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Hello, my mother in law has PAD. She is 81. She has had an op on one leg which has not really worked and now her other leg is going really bad. She is in writing pain for most of the day, she is very very thin and its excrutiating for her and the family. Is there anyone out there that can suggest some things that might aleviate the pain...Please?
Elizabeth17, March 2, 2020 10:35am EST
I'm so sorry that your mother in law is dealing with such terrible pain.I urge you or someone in your family to take her to see a vascular doctor again. There is no pain medicine for PAD.
Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI) is the end stage of PAD. It is a severe obstruction of the arteries which markedly reduces blood flow to the extremeties (hands, feet, and legs) and has progressed to the point of severe pain and even skin ulcers or sores. The pain of CLI can be so bad that it wakes an individual up at night. This pain, also called "rest pain", is often in the leg and be relieved temporaily by hanging the leg over the bed or getting up to walk around.
CLI is a very serious condition of PAD and needs a comprehensive treatment by a vascular surgeon or vascular specialist. This condition will not improve on its own.
Your mother in law may not have progressed to CLI, but I am concerned at the level of pain you describe.Medicare has a walking program called SET "Supervised Exercise Therapy" for PAD patients. Please ask her physician if she is a candidate for this program.
Please keep us posted on how she does. As a survivor of PAD myself I know how horrible to pain can be. I underwent a bi-femoral aorta bypass in 2013 for my severe PAD. It changed my life. Now they have so many surgical options that can be done on an outpatient basis it is truly remarkable.
Kinny, March 2, 2020 3:21pm EST
Thank you so much for your feedback. She has undergone a bypass surgery and is now so weak and in such pain that she couldnt possibly do the SET suggested but huge thanks. Do you know anything we can do for her pain. Her vascular surgeon says that he cannot operate on her while she is so weak. Its clear that she is near the end but she has a pacemaker that wont let her go. We just want to alleviate the pain, its so cruel. Thank you.
Elizabeth17, March 2, 2020 3:37pm EST
Oh bless her heart. I truly am so sorry.
You know I would ask the vascular surgeon or her PCP about pursuing some type of palliative care if you think that her time is short. I know that is a difficult conversation to have, but those physicians are used to dealing with illness not from a healing perspective, but from the perspective of making a patient comfortable towards the end of their life without putting them through more invasive procedures. All situations are different, but I think I would at least check that out.
You can start palliative care at any stage of an illness. You don't have to wait until you disease has reached an advanced stage or in the final months.Their main goal is to provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms.
Please keep me posted - I am here for you to help in anyway that I can. I am not a doctor, but I have lost my whole family to cardiovascular illness, so I do understand what you are going through.
Kinny, March 4, 2020 4:23pm EST
You are sweet Elizabeth and thank you for your advice but she is having palliative care but the pain remains, dreadful pain, all day and the only way to ease it is with opiods which put her under. that is why I am on here, to see if there are any tips or ideas that can ease her final weeks, months, days?
AHAASAKatie, March 5, 2020 7:53am EST
This is such a hard place to be. When my dad passed last year it was fairly sudden and we bypassed palliative care and when straight to hospice. Now, we are working through next steps with my mother and when to call in palliative care. While I do not have any great words of advice for you, I do want you to know that many of us are walking similar paths and that you are not alone. Best Katie
Elizabeth17, March 5, 2020 10:25am EST
Kinny - A warm bath with epsom salts and a heating pad on my lower back a few times a day were probably my only relief. I take one aspirin a day and of course gave up smoking 8 years ago, and walk most days, but it sounds like she is past that.
Choosing to use the opiods is really the last step in letting go in palliative care or hospice, and it is the hardest because they do render them basically unconsious. I think each family must let the patient make that decision for themselves when the pain becomes too great.
I lost my mother and father 11 months apart in 2004-05 and then my brother in 2008. I became a hospice volunteer for years before volunteering for AHA. It was the most rewarding volunteer work I have ever done. I pray that your family and your mother in law can help her make the transition as pain free as possible whenever that time comes. You are in my prayers.
Katie girl - prayers for you and your mom too.