General Question

OpryLeigh's avatar

Once they are put on a morphine drip, how much longer is a lung cancer patient likely to survive?

Asked by OpryLeigh (25259points) October 28th, 2012

Some of you may know that in July 2011 my Grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer and told that she probably wouldn’t see Christmas. Over a year later she is still with us but is now going down hill fast, in a great deal of pain and hardly conscious. The nurses have now put her on a morphine drip, which, I am told means the end is close. I’m guessing we are looking at days rather than weeks but if any of you can share your experiences I would be really grateful.

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22 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I am so sorry. It can be weeks actually, but might be days. If she is going “down hill fast” I am betting days. Does your aunt want the drip turned up so things maybe can end sooner? She probably has some influence over it. Is she in a facility? Or, still at home?

I’m allergic to morphine, I hope I get hit by a bus on the way to hospice near the end.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Leanne1986 I’m so sorry. It can be a while because a high dose will relieve their pain. Which is a good thing. I hope she goes in peace. My prayers are with you.

marinelife's avatar

I’m sorry to tell you, bit there is no way to tell just from the information that your grandmother has been put n a morphine drip.

It totally depends on the person and their condition. Just make sure that you have said all that you two need to say to each other.

Take care of yourself. My thoughts are with your grandmother that her passing is as peaceful as possible.

bkcunningham's avatar

My Mom was in the end stages of renal failure and put on a morphine pump. She stayed alive for about three days in ICU with the morphine pump. She was at peace and didn’t suffer at the end. That is all that mattered really. She wasn’t suffering anymore. We were with her and it was peaceful and the room was full of love. Don’t leave anything unsaid that you want to say to her or anyone you love for that matter. None of us has a promise of tomorrow.

I know it is tough, @Leanne1986. My thoughts will be with you. Please, let us know how you are doing. Much love to you. Peace.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

First of all big hug. I’m so sorry for what you have to go through.

My father had stomach cancer, he was in the hospital on morphine drip for not a full 24 hrs. He did not go to the hospital until he was basically unresponsive. Once he was on the drip it was much like a deep sleep.

It is different for everyone.

Again I’m sorry for the difficult times.

livelaughlove21's avatar

First of all, I’m so sorry about your grandmother.

As others have said, it totally depends on the person. It’s usually days rather than weeks, but it can be weeks.

My stepfather’s aunt was diagnosed with metastic lung cancer that had spread to her liver, back, and brain. She was fine and then a month later she was dead. Once the morphine drip started, she held on for almost a week. She was surrounded by her family nearly the entire time but passed away while alone. This happens a lot, I’m not sure why. They often wait until they’re alone to let go.

rooeytoo's avatar

My dad had lung cancer, he was diagnosed in about February when he was tested prior to a hernia op. He decided to live until he died, no treatment. He lived until November, was out and about until late October, then went down hill quickly. He wanted to stay at home, hated hospitals. He was bedfast for about 2 weeks. We were in charge of his pain meds. When I came to see him on his last day, he took my hands, looked into my eyes and said, I’m finished, help me.” We overdosed him immediately. He went to sleep and that was it. If he had been in a hospital who knows how much longer he would have held on. When he actually died, his dog, started moaning and bawling. Tears actually ran from his eyes. He didn’t last much longer himself after dad died.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Thank you everyone. I probably knew that no one would be able to give a solid answer on this but it’s comforting to hear other people’s experiences and advice. In answer to some questions she is still at home and nurses are there most of the time as well as family members, she has round the clock care basically as she is completely bed bound. She is rarely awake now but when she is she keeps complaining that she is “burning up inside”. We assume that she is referring to the pain she is feeling. My mum has been taught how to control the dosage.

@rooeytoo My Grandmother has a lovely old cat who, basically invited himnself to live with her (he was a stray that jst wouldn’t go away!!!). My nan is not an animal lover but Ollie (the cat) managed to worm his way into he heart. We are worried about how he will cope when she goes. He is going to live with another family member who he already knows well and is comfortable with but it’s not the same is it?!

Thank you for your support everyone, I am struggling to communicate with my family at the moment so your words are helpful.

OpryLeigh's avatar

My grandmother died at 10.20am today. It was a fairly peaceful death and she after she had passed away she appeared to be wrinkle free. Her skin was soft and smooth and, surprisingly, full of colour. I brushed her hair for her before the undertakers took her as she had instructed. I am very sad but the experience was much nicer than I had expected.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Leanne1986 I’m sorry for your loss. Keep her good memories with you.

JLeslie's avatar

@Leanne1986 Thanks for updating us. I’m glad it went better than you expected. So sorry for your loss. :(

marinelife's avatar

@Leanne1986 I am so sorry for your loss.

Judi's avatar

@Leanne1986 , I’m so glad it turned out to be a sacred time for you. I am glad you could be with her.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@Leanne1986 I am very sorry for your loss :( I lost 2 people close to me one was my father to cancer and the other was my husband who was unexpected and they were close together. The only solice I found in any of it was that I got to have closure with my father and in some crazy way it was thanks to the cancer, that I got to be with my father on that journey, it made him stronger, it made me stronger and through the entire journey he was surrounded with love.
Big hugs, if you need to vent or talk you can message me anytime, its my turn to pay it forward.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl How nice. That was a special way to answer. @Leanne1986 I’ll offer a comforting shoulder and kind ear to you if you need to talk.

rooeytoo's avatar

It is an amazing experience to witness a death. It is good for you and her that you were with her.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Thank you everyone.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Leanne1986, my sincere condolences to you and your family. I was just thinking about your grandmother’s cat and what a cute story that stray cat made. If you ever feel like posting here and telling us a little about your grandmother, I’d love to read your memories and thoughts.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@bkcunningham That’s really sweet of you. My Grandmother was a vibrant lady who loved dancing more than anything. She spoke her mind but was incredibly forgiving. In the days before she died, as she was drifting in and out of consciousness, she said that she wanted to be buried in a green dress. She didn’t wear green often in life and didn’t have a single green dress in her wardrobe so today my mum and her sister have gone to find the perfect green dress!

Apparently before she died she made sure that she had bought everyone in her close family Christmas presents so we will all have something to open from her on Christmas day. That will be incredibly hard but what a lovely thing to do.

As for the cat, he seems quite confused that she is no longer there and wonders around the rooms yowling. A very good friend of mine recently lost her old cat and was so sad when he died that she was said no more anmals EVER! However, she seems to have changed her tune and would like to adopt Ollie. The plan was for him to go to another family member but I think he will be good for my friend and she will be good for him.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Leanne1986, your Grandmother is still touching people through you. What beautiful words. The very thought of Ollie looking for her and the Christmas gifts has put a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing. Beautiful. She was special and I know she was loved. If each of us could have such nice things said after our passing through this world, it would make for a wonderful world.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

You’re grandmother sounded like a beautiful person. Thanks for sharing and honoring us with your memory of her. :)

Something in this life blessed us with our ability to have memory, however it came to be I’m sure glad that we can have our memories because sometimes they are all we have.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Thank you for allowing me to speak about her. I am finding it very comforting to talk about her. We often take for granted our loved ones when they are alive but through talking about them like this, we realise just how beautiful they were.

My Grandmother loved to dance and did so about twice a week, well into her 80’s. She had to give up due to hip problems but I like to think that she is now dancing to her hearts content.

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