“Rigors”

While Beth is having her fevers, the doctors and nurses are saying the word “rigors” a lot. Turns out this is a synonym for “chills” – but in this case, they mean the violent kind of shaking that she does when the fever is going back up. It’s 6:00 am; she has been resting peacefully since about 2:00 am.

Rigor is defined as “shaking occurring during a high fever. It occurs because cytokines and prostaglandins are released as part of an immune response and increase the set point for body temperature in the hypothalamus…. The increased set point causes the body temperature to rise (pyrexia), but also makes the patient feel cold until the new set point is reached. Rigor occurs because the patient’s body is effectively shivering in a physiological attempt to increase body temperature to the new set point.”

Solu cortef, which I mentioned in my previous post, “is an anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid, which contains hydrocortisone sodium succinate as the active ingredient”. She has also been given morphine for the pain and Demerol for the pain. And of course, they give her good old-fashioned ice packs as well.

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