OT but very personal...im so stuck.

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James87's picture
Joined: 05/07/11
Posts: 232
OT but very personal...im so stuck.

ok so as probably none of you know I have been in arizona visiting my sister the past 2 weeks. She is living with an ex as sort of a roommate situation but she doesnt work or go to school so he is paying for everything. She had a falling out with our mom about 6 months ago and refuses to speak to her anymore so really this is her only option of places she can stay. My sister is a very high maintenence girl; she wants the best of everything and expects people to get whatever it is she wants. Pretty much we are the complete opposites. I still love her to death and am done trying to change her or argue over something that is not in my control. HOWEVER she has an extreme dependency problem. about 9 years ago she was diagnosed with west nile virus, virul meningitis and ensephalitits(sp?) She was in and out of hospitals had to be home schooled; very sick. Since then though she has been on Dilaudid(very strong strong narcotic) she suffers from chronic headaches due to her brain swelling so much and nerves getting damaged. Everyday for the past 9 years she complains about being in pain and so she pops pills. her tollerance is so high she literally takes enough to kill someone my size. last week she was admitted into the hospital due to weakness and numbness in her left leg. She is unable to move it from the knee down. We are guessing something must have happened while she was high on her pills because she doesnt remember a thing except for waking up and not being able to walk. The night before she woke up i talked with her on the phone and she was completely out of it not making any sense what so ever. Sadly ive gotten some what used to this. All the tests the doctors have performed have come back negative WHICH is a good thing because it ruled out she has no disease or tumor. I stayed in the hospital for 4 days with her and watched her complain about how the 4mg of dilaudid plus morphine plus muscle relaxers every 4 hours was not enough for her pain and so i sat there and watched her take 5 tablets of the 8mg dilaudid. The highest dose dilaudid comes in is 8 mg. I was scared to leave her thinking she would overdose, my stress has been though the roof. She got discharged and now shes home; im still here i dont leave till sunday. They did one test that did say something but all it said was that the nerves where her sciatic branches off at the knee werent working, they still dont know the cause but i am guess a pinched nerve somehow. Anyways she was taken off the dilaudid after she got out of the hospital because at her appointment we both told the dr how it must not be working because she has such a high tollerance for it. He prescribed her ER morphine 3xdaily. She got these tuesday; last night (wednesday) her bedroom door was locked i banged on the door because she is going through a withdrawl and has been very very emotional so naturally i was worried about her; once she opened the door she could barely stand up her eyes were rolled into the back of her head and her mouth was blue like the color of the pills, she was drooling everywhere and her speech was slurred. I was scared ****less. I kept asking her what she took and she was unable to tell me. I got her into bed and immediatly found all her pill bottles and counted them because we just got them fill the day before so i knew how much was suppose to be in there. from my counting she took 5 1mg klonopin, 2 ambiens, 2 muscle relaxers, 21 ER 15mg morphine. I was up till 4am checking on her and feeling her pulse. This morning i confronted her about it and somehow i was the bad guy. How dare I count her pills and then blame her for not sleeping. (im such a horrible sister) she didnt remember anything from last night and i said she cant lock the doors because if something happened i wouldnt be able to get in unless i broke the frame. She then told me that she knows i wont believe her but she sees ghosts and talks to them so they must have done it. ..... strange I know. Today she was very emotional again but i sat with her as she took her pills tonight and she took 2 of everything. I tucked her into bed as she nodded out in her ice cream, i cleaned the jewlery off her bed and made sure she was comfortable. I am terrified of something happening to her and dont know what to do anymore. she wants my dh and i to rent her a house out here so she can live in it while we finish up things in nc. We financially cant do that. Plus i wouldnt want her living alone. By the way shes 15 months older than I am. My hearts broken for her. Thinking about it I break down into tears. Its like something out of an addiction reference book. She has been sent to rehab but always signs herself out because in her mind she isnt a drug addict shes just in pain; but its hard for me to believe that a majority of the pain isnt emotional and taking these pills makes her numb. She says I have no room to talk because yes I was the "bad girl" i partied a lot, did drugs, popped pills, traveled all over the place doing this stuff but the past 2.5 years i have been a completely different person. I want the best for her but I cant save every person in my life. How do u help someone that doesnt see they need help? I needed to vent because every person i my life that i try to talk with about this just puts her down and i dont want the negativity or the drama; i have enough of it around me. any ideas?

RoniBoo's picture
Joined: 06/07/11
Posts: 903

((HUGS)) I really don’t know what to say right now.. I did read everything and I feel so bad for your situation.. Perhaps it is best to have her go back to rehab even if it is not her choice.. This may sound horrible but in the end it will help her manage her life and pain.. No one wants for someone to be in that situation but it sounds like her life is at stake. Perhaps I read your message wrong but I just get the feeling she is reaching out without even knowing it. For her to say she sees ghost etc that is one way of calling out to you.. Perhaps if she has no other choice she may make up with your mom as I am sure your mom would take her in.. I don’t know I am at a lost as well.. so so sorry hun .. I just couldn’t just read your message and not at least give you a HUG Sad

girlisrad's picture
Joined: 04/24/07
Posts: 1587


I am so sorry. Reading that story just broke my heart for your whole family.

Obviously, your Sister is in need of help... problem is that unless she believes she actually is an addict more than likely nothing will work. She has to come to that conclusion first... and that is the hardest part of all!

I think it is great you are standing by her... especially considering the difficulty of her situation. That takes great strength and bravery on your part, and I really do commend you.

My only piece of advice is that you may want to consider getting adult services involved. I realize that it is the least "pleasant" option... and may not be the best piece of advice ever given. BUT

SOO many (((hugs)))

Joined: 01/19/06
Posts: 550

I'm so sorry you're going through all of this especially while pg. I can't imagine how hard this is on you. She definitely needs help and sounds like she is in denial. Is there a way to foce her into rehab without her being allowed to sign herself out ? I'm sorry I don't know much about these things. Sending you tons of hugs and praying that things get better soon. :bigarmhug:

_Jessicah_'s picture
Joined: 04/21/11
Posts: 1973


I just wanted to give you my deepest sympathies. I am a nurse and work on a drug/alcohol rehab unit. I see these types of patients every day. It's so hard to see someone you love suffer in this way. Your sister probably is in legitimate pain but as their bodies develop a tolerance to the pain medication they require more and more to seek the relief they are so desperately searching for. My facility is unique in that people are involuntarily committed here. Which means that their families fill out what we call a mental hygiene order and a judge, based on the evidence presented by the families, decides if the person truly needs intervention. Once a judge signs that paper the person is committed to our hospital and they cannot sign themselves out. They must stay until their systems are detoxed from the drugs/alcohol and they have completed the drug rehab program. My advice to you is to maybe check with someone through adult protective services or some other social services and see if such a facility exists in your area.

For your sisters safety if she ever takes a dose of medication like that again you need to call for an ambulance immediately. It is very easy for a person to become gravely ill very quickly and there's nothing you can do to stop it.

Jenn0113's picture
Joined: 03/09/07
Posts: 5335

Jessicah has wonderful advice.

I can't say I know what to do but I will tell you that my mom's brother was exactly like your sister. He would jump from doctor to doctor to get new pain pills because he had built up a tolerance to all of the ones he had. We was legitimattely in pain because he had some disease that basically deteriorated his internal organs slowly. There were so many times we would go to see him and find him laying in bed and we thought he was dead but he was just really drugged. His situation, sadly, didn't end good - for any of us. So please - no matter how upset your sister may get at you, please get her the help that Jessicah suggested. Her being mad totally overrides the alternative. I'd much rather have a sister that hated me than no sister at all. I hope you guys are able to get this all worked out for her.

James87's picture
Joined: 05/07/11
Posts: 232

thank you girls for ur support. im torn between the options of what i could do. if i commit her she will never talk to me again, even after she gets sober and she will hate me and say i betrayed her; which if it saves her life i would hope she would be grateful but my sister literally held a grudge over me since middle school up until i was 20. I want her to get better. so so so so so much i really do and my mom would do anything to help her but its almost as if she rather be depressed and miserable than do the work it takes to get happy. I know the "right" thing to do would be to hve a judge commit her and get her clean and if she hates me she hates me but i did what had to be done. Its just sometimes the "right" thing isnt always the right thing if that makes sense. i dont know ahhh! Im trying to get her into school so during the week she has a reason to get out of bed; so she is doing something productive and something she can feel good about. I hope she doesnt fight that help too.

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3190

Jessicah - thank you so much for replying. My advice was going to be very similar.

To the OP: {{{{{HUGS}}}}}} Just a bit of background. One of the many hats that I wear on and offsite is working with families in crisis situations. This does include dealing with these type of battles. Unfortunately, I also have family that experienced addiction battles in the past as well. I know how frightening it can be and how very helpless you feel.

Your sister is extremely fortunate to have you in her life. I agree that she is suffering from an addiction problem. As I'm sure that Jessicah will attest, addictions to prescription medications is a growing problem.

Hon, I'll be blunt with you. If your sister continues on the road that she is on now, at some point she will take one too many... and will not recover. She is likely NOW to be causing some permanent damage as there are serious side effects involved with those you mentioned. While I recognize that you were likely frozen with fear the other night, if anything like that happens again -- please, please, please call 911. Same with her popping pills in the hospital over and above what they were giving her. TELL SOMEONE -- the nurse or doctor... immediately. The other night, if you had found a problem with her pulse, at that point it could likely have been too late. I'm not trying to upset you or cause you further distress because I can sense the pain you are in -- which isn't good for you or the baby. I am so sorry.

The best thing that you can do is to follow Jessicah's sound advice. I'm frustrated for you as it appears that she has physicians simply writing out new, stronger prescriptions without monitoring the amounts being taken that exceed their recommended dosages. It also sounds like that your sister is likely suffering from depression -- and caught in that trapped cycle of trying to deal with both her pain and addiction. She likely can't see a way to break free outside of those few glimmers when she attempted rehab on her own. The type of addiction she is battling obviously was powerful enough to win out.

The laws vary from state to state. Within many, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to commit someone for drug (whether prescription or illegal) addictions. The social services in your area could best direct you to what help *is* available for her. While I totally understand in your position it feels completely warped, the laws are there to protect people from losing their personal freedoms... even if it would be in this case for her best interest.

As you talk with social services and get the options available, you may want to see if they can recommend resources for you (as a loved one of an addict) as well. As difficult as it is to witness your sister going on this downward spiral, you can't support her monetarily. Renting her a place is out of the question. Bailing her out again and again... even by sitting there and watching her while she is "out of it".. is not helping. She sounds like that she is going to have to be forced to hit rock bottom. If you are back home and she calls completely whacked out again, make sure you know where she is... tell her you love her and will call her right back.... then hang up. Call the police in her area immediately. (Do yourself a favor now. Look up and save the number to your phone.) You can ask for what I believe is called a welfare check on your sis.

This is heart-wrenching. I can share that initially no matter what steps you take that your sister may lash out at you and say some pretty hateful things.. similar to what it sounds like you have already experienced a glimpse of. What you have to keep in your mind is that you love her and you want her to LIVE. What she is doing now is not living... and ultimately will cost her physical life as well.

Surround yourself with as much love and support as possible. Back home, check into some support groups for YOU -- whether online or off. You'll learn more about that "tough love" concept as well as get some needed fortification to accept that there are those things that you cannot change for someone else. Focus on your baby, your husband, and family. Above all, remember that you are not alone. There are countless others in your shoes that truly do understand.

Feel free to contact me anytime if I can help support YOU.

~Missy (missyj@pregnancy.org)

turtnjay's picture
Joined: 02/24/09
Posts: 2095

It is a terrible situation, no way around it. It must be heartbreaking.

You have some wonderful advice from PP, but I'll add that you can't help someone who doesn't want help. She may clean up for a while if you persist but odds are she'll head back to the pills given a chance because she's not ready. She has to be ready.

I know that's not great or wonderful to hear but it's the truth. Especially if she is dealing with pain daily.

I do hope you can help her understand her issues and hopefully she'll take the steps to getting help very soon.

verdouxkai's picture
Joined: 03/05/07
Posts: 826

Everyone has already given the best advice - tough love and helping her even if it means she hates you. So, I'll just add a hug! I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this right now.

:bighug: :bighug: :bighug:

_Jessicah_'s picture
Joined: 04/21/11
Posts: 1973

I can honestly say that our patients are mad at their families when they first arrive. They say nasty, horrible things to them. But once they get cleaned up and see how much better they feel then they quickly change their tunes and are actually grateful that their families stepped in and got them the help they so desperately needed. It is a hard decision and I hope you have other family members at home to support you and that you can lean on. The recovery of addiction is a long, hard road. It comes with many bumps and often relapses but if you can get your sister initially clean it may be the break that she needs to start the process. If you ever need to talk you are more than welcome to PM me anytime and I will help you anyway that I possibly can.

lesleynka's picture
Joined: 04/26/11
Posts: 1845

I can't add much more, except that she may be mad at you forever if you try to help her, but that is better than the alternative of you having to deal w/ her death forever b/c she MAY get mad at you.

Also, your boy is coming. You have to get yourself in a situation where you can be a mommy to him when he needs you. I know this sounds horrible, but your sister is a grown woman & you can only do so much. Your boy is going to need you 100%.

James87's picture
Joined: 05/07/11
Posts: 232

ok so i just wrote a HUGE long response and wasnt even finished then the computer x'd out of the box and deleted everything. how annoying.

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