Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Same bat time, same bat channel

Hi everyone:

When we last left our fair maiden, she had narrowly escaped a harrowing experience under the ever-churning tracks of a sometimes indifferent medical juggernaut. Her hero/husband, Captain Superstud, had used his bulging biceps and fists of steel to...

...oh, scrap it, I can't write good fiction.

As I mentioned last night, Patty is home. She had a great night of sleep, and is looking forward to a morning shower without an audience of nurses. Of course, she'll have an audience of me (for her safety only, of course), but at least she's able to use her own stuff in her own digs.

When we left the hospital yesterday, we stopped at Walgreen's to fill prescriptions for pain medication and diuretics. Of course, when we presented the paperwork to the pharmacist, we heard, "On this Norco, they haven't marked a quantity. We've called the doctor, but haven't received a return call." Fast-forward 45 minutes. We have tried to reach just about everyone with whom Patty has had contact over the past week, in the hopes that someone--anyone--can address a minor problem that is quickly evolving into a major one, because Patty's pain medication is wearing off. Nobody is answering, nor is anyone returning calls. Kathleen is comforting Patty, and I'm inside hovering near the prescription drop-off, thinking that my incessant pacing will inspire additional action. Not so much.

Finally, we went home and contacted the last nurse to care for Patty on the step-down unit; she paged the surgeon, whose service contacted another doctor in the practice, who called Patty and finally made arrangements with the pharmacy. Of course, by this point, Patty was in pain, totally distressed, bordering on hysterical, not entirely the nicest person to be around, faintly menacing and, in the heat of the moment, saying things like, "I've been used and just tossed aside." Everyone Patty loved just a few hours before is now part of a vast conspiracy to cause her injury. I will say, though, it was upsetting to see Patty once again in distress because of an oversight (and one we took pains to prevent), particularly after a really unpleasant time just a day before.

So, the lesson of the day for yesterday was: don't ever leave the hospital with prescriptions for medicine you desperately need without ensuring a quantity is marked. Of course, we had checked, had asked, and had been told, "Oh, no, with pain meds the doctors don't mark the quantity. They just provide instructions that the pharmacist deciphers." Okay, for those of you who are better than me at math (or, in other words, anyone older than age three), solve this little equation:

A doctor provides a patient with a prescription for pain medication. On the pad, he writes, "For pain. Every four hours for first two days, as needed thereafter." How many pills would the pharmacist put in the bottle?



1 comment:

Lisa Phillips said...

Hi Patty and Brian! I had no idea how extensive this blog was going to be when I clicked on the link, but I am definitely learning a lot as I read through the updates. I am so glad to read that Patty is home, but of course nothing is as simple as it should be! I am thinking about you guys and hoping that all goes well!