Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I was an art major

One of the main reasons I became an art major was to avoid math.
It was all working swimmingly until I got out of school...and needed to do math.

I don't struggle so much anymore - generally speaking...

My most recent math lessons have been in the concentrations of liquid medications.

A liquid medication is prescribed in milligrams, and is measured in concentrations of milligrams(mg) per milliliter(ml).

When a medication prescribed at 20mg per 1ml, and the dose is 20mg per hour then you can measure and administer 1ml of liquid each hour.
Easy right.

Ok so lets say you need to increase the pain medication, but your patient is having trouble with liquids - so instead of increasing the amount of liquid given - you can simply use a higher concentration.

Still easy right.

But let's say now... now you get a concentration of 50mg per ml. But your prescribed amount has only increased by 5 mg.
Well now - that's very different. In fact, its more than double the potency but not double the dose.
Well...now that's something you want to pay attention to.
Because if you were to give the old dose of 1ml per hour...well that would be bad.
That would be very bad.

And let's also say that the pharmacy who supplied you with this really high concentration of this tightly controlled substance decided to put it into the same color bottle as a different medication where the dosage is 4ml. Well now that would be worse than bad. I think that would be instantaneous.

Let's add to the mix that four, count 'em four - non-medical family members are the ones dosing this stuff out.
Well whoooo weee... don't lick your fingers.

(later I will post some pics of the measures I put into place to try and avoid mistakes)


Val said...

I have no words... Just want to let you know that we are thinking of you all.

poet said...

i remember having to mix meds for my late f-i-l. it was tough. follwoing, linked again, and sending lots of prayers your way. it is both difficult & rewarding what you are doing. take care of you~

Anonymous said...

luckily, my mother's meds are fairly simple.
Bourbon, two fingers. Water two fingers.

e said...

Titration. Sucks.

Hang in there.

btw, is that where you met the missus?

Ann said...

Hugs, love and prayers.

Trish said...

despite having worked in a pharmacy back when the earth was cooling, I think you lost me at 20mg per 1ml. I was a systems analyst & I didn't do math!

and, tho I know the answer, shouldn't the hospice folks be able to help sort this out a bit so someone doesn't accidentally off mom with 50mg instead of 20mg??

@kitty litter---my grandmother's rx was a bottle of chardonnay PLUS contraindicated meds...

hang in there weese...you're doing a GREAT job, despite how it maybe sometimes feels. Remember, your mom thinks you're all having a great day...run with that!