:37 2002
Death shouldn't be painful
Fiscal motives in end of life treatment suspected.
By Tracie B.
Age:[ 45 ] Gender:[ F ]

Two months ago my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which had
metastisized to virtually every organ in her body. She died this week,
after a stunning spiral from a vibrant independent and funny woman to a
jaundaced skeletal uncommunicative woman in incredible pain. 

What happened in between is the worst horror story, the worst nightmare
imaginable.  She had fiscal resources, excellent insurance, and me, an
energetic dedicated nurse who quit everything to provide full time care in
my home for her.  Mom was offered, and accepted chemotherapy...which did
little but to create the humiliation of baldness, the unfathonable and
untreatable nausea, and the use of limited energy to go to the high tech
supermarket of chemo administration in the glass and chrome office of the
oncologists' group practice.

With increasing doses of oxycontin and hydocodone for break through pain,
I repeatedly called the answering machine of the nurse who worked for this
group reporting her intractable pain.  I was told to limit the ancillary
pain medication to (incredibly) prevent harming the liver from the tylenol
content.  Following unresponsiveness, except for the moans, Hospice was
offered.  I refused Hospice. 

I am a RN, with support from nursing friends, all equipment and medication
had been purchased, I believed that adding new caregivers into the
equation was not indicated, or appropriate during the final hours of her
life.  I sought only drugs to control the pain, suggesting a patch, or
morphine.  It was denied, due to my refusing Hospice at that time.  I am
telling my family that Mom died peacefully in her sleep.  It is a lie. 

-- Tracie B. <>

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