October 17 2019
Written By
Barbara Karnes
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Are Narcotics Necessary for the Dying?

Are Narcotics Necessary for the Dying?


Tamara Trach - October 23 2019

Thank you for posting this most important message about pain mediation. Presently my father is in declining health with constant pain for which none of his doctors will give medication. When I am there (I live in PA, he in VA) I keep him on a swing shift of Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Once I leave, he and my mom, who sometimes tells him if he has pain or not…stops this most important process. I am doing a workshop at our local church about this subject. The church families need to know this as well. Sadly, death is not talked about in this arena as it should be.

Becke Kaaz - October 19 2019

Even though I’m no longer a caregiver, I still try to read every Facebook post and blog you write, Barbara. If only to pass along to friends and family who haven’t had the privilege of reading your advice or watching your videos. Thank you so much for your help. I personally am no longer so afraid of dying, not only due to my stronger faith but to your advice.

Hilde - October 19 2019

Thank you for speaking so clearly and confidently. It is because of your writing that I sought hospice care for my father. He is 89 and suddenly lost his appetite and was sleeping all the time (amongst other ailments).I searched for symptoms, came across your blog, and it made sense – he is actively dying.
I’ve had no experience with death and suddenly am the caregiver for both of my elderly ailing parents.
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.

Anne - October 19 2019

My experience is that it is almost always the doctor who doesn’t want to admit that one of his patients are ready for Hospice. I would love to have had a doctor who said that it is time for my patient to enter Hospice. Instead, it wasn’t until the last few weeks of his life that our family doctor finally was able to turn him over to the gentle care of the hospice angels. This needs to change.

Derianna Mooney - October 19 2019

Another much needed booklet to help explain how medications for pain can be used. And, when opioids are needed. Pain is so individualistic and so many people come so late to hospice that we can never catch up to help them get truly comfortable in such a short time.

I truly wish oncologists did not take it as failure to refer hospice sooner by being very truthful with their terminally ill clients. And, terminally ill clients would do well and may even get some amazing reboot by being in hospice sooner. I love to see clients feel so good they get kicked off hospice for being too healthy and well managed. They can always come back and to watch them be comfortable enough to live their lives for a month or three or 8 is such a joy!

Keep up your amazing work and writing about those topics that mean so much to those of us teaching and working with the dying.

Rebekah Koontz - October 18 2019

Hi Barbara,
I just want to encourage you to keep on keeping on. Your words are so calming. They reassure people that in the worst of times, they can both help their loved one and understand what is really happening.

I thank you.

Carol Brinkman - October 19 2019

Thank you for calling out the elephant in the room – the misunderstanding that “Hospice killed Mom by giving her morphine.” NO! Death was already present . It was Hospice that eased the way.

Thank you for so many nuggets of gold!

Especially thank you for explaining death is not a medical event but is a communal , social and emotional event!! Wow! That knowledge alone changes everything. I am grateful to understand that (duh) the body that is dying is not functioning in the normal way and therefore care and pain control needs to adapt accordingly. Thank you for shifting my thinking that death is not painful, that it is disease that causes pain.

Thank you for being willing to write down and share your experiences so that I might benefit. I painfully sat at my best friend’s bedside through her death. I wish I had your booklet. I am 76 and a cancer survivor and I am grateful for the knowledge you have given me which I can rely on to ease my path and make the emotional communal event of my passing something that does not cause emotional damage to my loved ones though their misunderstanding.

Have you read Atul Gawande’s, “Being Mortal”? It is worth the read! It started my process of wanting to have a say in my last chapter and to exit with dignity and grace.

Thank you

Marcella Stein Brady - October 18 2019

As a retired Hospice case manager I appreciate your accuracy and truth about hospice

Jeff Wolfenbarger - October 18 2019

Hello Barbara,
It is great that I came across you on Facebook. I lived with my mom for 7 years after my fathers passing. I knew she had dementia but it was not bad at the time. We enjoyed being with each other because I had not seen her for over 7 yrs because I worked all the time in a different state. The dementia progressed over the years and she ended dying very peacefully in hospice care. I was with her till the very end and went thru every stage. Horrifying and rewarding. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

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