Archive for Medicalese

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 →

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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 →

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Should You Titrate?

Different people

In medicine, as in life, one size does not fit all.

The word titrate sounds like a poorly-named household cleaning product.

Until working in hospice, and hanging around nurses and physicians, I don’t recall hearing or using titrate in a sentence. It might have been mentioned on shows like House, Chicago Med or Grey’s Anatomy, but I was probably more fascinated by the shenanigans in the supply closet between two doctors in lust.

With no medical or chemistry background, I have excellent 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 ignorance is one of my dominate genes, I’m equally curious about nearly everything! I own bunches of dictionaries and thesauruses! I can search the web! I can talk to a nurse! Read More →

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