ATLANTA, GA – An inpatient health care team has been baffled all day by a patient’s persistent requests for pain medication, but it’s not your usual suspect. The patient keeps asking for that pain med that begins with an E. That’s right, an E, not a D.
“I mean, the guy complains of 80 out of 10 pain, is never in any apparent distress, watching TV and texting on his phone all day,” observed his nurse Avery Jones, scratching her head. “He made the request, and I thought I heard him wrong. I, stupidly, corrected him. You mean the one that begins with a D I said? He looked at me and said no, the one that begins with an E.”
“That pain med that begins with an E, which one is that?” is what third-year internal medicine resident Daniel Mann said when Jones paged him with the patient’s request. “Something’s not right. I’ll be down in a sec.”
Jones and Mann went to the bedside and explained that the patient had no indications that would warrant treatment with narcotics, stating numerous dangerous side effects and the current opioid epidemic.
“I don’t want any narcotics,” the patient insisted. “I just want that pain medication that being with an E.”
“Excedrin?!” Jones quickly responded, hoping it was eureka.
“If I wanted Excedrin, I’d get it myself over the counter,” the patient snarked back.
Jones and Mann started rattling off medications, unable to identify a pain med that being with the letter E. They stepped out and beckoned their best medical resources: Siri and Google. They came across Exalgo, another trade name for hydromorphone. That had to be it.
“Is it Exalgo?” Jones and Mann asked their patient, peaking their heads into the room.
“Exalgo, what the hell is that?” he replied.
Back to the drawing board for Jones and Mann.