Speaking of Morphine


infusion pump

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     It’s funny how you start to remember things.  On the same note as my last post, I’ll be speaking of morphine once again.  I don’t remember the particular reason for this admission but I do remember being on a morphine PCA.  A PCA is patient controlled analgesia, which basically is an IV pump with a button allowing you to administer your own pain meds as needed.  Now you can’t just hit the button willy-nilly, it’s programmed with your dose and the timing of that dose.

     What made this particular occasion so memorable is one time when the morphine syringe needed to be changed.  The nurse came in with the box from the pharmacy, sat in the chair next to me while she did some paperwork and then she opened the box.  The box appeared to unsealed and perfectly legit, but when she opened it, the syringe was completely empty.  The look on her face was one of genuine surprise.  I’m sure mine was the same.

     I do know there was a lot of paperwork to fill out, some of which I signed as well.  I never did find out what happened but I do know this seems to be a taboo subject.  I have read that there’s a fairly high rate of drug addiction among the medical profession, but it’s not really something I read about in the blog world.  I read quite a few blogs written by Doctors and Nurses, most of whom blog about all of the drug seekers among patients but I’ve never read a single post about drug use among hospital staff.

     There is so much disdain for the “drug seeking” patients, and I’ve no doubt there are quite a few of them, and I can only imagine what that would feel like day in and day out.  In fact this letter was posted in every patient room in the ER of the hospital I go to.   I was going to take a picture of it but didn’t have my camera with me.  This is the jist of it:  If you are here for chronic pain you will only be given non-narcotic pain relievers.  There will be no refills for narcotics or sedatives of any kind.  Every patient will have their prescription drug use for the past 24 months checked by the ER doctor on the state data base.  If you are not here for chronic pain and you need narcotic pain relievers you will only be given them if you have a licensed driver over the age of 18 to drive you home.

     So, I am aware of what the profession is up against, on the other hand I also try very hard not to appear to be drug seeking whenever I have to go there.  I never know if they suspect that about me or not.  I never ask for pain meds but I do have issues with some meds that might be a red flag.  I can’t take any NSAID‘s due to the severe GI bleed I had with one in particular.  It’s not an allergy, but it is a reaction, also I can’t take a lot of Tylenol because my liver enzymes are usually elevated. 

     I will say that all of these issues are well documented medically and due to my history the doctors and nurses know me pretty well.  In fact some of the ER docs know me so well that before they even see me, being busy with other patients and all, they’ll give orders to access my port, usually running fluids in wide open and in fact will order phenergan and dilaudid, and labs.  However when there is a new doctor he will examine me and usually order toradol, and I have to turn that down I always feel like there’s an immediate suspicion.  They’re also surprised when I give them my med list to find that I’m on dilaudid and morphine at home, and I have to admit to being a little defensive about it.  I guess I have to work on that.

     My philosophy on pain medication is that for me, it’s a tool.  It allows me to live and participate in my own life.  I can do laundry, and make my husband dinner.  I can jump out of the occasional airplane, and kayak, and next summer I want to try paddleboarding.  I’ve been on the same dosage for well over a year and so far it’s still just as effective. So, that’s where I’m at on that subject, as always I thank you for reading and welcome your comments.

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One Ballsy Ass Nurse! What a rush!


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     Check this out, I find myself in the ER Wed. afternoon, my 2nd night in a row.  I bet now that Doctor on Tues., wishes he would have just admitted me.  I was throwing up for the 2nd day in a row and to say that getting IV access or a blood draw was going to pose a challenge would be a clear understatement.

     What I can only hope is the varsity team comes in 3 sticks and nothing but a blown skinny-ass vein to show for her efforts.  3 sticks for the next person and the lab tech made a valiant effort getting a blood draw, but he too came up empty.  Now the doctor was in there ordering phenergan and dilaudid as soon as they get a line in and the next 6 tries were made on my feet.  Even with “juicy” looking veins there,  it wasn’t going to happen.

     If you’re keeping count we’re up to 15 sticks so far.  The next nurse wasn’t messing around.  She assessed the situation, quickly put me in trendellenburg position grabbed a 18 gauge catheter and proceeded to get jugular access.  Wow did that hurt!   I swear the doctor was looking on this whole thing nervously and I remember her asking the nurse if she didn’t want to save that move for a last resort, and the nurse told her “We’re there.”  

     I was nervous as hell, wow.  Without a doubt the most painful IV ever.  Believe me the phenergan and dilaudid were well received.  I might add deserved.  I was glad it was over, impressed as hell with a new respect for this particular nurse.  We actually do our patient satisfaction surveys on a laptop while we wait for our ER disposition and I was more than happy to point her out as someone in particular who had helped me out.

     I have a new port now.  Thank God