Archive for Drugs – Page 2

In Hospice: Should You Titrate?

What does titrate mean?

What does titrate mean?

Until working in hospice, and hanging around nurses and doctors, I’d never knowingly heard or used titrate in a sentence.

With no medical or chemistry background, I have darn good excuses for my ignorance.

In a patient care meeting, when a nurse asked a doctor about titrating the new medication for a patient, I’d keep a straight face. I’d maybe give a brief neutral nod, and then hoped there wouldn’t be a snap quiz after the coffee break.

Fortunately, while ignorant of many things, I’m equally curious about nearly everything! I own bunches of dictionaries and thesauruses! I can search the web! I can ask a nurse!

I eventually asked a nurse. Talking to a nice person is far better than aiming the dusty magnifying glass at a page in my Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. The definitions are printed in fonts so tiny an eagle would struggle to read a sentence.

So a friendly RN told me that many drugs should be titrated whenever introduced or discontinued as part of a patient’s care. In other words, she explained with a kind smile, there should be a gradual increase or decrease in the dosage over a period of time.

Why? Read More →

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I’m not a medical expert.image015

I’m not a medication expert.

I know next to nothing about drugs.

I have never met a pill I wanted to take.

Is that blatant enough about my ignorance so my next thoughts are taken with a grain of salt? Nay, not a mere grain. Instead imagine an overflowing wheelbarrow of Morton’s when-it-rains-it-pours overpriced sodium!

Since I’ve confirmed my lack of qualifications, let me share a few biased opinions about . . . Read More →

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We Dream Our Way To A Truth

Dad and I, along with others, stumbled across a shattered freeway system...

Dad and I, along with others, stumbled across a shattered freeway system…

I wonder about nightmares. And drugs.

But I’m not referring to the metaphorical nightmare of drug addiction or delusions created by the wrong combination of medications. Those “nightmares” can be awful.

Don’t get me wrong, though.

I like drugs. I’m a happier guy because I’ve taken anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pain of my arthritic knees. And right now, as I write these sentences, my doctor shifted me to another high-dosage Ibuprofen for a mild (but irksome) back injury. Rest and drugs have made a difference.

Every hospice patient will likely be taking drugs. Some are necessary and will be continued. Some no longer have much value for the patient’s situation and may be discontinued. Dosages will be increased or reduced. New drugs may be introduced, especially as the medical staff helps the patient be as pain-free as possible. Many drugs have side effects (for example, constipation is one of the predictable culprits with many pain meds) and so one “good” drug is accompanied by another “good” drug to address the consequences.

It’s normal not to like drugs. You don’t really want to take any! Or . . . you’d prefer to take more! A family member may have had a negative experience with a particular drug and assumes that same issue will happen to their spouse or parent in hospice. If it didn’t work for you . . . how could it work for anyone? Worries over what drugs to take and when to take them and why to take them take a lot of time with many hospice nurses as they care for patients and support the families.

In a recent meeting, we discussed a new concern about one of our patients.

Her (or his) nightmares. Read More →

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