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.