19 June 2010

Lemon Chicken with Morphine, Please.

I probably shouldn't blog about this, especially on the eve of Father's Day, but I'm going to. It's just too hilarious not to share.
 
Friday night. I'm on my way home from school - stuck in rush hour traffic since I left school later than usual because I wanted to stick around the lab and make sure I could start an IV (kinda an important RN skill to know, you think?) - and I get a call from my mother.
 
"I just wanted to let you know that I just brought your father to the ER because he can't walk and is in so much pain that he's almost in tears. Can you call your sister and let her know?"
 
That sentence was followed by a rush of "thedoctorshereIgottagetbackinsidetohisroomrightnow" and then mom hung up on me.
 
First, let me tell you something about my family. We live for drama. A couple snowflakes quickly erupt into a massive blizzard in a matter of milliseconds in our world.
 
I guess that's why when I called M to tell him about the situation, he got less than worked up about the news. "He'll be fine. Chill." he told me.
 
My man knows how to bring me back to earth. Rapidly.
 
In any case, I decided I should probably stop by the hospital in my parent's town since I would pass right by it on my way back home anyway. 
 
Here's the basics: 
1. Dad is a funeral director
2. Funeral directors lift people
3. People are getting heavier
4. Dad's already had three back surgeries because of #1, 2 and 3. 
 
So we're kind of thinking he threw his back out again. Is it a slipped disk like before and he needs surgery again? Is it purely muscular and he just needs to rest? I'm not a doctor, and I'm not an MRI machine. But what I do know is that they gave him three shots of Morphine and nothing worked. Sure, his pupils were like little pinpoints, but he still couldn't sit OR stand...an interesting combination and rather entertaining to watch.
 
The PA came back in the room and said that they had one more option. They had one more narcotic they could try, but then that's it. Either the drug works, or dad's out of luck.
 
Demerol.
 
One time. One shot. One thigh.
 
Why not? Load'm up. I was happy to be in the presence of these potent drugs since my Pharm lecture just six hours earlier covered the major pain meds. And now I was about to see them in action.
 
Oh. My. Gosh. What happened next made me very, very glad I stayed in the ER with him for two hours.
 
Just like I learned this past week in class, an IM (intramuscular) drug takes approximately 7-12 minutes to kick in. And oh boy, did it. I could just kick myself for not having a video camera. This would be viral on YouTube right now.
 
The sequence of events is as follows:
1. Dad gets a shot of Demerol in his left thigh.
2. Dad sits in his wheelchair, waiting for it to kick in.
3. 10 minutes later, his pupils all but disappear.
4. He starts humming.
5. His feet start tapping.
6. Dad looks at mom, then me, then up at the ceiling. He proceeds to have the following conversation with himself:
 
Dad: "I want Chineeeeessssseeeee for dinnnnneeerrrrr. Yessssss. I doooooooo. I like orange chicken. Do YOOOUUUU like orange chicken?" (major emphasis on the orange.)
 
He then looks at me in all seriousness and wants an answer.
 
Me: "Um, well, no, I like lemon chicken."
Dad: "Lemon chicken. Lemon chicken. Lemon chicken. Lemon chicken. Lemon chicken."
 
Silence. Mom and I look at each other, completely aware that dad is officially out of it. We immediately crack up - and dad is completely oblivious to our laughter, which makes us laugh even harder.
 
Dad: "Leee-mohn, cheeee-kohn. Leee-mohn, cheeee-kohn. Leee-mohn, cheee-kohn." Imagine a really, really bad French accent here.
 
And, if you're wondering, dad does not know how to speak a lick of French.
 
He says "Leee-mohn, cheeee-kohn" over and over and over. About 16 times.
 
Then dad decides to mix it up with a really bad southern-accent version of "Peee-caaaan, cheee-caaaan." At this point, mom and I are laughing so hard we're afraid we're going to pee our pants. Nurses are walking by and peeking in the room, shaking their head and laughing with us when they see it's dad. (They know him pretty well out there...seeing what his profession is and all.)
 
Dad: "Leee-mohn, cheeee-kohn. Minty Beef. Hmmmm. Is Minty Beef a chicken dish?"
 
Then, without skipping a beat, he launches straight into the first verse of "A Hundred Million Miracles" from Rodger & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song.  
 
I can't make this stuff up.
 
And this is my family.
 
Note: I left before dad was discharged from the ER, but it turns out they're going to try to get him into his primary care doc on Monday. He'll probably have to go see his back specialist in St. Louis - I think we have the guy's cell on speed-dial and put his kids through undergrad and graduate school. And just as an FYI: When people use narcotics exclusively to control pain, it is unlikely that they become addicted or dependent on them. A patient in the ER for measurable pain is given a dosage of opioids strong enough to reduce their awareness of pain but not normally potent enough to produce a dependant state. Narcotics used for short-term medical conditions rarely require weaning since stopping the medication after a brief period rarely produces adverse effects. (from a combo of my pharmacology notes and WebMD.)

2 comments:

RCW said...

You are such a great writer- it was like we were really there with him. So sorry to have missed it. That's hilarious! Cole said that sounds no different than he normally acts. :)

Momma said...

You really should have recorded it. I'm sure it doesn't translate as well on paper....still funny, though! Thanks for sharing. :)