Monday, August 31, 2009

Organic Bitterroot Juice is not an Approved Treatment for HHNS

I don’t think any nursing text book will actually publish this but I think the biggest challenge to a new nurse is how to deal with stupidity in all of its jaw-dropping manifestations while keeping a straight face. The latest round of battles were fought with the family, specifically, the wife of a portly elderly man in rip roaring HHNS who decided that his poorly controlled diabetes could be ‘cured’ with organic foods and bitterroot juice. As expected, he stopped taking his oral anti-glycemics along with his BP meds. From the second I started to do my assessments and place lines in him while trying to make sure I heard the correct dosages from the doc, the wife kept badgering me with conspiracy theories about how ‘the suits’ are trying to create dependence on pharmaceuticals to maintain and increase profits. She also insisted on knowing whether or not the fluids and meds were organic. Judging from her ‘humph’, ‘sterile’ wasn’t a good enough answer for her. At one point, she started to sob hysterically about how we were polluting her beloved’s body with ‘chemicals of the apocalypse’. I wanted to stab her with a 10G filled with Ativan.

Now before I get flamed for hating on organic foods, let me explain something. I’m a HUGE proponent of nutrition as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Eating wholesome foods (including some organic foods) on a consistent basis is going to be a lot better for one’s health than eating over-processed and fatty foods. However, when a medical condition starts to spiral out of control, some heavy duty medications are needed to help the person. Drinking organic bitterroot juice is not going to ‘fight the free sugar in the body’ when a patient is barely alert.

When I finally got a chance to ask the wife why she brought him to the ER if she didn’t believe in western medicine, she sheepishly replied, “His daughter is an internal medicine resident here and she said she’d call the police and have me thrown in jail if I didn’t bring him over”. I tried to explain to her about the importance of controlling his blood sugar and hypertension in conjunction with proper nutrition but she just accused me of not being as enlightened as her. My forehead hurt a lot from consistently being in high impact contact with the walls for the rest of the day.

9 comments:

Mar's Bar said...

Some people just have blind faith in the most ridiculous things ever! I don't know how to handle those people...

Peter Mavrik said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I too believe that good food is the key to keeping the body happy and healthy. I personally shy away from most medication whenever possible, but I agree 100% that when the body is unstable, ANY tool available should be used.

On another note, I'm a 30something guy changing careers, working on my undergrad to apply to nursing school. Your blog is a great insight into the world that lies ahead. Thanks for keeping up with it. Every post helps!

LivingDeadNurse said...

muahah stab her with the ativan...hehe

she sounded like a trip

S3XinthePantry said...

Thank goodnes for the man's daughter! I pity the social work who has to work out a discharge plan for that family!
I hope she will not cause any more complications, but from your post it sounds like a big challenge!

Gert said...

So many people do this! I just gently explain why it's not scientifically valid and usually agree with them that more studies need to be done. Folks usually accept this and seem to just be glad that someone listened to them.

Of course, they could be calling me names behind my back.

Moose said...

I've been running a mailing list for diabetics for many years and I'm amazed at some of the crap people believe. The "this speshul suppliment will cure/reverse diabetes!" garbage is scary.

Oh the stories I could tell you...

laura.d. said...

That would definitely frustrate me.
http://anursingstudentslife.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I believe in organic food and herbal supplementation, too. BUT it is NEVER a good idea to toss BP meds and oral anti-glycemics or insulin in exchange for a supplement! In fact, ANYONE on medication should talk to their Dr. before taking some new herbal since these herbs can interfere or interact with medicine. This is what happens when somebody knows a "little" about a supplement. It ends up being enough knowledge to kill someone!

Tee said...

Next time, go ahead and stab her with a syringe full of Ativan. I doubt a jury would convict you.