Can I have a handful of pain pills?

Can I have a handful of pain pills?

Here are some short excerpts from an average day in the modern emergency department.   The names of the suffering have been omitted out of respect, and in compliance with federal privacy statutes.  What follows is a series of quotations from patient encounters:

‘Can I have some pain medicine.’   ‘I’m out of pain medicine.’  ‘Ain’t there any better pain medicine?’  ‘I need some pain medicine.’  ‘I have a high tolerance for pain medicine.’  ‘Can you give  me something stronger for pain?’  ‘This pain is a ten.’  ‘This pain is a twenty.’  ‘Tell the doctor I need something else for pain.’  ‘I haven’t ever had pain like this.’  ‘Did you forget to give me pain medicine?’  ‘Ask the doctor to give me something different for pain.’  ‘My pain is the worst pain in my life.’  ‘I am suffering terribly with this pain.’  ‘I am not going home unless I get something different for pain.’  ‘See, I lost my pain medicine.’  ‘Thing is, my neighbor stole my pain medicine.’  ‘My adult son steals my pain medicine.’  ‘My pain specialist won’t see me anymore.’  ‘I violated my pain contract, but my pain doctor told me to come here.’  ‘I am not an addict.’  ‘The jail doctor won’t give me pain medicine.’  ‘I took all my pain medicine.’  ‘Can you give me some stronger pain medicine?’  ‘You don’t understand my pain.’  ‘I’m out of Methadone, can you give me some?’  ‘Is there another doctor on duty?’

Pain, the 5th vital sign.



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