Medications and Side Effects


I went to visit a friend in our hospital after he had abdominal surgery.

He was having pain, so his doctors put him on a morphine pump. The way that a morphine pump works is that the doctor determines the dose of medicine and the lockout period. For example, typical pump settings may be a 2 mg dose with a lockout of 15 minutes, meaning that if the patient pushes the button to receive a dose of pain medication, he will get 2 mg of morphine. Then, no matter how many times he pushes the button after that initial dose, the machine will not give him another dose until 15 minutes have passed. The maximum dose of morphine that the patient could receive in an hour would be 2 mg x 4 doses in 60 minutes or 8 mg in an hour.

My friend told me about how one of his co-workers came to visit him and was sitting in the chair in front of the bed. While they were talking, my friend pressed the button for the morphine pump. His co-worker asked him what the button was for. My friend told him and his co-worker looked a little concerned that a patient could give himself his own dose of medication.

Then my friend took that as a cue to keep pressing the button. “Naw, it’s OK. I have a lot of pain, so this stuff makes me feel better. Besides, I haven’t stopped breathing … yet.”

Every 15 seconds or so, he’d push the button several times. His co-worker became more and more uncomfortable.

Then he started slurring his words and acting sleepy.

His co-worker started getting anxious. “DUDE! Stop pressing the button! You’re freaking me out with all that medicine.”

My friend hung his head down and sat there for a few seconds, then opened his eyes and started laughing, which made his co-worker a little upset with him.

We laughed a little more about other stories and then I got ready to go.

As I was leaving, I went out in the hall and said loudly “this man needs a STAT enema … NOW!” After all – all that morphine does tend to constipate a patient. The unit secretary smiled at me and no one else seemed to be paying attention. I turned around to my friend and made a squeezing motion with my hand, then waved goodbye.

By the time I reached the parking lot, his wife had sent me a text message saying that the patient’s nurse went into the room with an enema shortly after I left – thinking I was serious.

I was going to call back to the nurse’s station and ask if my friend got his enema yet, but figured that would give him even more of an impetus to get even with me.


  1. Pray tell WC, have you ever seen someone figure out how to hack the pump to deliver unlimited quantities of medicine without having the keys or access code?

    Maybe there’s an app…no nevermind.

  2. When he’s 80 he’ll have fond memories of this event. You might have contributed towards the production of a frequent flier.

  3. I had one of those after my car wreck. It went ‘ping’ when I pushed the button, which made me laugh every time- all I could think of is the Monty Python scene with “The Machine That Goes ‘PING'”. And, of course, laughing hurt because of the surgery. Sort of a morphine catch-22.

  4. That was a great joke!

    Sort of cruel ..but wickedly funny. 🙂

    I can see why your friends.

    Oh and you doing the stat thing and I’m sure being a physician sounded just like one. And if you work there ..then that nurse obviously didn’t know you or she was covering her bases just in case.

    The nurse going in after a STAT enema call it.

    Even funnier if other people then looked at your friend as the poor guy in rm ___ who needed the STAT enema call. Oh the images. 🙂

  5. im 42 i was 5 feet 7 inches tall in 1 year i lost 7. inches in height from severe osteoporosis due to poor doctoring.i now have several broken ribs and compressed vertabreas .i will never be the same again,i lost so much height so fast my back is totally scared to death about having to take pain meds the rest of my life.i have a hard time when people make a joke about it….sorry

  6. Katy
    I can relate! I got hurt in 1979 I’m old now and I have nad to take pain meds for a long time. What was real hell was after Reagan got ealeted presedent (1980) There was alot of people in pain that ended up killing them self (I was almost one of them)… I could not get any help until 1991! I had promised myself I wouldn’t kill myself until I tried everything! It was bad doctors would throw me out of there office with out even talking to me. I couldn’t sleep it was real hell!
    Sorry, Did want to preach. This is the truth any pain meds are not evil, they don’t make you evil! What it does do is make other people think that you can’t be trusted. I had freinds tell me to go away. the thing is you didn’t change. Even herion isn’t evil. I’m not saying that heroin isn’t bad because it changes everthing (and I mean pain meds too)! It’s the money that is evil. I just take my meds the way the doctor say to. No more or less. I never had any problem until one day the pharmacy had a problem. That was when I notice that I needed to take the meds every day. If I don’t I hurt so bad. Other than that after a short time you won’t even feel the meds. I like to take a med that lasts 24 hour. That way I’m not going up and down every four hours. This is my life so I know alot about this.
    If you need to talk to someone you can write to me at ddt2012@ No Spam

Leave A Reply