Sunday, August 23, 2015

Medication Education

An orderly was limping around the parking lot.  I asked her if she was okay, which caused her to launch into an emotional yet vague description of her bodily pains and malfunctions.  Then she produced a bottle of pills from her pocket.

"I just picked these up from the pharmacy because I can't function like this," she explained to me.  She then attempted to read the name of the medication to me.  Like most of the "support staff," she knows more than I do and often preaches nursing to me.

"Oxycodone," I uttered while she was still deciphering.

"Oh no!" she wailed.  "Darn it.  These are the same pills that messed me up.  I told that doctor, but he ordered them again anyway.  'Take three a day as needed for moderate pain.'  Lord, help me.  Just one makes me so sick.  Now I have to take three of them in one day?"

I tried explaining that they were for pain, which she seemed to be in, and that some people tolerated the medication better by taking it with a meal or before going to bed.

"I can't take all three before bed," she responded to my attempt at education.  "I'll be really sick with three.  I will just have to take one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening."

I tried again explaining that she should try acetaminophen or ibuprofen for waking and work hours (which are not necessarily the same times), but oxycodone at bedtime.

"But then I won't get better," she explained to me.  "These are my antibiotics to cure this disease going on in my body.  You are a nurse, and I am explaining to you about taking medication?"

She stood there, annoyed with my my nerve in broadcasting my incompetence to her.

"By all means," I told her, "Go ahead and finish the whole bottle."

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