Friday, November 02, 2007

When to Call 911

As many of you know, one of my best friends is dying from excruciatingly painful bone cancer. She was recently prescribed oxycontin, which will hopefully ease her pain yet allow her to be somewhat functional.

But Rosie continues to see the humor in situations, and there are many times that we find ourselves laughing hysterically over something. So when Rosie got off the phone with the pharmacist the other day, she had to call me.

"You know how I am," she began. "I just had to get out the literature and read all about the side effects."

"Oh NO," I exclaimed. "Don't you dare do that! Why, have you ever read the warnings on birth control pills? I know you! You will take the warnings way too seriously!"

"Stop interrupting!" said Rosie. "OK, so as I was saying, the side effects are frightening! It says I shouldn't take oxycontin if I have had head injuries, asthma or allergies (among other things). Well, I have all three! So, I called the pharmacist immediately."

Here we go, I thought. I will never get her to see the wisdom in taking the oxycontin now. She already has her resistance up because she doesn't want to take anything addictive like an opiate!

Rosie continued, "I got a lady whom I'd never spoken with before. I told her my concerns. She said it really wasn't a big deal, and I shouldn't worry about all the contraindications. I told her that I was especially worried about the part where it says you could suddenly stop breathing. I said "You know, ma'am, I'm ready to go, but not quite yet. Although these pills are supposed to stop the pain, this would be a rather drastic way to accomplish that.""

The pharmacist chuckled and assured her that this was highly unlikely. "And," she added helpfully, "If you do stop breathing, call 911 immediately."


M@ said...

I remember my parents' house catching fire and my mother turning to me and asking, "Should we call the fire department?"

They hate to be bothered.

The Lazy Iguana said...

What helpful advice! If you stop breathing, call 911! Of course! Last time I stopped breathing I called the FBI and it took forever for help to arrive.

But then again, what kind of advice do you expect from someone whose job is to take pills out of a large bottle, count them, and put them into a smaller bottle. And why does this task take hours to finish? If I ask for a dozen donuts I do not have to place my order in the morning and pick up the box in the afternoon.

I think your friend needs a digital voice recorder, so she can pre-record her 911 call. It is hard to talk on the phone when you can not breathe.

And then, just for shock value, take the device to the drug store and play it back for the person who gave that helpful advice - just to get more advice about if all the necessary information is there.

Kathleen said...

Who said that America has been dumbed down? Gee, ya think!

I hope that your friend will pass peacefully and in her own time.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

smile;-) What else can you do?

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

My best to your friend, and to you.

Watching someone in such pain, and suffering, can be so difficult.

hot gator said...


Are you dead?

Jenn said...

I'm really sorry that your friend is going through this. These kind of things just leave me speechless. It's great that she can keep her sense of humor. I know all about those warning labels and calling the pharmacist since I live with a chronic pill-o-phobe who won't take his medicine after reading each and every rare but serious side effect.