Archive for Fears

Medications Near Midnight

 

different meds

The nurse arrived in my mother’s dimly lit hospital room.

Near midnight, even his soft voice seemed loud. One of the first things he said was, “This won’t hurt.”

He lied. This was in 2013. Seven years after her death, I still remember his false assurances.

The nurse was there to place a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC, or “pick”) into Mom’s upper right arm. My mother been offered Dilaudid—a brand name for hydromorphone, a narcotic comparable to morphine—for pain management. The medication would be housed in a CADD pump (Computerized Ambulatory Drug Delivery) connected to her PICC line. The linked pump and the catheter would give a predetermined, regular amount of medication to ease her physical agony. A “button” could be pressed on the CADD pump for additional dosages.

Are your eyes glazing over with all the medicalese?

Mom’s body was riddled with cancer and the two surgeries undertaken for “comfort” had added complications. As I calmly write this years after her death, I understand why she said “Yes” to that PICC line: she wanted the wrenching pain to end and she was ready to die.

But the nurse, who seemed rightly weary in the near midnight hour when he entered Mom’s room, first caused more pain. Read More →

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Haldol: The Wonder Drug?

Wonder drug?

I am not a medical expert.

I am not a medication expert.

I know nearly 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. It would be better to 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 . . .

Haldol

Ever heard of it? Read More →

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Yes, Some Leave Hospice Care

The Seventh Seal

As with the stark chess game in Ingmar Bergman’s classic The Seventh Seal (1957), death doesn’t lose.

We got rid of a few people in hospice this week.

Oh, and several lovely, beautiful patients also died. More on death in a moment.

I attend several of my hospice’s interdisciplinary groups, which are usually called IDGs. They are weekly patient care meetings, a required review of those under the care of our agency. Since all patients in hospice much be reviewed by the hospice team—led by a physician—every 15 days*, we discuss and update the needs for everyone in the course of a typical month.

Some patients are relatively stable, and can go for weeks and months with minimal input.

There are “focus patients” with issues—family conflicts or finding the right medication dosages or ________ (fill in the blank)—that must be immediately addressed.

There are new admissions to discuss.

Quite a few patients need to be recertified. Is this patient still hospice appropriate? Every few months (there is actually a precise schedule), this question will be asked and answered. Hospice care is for those with an illness giving them six months or less to live. There are always patients that continue in care over six months. However, like everyone, they will be routinely reviewed.

With some, still alive and kicking, we bid adieu. Read More →

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather