Your story strikes a chord with me, though I do believe sedatives and painkillers also cause hallucinations. I’ve spent many an hour with my mom in hospitals advocating for her. The first time I was with her after a major surgery, I was frustrated trying to communicate with her while she was hallucinating. She made serious requests I could not take seriously.

This was during the sixties. My dad had never believed in credit cards or being in debt during the first decades of their marriage, but by the time of the surgery they did have a couple of credit cards. While I was visiting mom in the hospital, I asked if there were anything I could do for her. She first pointed across the room and asked if I would get the dishes out of the dishwasher for her and put them away. She couldn’t stand to have anything out of place in the house. I had no idea how to respond to that. I don’t remember what I actually did or said.

Next she told me to go to her purse, take out her credit cards, and hide them from my dad. She was sure he was going to cut them up. (He would not have. She knew that when she wasn’t under the influence of the drugs.) I tried unsuccessfully to reason with her, but I’m sure at the time she thought I just didn’t want to help. Weeks later we laughed about it.

Only a couple of decades ago Mom had a much longer hospital stay that did not involve surgery — only painkillers and Ativan. I plan to write about that experience here soon. It’s too long for a comment. It was very hard dealing with her drug-induced paranoia.

Christian, bereaved adoptive mom, blogger, amateur nature photographer, voracious reader. Married 54 years. Central Coast of California.

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