Sunday, August 24, 2008

A little medication-based nursing humor. Very little.

This week I was talking with a couple of women at work and the conversation turned to diets and losing weight. We’re all nurses so we know about the physiological processes involved and how some diets (i.e. Atkins, South Beach) initially show quick response because they result in mostly water loss.

That reminded one nurse of the time she found Lasix among her deceased grandmother’s things. Lasix prevents the kidneys from reabsorbing sodium and where sodium goes, so goes water due to osmosis and all that. No sodium reabsorption means peeing out a lot of fluid. Water weighs 2.2 pounds per liter (or the metrically more sensible 1 L = 1 kg), so that can add up to tidy weight loss. Along with all that water, important electrolytes are also peed out, particularly potassium, a dearth of which can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias.

With all that in mind (I know, it’s a lot to keep in mind), the nurse explained her logic thusly,

“I found Lasix pills in my grandmother’s medicine cabinet and I was thinking about fitting into pants better, but I had no way to monitor my potassium levels and I don’t like bananas so…”

“Aside from the ethical implications of a health professional taking medications not prescribed for her,” I responded, ”You could have just eaten avocadoes.”

“Avocadoes?!” she exclaimed, “The whole point was to make my butt smaller.”

“Yeah St. Murse,” the other nurse said, “Duh.”

I love my co-workers.

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