Sunday, August 23, 2015
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."