In Which We Become Detectives

We had been having trouble for two or three days controlling IRP’s pain. She would push the button on the machine which dispensed pain medication at the right times, but it did not help. Furthermore, it would frequently say that she had reached her maximum when she had done nothing of the sort. Several nurses said that IRP had been pushing the button too often. So, we put CPI on the case. While I went home to get some rest and FMP went to work, CPI stayed with IRP. I explained to him that the pain button was to be pushed every ten minutes and that it would light up at the correct time to do this.

CPI is our “rules person”. He likes to do things by the book. Well, at least unless/until he discovers that the book makes no sense. I knew that he would make sure that the directions were followed exactly. When I returned in the afternoon, he reported that IRP had used the pain machine exactly as prescribed and that she was getting little, if any, relief from it. Thankfully, at this point, we were joined by a nurse, Heather, who set up an investigation.

She came in several times when the machine said IRP had reached her limit and reset the machine. After this, she decided that something was definitely wrong. Heather’s first thought was that the light in the button was coming on too early, so she made sure that IRP had gotten some medication from pushing it and then told us to watch the clock and push the button in ten minutes. We did this twice to be sure, but the machine was still beeping “maximum reached”. Heather went in search of a new machine.

When Heather found the new machine, she hooked it up and had us run the ten minute experiment again. This trial was successful and IRP went to sleep. IRP had a very good night and did not wake once except for when people came in to check on her. IRP’s heart rate is in the high eighties to low nineties and her blood pressure has returned to normal. The last two times her blood sugar was checked (the liquid nutrition can raise it), it was normal and IRP did not have to take any insulin.

If you need the assistance of a medical detective, we highly recommend Heather. Thank you, Heather!


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