Archive for Drugs – Page 2


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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No Methadone! Know Methadone?

methadone0924f500pxIf asked about methadone before working for a hospice, one image would have quickly surfaced for me: people at a clinic, anxiously awaiting their dose.

The image included a rundown neighborhood, a mix of scraggly men and weary women lined along the corner of a building, and protestors with handmade signs (“Keep drugs away from our children!”). And maybe—if depicted by a Hollywood film—a black and white police car might cruise by on the street. Those in the line are lowlifes, misfits, and losers, addicted to a serious drug like heroin and now nursing their vile habits with a prescribed substitute.

What comes to your mind when you think about methadone?

Maybe nothing.

meth_clinic_protest_3_773468102_r644x428But if you do have a thought, it’s probably based on a film, a story on the mean streets of New York with old Al Pacino or young Ryan Gosling as a loner cop. If your thoughts weren’t from a film, then it was in a newspaper article from the last century, a Law & Order rerun, or a hazy recollection when you were lost in the rundown side of chilly Milwaukee or sunburned Miami searching for a college roommate’s address. Regardless of the source of your piecemeal memory, you “know” about methadone: it’s for drug addicts. Sure, people may need a physician’s prescription to get a dose, but it’s not much different than the various illegal drugs that are ruining society.

So when a hospice nurse suggested that methadone was a good choice to manage your pain, you quickly said, “No way.” Or a family member equally quickly said, “No way.” Or, after the nurse invited you to consider methadone for part of your pain treatment and then left for her next patient, you and your spouse chat about the possibility for about 5 seconds and decided, “No way.” 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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